Colleen Hoover, Verity, read by Amy Landon and Vanessa Johannson

Within a minute or two we know that the female narrator is New York City tough; hard headed, unlike the pedestrian who was used to staring at his phone as usual while trying to cross the same street as usual. She calls it: “death by routine.” In that clever, wary, prudent way that a woman can get after a few years alone in the city.

Soon, the narrator lets us know that she is not that tough, not that citified, not social at all in fact. That the day we meet her is the first day out of her apartment in a long long while.

But still, she has just gotten both money and work today and now back in her apartment with her agent she may also get sex. Except that she doesn’t want sex with this man who will already take 15% off the top.

“…. just looking out for ya… Looking out for me? He knew my mother was dying. And he hasn’t checked in with me in two months. He’s not looking out for me. He’s an ex-boyfriend who thought he was going to get laid tonight but instead was quietly rejected right before finding out that I’d be staying at another man’s home. He’s disguising his jealousy as concern.”

So, a woman sharp as a tack.

It is not until later that we see again how a woman deceives a man, how one woman who lies deceives another woman who lies, and how the world between them, the world they create and inhabit is desolate, bereft, and bankrupt… and we too, reading it, become desolate, bereft and bankrupt.

Cora Seton, Issued to the Bride, (books 1-4)

Adorable series that begins, improbably, with a scene from Pearl Buck’s The Good Earth — a seraglio of men sitting looking at a series of photos or paintings of women who are too beautiful to be real. But they are real. And they have a price.

In this case, the women all belong to a General; they are his daughters, and the men who have been looking at their photographs for months are waiting for their next mission. They don’t realize that the daughters are their mission.