Summary: Chapters 13-14

Chapter 13 

Lowen awakens in a different room, startled by a strange smell. She realizes that she is in Verity's upstairs bedroom and the shock of being next to Jeremy's comatose wife jolts her awake. She decides to leave the room quickly. She thinks back to her therapist’s advice that sleepwalking is patternless and meaningless, but wonders if that was ever really the case. On her way out, Jeremy finds her, visibly distressed. He grabs her, and she sinks to the floor, shaking. Lowen is forced to reveal her sleepwalking history, as Jeremy is suspicious of her reasons for breaking into his wife’s room in the middle of the night. She explains that it’s a severe and chronic problem that she has had since childhood, that it might have been worsened because she took two Xanax earlier, and that it is the real reason she has asked for locks on her door. Jeremy is concerned but tries to comfort her, but Lowen is worried she’s a danger to him and Crew and apologizes for not telling him about the sleepwalking before spending the night. Jeremy insists that she explains what happened to her, and so she reluctantly agrees. 

She then gives the details of the incident in her past which caused the scar on her hand. One morning when she was ten, she woke covered in blood and with a broken wrist. She only felt the excruciating pain when she regained consciousness. When she and her mother watched the security footage of their front porch that night, she saw herself walk out onto it, climb onto the railing, stand there motionless and then leap off. She then returned to the porch and apparently went back to bed. She was dripping blood, and her face was expressionless. Her mother was terrified, sending her for a 2-week psychiatric evaluation and installing several locks on the inside of her own bedroom door. Their relationship, never strong, was irreparably damaged.  

Jeremy, expressing empathy and understanding, comforts her by crawling into bed with her and offering to stay until she falls asleep.  

Chapter 14 

As Chapter 14 begins, the morning after her sleepwalking fiasco sees Lowen consuming unusual amounts of coffee and battling her concerns about the previous night’s events. Jeremy extends an offer to lock Lowen into her room at night from the outside. He promises that he will let her out if she calls. April, the nurse, catches them speaking intimately to each other in the hallway and Lowen feels humiliated. Jeremy, however, seems to pass off the interruption as if nothing were wrong. Trying to shake off the events of the night, Lowen spends the morning working on building an outline for the 7th novel in Verity’s series, and answering a flood of emails and interview requests. These are mostly centered around questions concerning Verity’s choice of hiring her. She gives boiler-plate answers to most questions, not sure how to respond to requests to justify her worthiness to continue Verity’s work.  


This section contains the novel’s most major instance of Lowen’s sleepwalking habit, and examines the motif as a source of fear and unresolved trauma. When Lowen wakes up in an unfamiliar room and realizes she’s in Verity’s bed, it challenges conventional beliefs that both she and the reader might hold about sleepwalking. Lowen dreads her sleepwalking taking her to dangerous places, and she ends up in possibly the worst one she could find. Through this, Hoover prompts readers to question the age-old notion that it is "patternless and meaningless." If it were patternless, it would seem like a cruel joke for Lowen to have gotten into an unfamiliar bed in the room of someone she’s quickly deciding is a dangerous enemy. Rather, Lowen’s sleepwalking here almost seems like a symptom of her obsession with Verity’s story. Before bed, she had just finished reading a chapter in So Be It where Verity does something highly immoral in a bedroom. When she wakes up, she’s also doing something in a bed that she shouldn’t be. Part of her horror and fear—when she realizes where she is—is the physical closeness she would have had with Verity. It’s notable that these characters, throughout the entire novel, never touch when Lowen is conscious. Despite their closeness, they are completely physically separate. This incident is the closest Lowen comes to being bodily paired with Verity, as well as psychologically entangled. 

Her sleepwalking places her actions completely outside of her control, which also speaks to the theme of control in the novel. Lowen's experience with sleepwalking is portrayed as both unpredictable and deeply troubling. Her history of sleepwalking has been a significant part of her life since childhood, and it's evident in the way she reacts when she finds herself in Verity's bedroom. As she recounts the traumatic incident from her past to Jeremy, she’s forced to expose a part of herself that still genuinely frightens her. Lowen’s sleepwalking self is a being with agency, who can perform actions as drastic as breaking bones without Lowen’s consent. Thinking about that incident makes her re-experience that terror. It also makes her re-experience the fact that her sleepwalking could alienate her from someone she cares about. Her mother essentially emotionally abandons her after the accident, literally placing multiple locks on her doors to keep Lowen out. Even though it does not really faze Jeremy, Lowen is frightened that her nightly unpredictability might make him feel she’s as dangerous as she herself does.  

Jeremy's thoughtful gesture of adding a lock to Lowen’s door reflects his concern for both Lowen's safety and her peace of mind. Even though he doesn’t believe that his wife could be up and walking around, he is willing to take this step to soothe Lowen’s fears about her own sleepwalking. It’s the opposite of Verity’s behavior as she pretended to care for the twins. Jeremy is performing an inconvenient action, one which is probably unnecessary, because he cares so much about Lowen’s wellbeing. However, despite all of this, Lowen still remains hesitant to share the manuscript with him, torn between her desire for him to understand Verity's true nature and her own apprehension about the manuscript's contents.