Summary: Chapters 8-9 and So Be It Chapter 4 

Chapter 8

Lowen makes a decision to take a break from reading Verity's disturbing manuscript, and immediately begins to notice that she feels less uneasy when she avoids it. The arrival of Myrna, a new nurse who is much friendlier than April, contributes to Lowen's improved mood. Lowen feels more relaxed, as Myrna treats her with less suspicion than April does. Lowen's day takes a surprising turn when she receives a text from her agent Corey, informing her that she has been publicly announced as Verity’s new co-author. Jeremy and Lowen head to Target, and she begins to look at the online responses to the press release from Pantem as they drive. The reactions to the news are mixed but largely critical. People are full of curiosity and speculation about her involvement in The Noble Virtues, complaining that nobody but Verity could do justice to the remaining work. Lowen and Jeremy run into two friends of Verity’s at the store. They snub Lowen, but Jeremy retorts in kind and he and Lowen leave the store grinning. 

Chapter 9 

In Chapter 9, Lowen digs deeper into the unsettling environment of the Vermont house. She describes the days as dragging, slowed down by the difficulty of her work and by melancholy and anxiety. When Crew has an accident involving a knife, Lowen is profoundly shaken and begins to suspect that Verity is more mobile and conscious than she seems. When Crew cries out, Lowen races to Verity’s room where she finds him covered in blood with a mysterious knife nearby. Crew refuses to tell her where he got the blade, before revealing that his “mommy” had told him not to play with “her knife.” He refuses to say anything else, and Lowen is left grasping at straws when Jeremy asks her how Crew got hurt. Crew lies and says he hurt himself by falling, and Lowen doesn’t know how to challenge it. She returns to Verity’s room to see if she can find a knife, and has to convince herself she isn’t losing her grip on reality when there’s nothing there. 

So Be It Chapter 4 

Chapter 4 of So Be It opens with frustration, as Verity acknowledges her failed attempts at self–abortion and the twins' stubborn will to survive. ** Could you add a sentence here about the twins’ birth? I didn’t realize they’d been born yet so the next few sentences were confusing at first. Despite the doctor's reassurance, Jeremy remains unsettled and worried about the scar on Chastin’s face. He smiles at Verity and calls her "Momma," a term she loathes. Nevertheless, she acknowledges that he looks good as a father, and thinks about how proactive and helpful he’ll be as a co–parent. When Jeremy brings her Chastin, Verity's reaction is calm and thoughtful. She touches the scar gently and contemplates whether she should have used something stronger, like a knitting needle, to try and end the pregnancy.  

Verity finds the idea of breastfeeding repulsive: she explains that she thinks of her nipples as Jeremy’s to suck, and not as body parts for feeding babies. She wants to please him, however, and so when a nurse enters Verity gingerly offers Chastin a breast. Though Chastin latches easily, Verity is nauseated by the process and ultimately cannot continue. Jeremy asks her if she could have ever imagined loving anyone as much as the twins. In painful irony, Verity tells the reader that she already does: Jeremy himself. 


Chapter 8 offers insights into the evolving dynamic between Lowen and Jeremy, while also shedding light on the public's reaction to Lowen's incorporation into Verity's literary world. When Lowen finishes reading the chapter about the twins’ birth and its aftermath, she crumples to the floor in tears. She can’t reconcile the idea of Verity the invalid with someone who would consider stabbing a baby’s face with a knitting needle to be a “better option.” The narrative focuses on Lowen’s confused attempts to calm herself down, as she sorts through her feelings of jealousy about Jeremy, fear for Crew and Jeremy’s safety, and anxiety about her own safety in the house with Verity around.  

Furthermore, this section also offers the reader a more in-depth and multifaceted look at Jeremy’s character. Lowen thinks that he looks like a professional businessperson and expects him to behave like one but in his home environment he’s relaxed, friendly, and casual. Instead of glossing over what Lowen says as Corey does, he listens attentively to her issues and talks carefully through her problems with her. Lowen keeps expecting him to show signs of polish and affluence, but those expectations are repeatedly defied: his clothes, his manner with Crew, and even his muddy Jeep Wrangler all speak more to his true nature than her first impression did. Throughout their journey to Target, conversations range from Lowen’s reaction to the press release to their personal cooking preferences. As they talk, Lowen becomes troubled by her growing attraction to Jeremy, feeling excited by his nearness but extremely guilty about having feelings for a married man. An encounter with two of Verity's friends at Target adds a layer of unease to the day. Patricia and Caroline have cornered Jeremy in the grocery section. When Lowen comes to find him, they make it very clear that they as suspicious of her motives in being at the Crawford house. Jeremy dismisses them with a cutting comment. This cheers Lowen up immensely, as it makes her feel that he’s on her side. 

This section also brings the issue of Lowen’s unwilling entry to public life to the fore: she becomes intensely aware of being under observation at all times. Although she has a veil of anonymity thanks to the pen name she and Jeremy choose, Lowen still feels offended and scared when people criticize “Laura Chase” online. Online responses range from curiosity to criticism, highlighting the public's continuing fascination with Verity's work and their skepticism regarding the sudden collaboration. Lowen's social interactions, particularly with Jeremy's friends Laura and Caroline, provide insight into the intricacies of Verity's social circle and make her hyper-aware that she is always under someone’s watchful eye. Their suspicion and probing questions are not subtle. They want Lowen to know that her relationship with Jeremy is not well-received, and indicate the level of public support and affection Verity has accumulated. As she is forced to deal with being an unwelcome guest in Verity’s life, Lowen’s engagement with Verity’s manuscript becomes a mirror for her own disrupted emotions and experiences. The manuscript becomes a space where the realms of reality and fiction intersect, especially as Lowen begins to learn more of their story in bits and pieces from Jeremy. When Lowen herself feels watched, she intensifies her scrutiny of her surroundings.