Confess is a contemporary romance by Colleen Hoover. In fact, it even won the 2015 Goodreads Choice Award for Best Romance. This isn’t a book review but an actual summary of what happens in the story so keep in mind there will be spoilers ahead.
- Book Title: Confess
- Author: Colleen Hoover
- Publication Date: March 10, 2015
- Category: Contemporary Romance
- Print Length: 321 Pages
Auburn visits her boyfriend in the hospital to tell their last goodbyes before she has to leave for good. He has been diagnosed with a fatal illness that leaves him only a little time to live. His mother is harsh against Auburn telling her that their teenage love is nothing in front of the whole life his family had had with him. Auburn says her last “I love you” to her first love and leaves him forever.
Six years later Auburn meets Owen right outside his art gallery called “Confess” where she sees he is looking for someone to work for him. Owen explains to her that the job is only once a month for a couple of hours and the payment is good, and since Auburn is in desperate need of extra money she agrees to start working with him.
His art is based on anonymous confessions that he turns into paintings and this is why the gallery is called “Confess”. They open for just two hours yet with Auburn’s help, Owen gets to sell all of his paintings except one that he refuses to give – one that shows a woman and Auburn understands it is his mother that he later tells her that had died a few years ago.
After the huge success, Owen invites Auburn for a drink and to celebrate. They see that they have nice chemistry which is the reason Owen decides to fire her from the new job position he just gave her, just so he can start flirting with her without ending up in a relationship with his employee like other times. He asks her to dance and in the little time they are close to each other they both can feel the tension and understand they want something more. Despite the fact that they just met, Owen seems to know Auburn before that but he doesn’t tell her anything.
They start walking back home but instead, they decide to visit the gallery again because Auburn wants to read some more of the confessions that aren’t still turned into paintings. Owen shows her his favorites but also the box with the ones that are the ugliest truths and confessions you only want to read once. After all, Owen walks Auburn home and kisses her goodnight – a kiss that makes them both smile and wait for the next time they see each other.
The next day Trey visits Auburn to ask her why she was late to go home the last night as she owed him an answer. Trey is a cop and he is Auburn’s first boyfriend brother that along with his mother has kept in touch with her, but he looks like he wants something more from Auburn and makes her feel uncomfortable when he insists on knowing why she is late or where she is going and with whom.
Owen is late on the next “date” he and Auburn had agreed on, and she refuses to look out for him but passing by his gallery on her way home, she leaves him a not-so-anonymous confession which she instantly regrets. Auburn decides to spend her birthday alone since neither Owen shows up and even Lydia (her first boyfriend’s mother) didn’t wish her a happy birthday when she called to cancel the usual plans they have every week. She goes to the bar Owen had invited her to, and gets drunk for the first time. The barman, being a friend of Owen, calls him to go and take care of her, and when he does he takes her home and she explains why she needed to drink. When Auburn feels better she asks him why he stood her up and he tells her the excuse that he didn’t show up on their date because he realized he doesn’t want to give her false hopes because soon he will have to move.
They agree to spend the day together after all, and so they go grocery shopping where Owen reminds Auburn that he didn’t get her a birthday gift and she has to choose something from there. Surprisingly, she chooses a blue room tent saying that blue is his favorite color leaving Owen unsure if he has to ask her what she meant or if he has to keep his questions to himself.
Auburn and Owen go back to her place and set the tent in her room when the door knocks. Auburn asks Owen to stay in her room but he can hear everything when she opens the door and welcomes Lydia and a little boy – AJ, who calls Auburn… mommy. Lydia and Auburn talk a little about the reason they showed up earlier and in the meantime, AJ slips and runs to Auburn’s room seeing the tent and Owen inside of it. They start talking but Lydia interrupts them and seeing a stranger in Auburn’s house suddenly makes her recall the decision to leave AJ there, so she takes him with her when she leaves.
Auburn tells Owen her story about her first love and how much in love they were when they found out he was about to die. A few weeks after that she found out she was pregnant but she was so young and alone so Lydia helped her raise her son. When the years passed Auburn wanted to take AJ to live with her but Lydia wouldn’t allow it saying that it would destroy his schedule and his life was going to change so much. This is why Auburn is trying to save some money and get a lawyer that can help her get her son again legally.
As they start to cook the door is knocking again and this time it is Trey. When Owen and Trey see each other Auburn understands that this isn’t the first time and that they don’t really like each other. Trey announces to her that Owen was arrested for drug possession. She figures out that this is why she got stood up on her birthday and that his excuse about moving might have been because he thought the court would send him to jail.
When Owen leaves, Trey tries to understand if Auburn and Owen are something more than just a boss and an employee, and Auburn lies to him saying that he visited only because he owed her money. Among others, Trey says that she shouldn’t date anyone like Owen if she wants AJ back and that the best thing she could do is actually date Trey since he is AJ’s uncle and his only father figure. An idea that makes Auburn cringe.
Going back home Owen finds his father taking his pills again and he tries to stop him and remind him that it has been so long since his mother and brother had died (and his dad started taking these pills). Talking in the car they get interrupted by Trey who just left Auburn’s house, and he finds the perfect excuse to arrest Owen who says that the pills are his trying to protect his father.
A few weeks later, when Owen is released, he bumps into Auburn, AJ, and Trey while grocery shopping causing Trey to make a scene once they are out of the store. Later the same day Auburn secretly visits Owen and she tells him everything that happened while he was gone – mainly explaining the reasons why she is with Trey now. Owen understands her but he can’t deny that he has feelings for her, and neither can she. They end up making love in his gallery right before Owen decides to paint a portrait of Auburn to which she writes a confession saying that she thinks of him every time she is with the other guy.
A few days pass until the portrait is done and Owen gets out of his gallery again but when he returns he immediately understands that someone has broken in. He searches through his stuff but can’t see anything missing. Anything except Auburn’s confession next to her portrait. As soon as he realizes that Trey was the one that broke in, Owen texts Auburn to warn her but it’s already late because Trey is in her house pretending that he doesn’t know anything but acting strange to the point that he tries to force himself on her. Luckily, Auburn’s roommate is there and saves her when she hears her screaming from the bedroom, after which she kicks out Trey when he starts apologizing and crying, saying that he didn’t mean to be that possessive and hurt her.
Minutes after that Owen is at Auburn’s door and they spend the afternoon together trying to calm down and think of what they can do from now on, now that Auburn is afraid of Trey and the fact that he lives with her son. Trey cuts them off and calls the police immediately, saying to Owen that running away would be in vain because he had set him up with some drugs in his gallery.
Trey is taking both of them to the police station with his car while Owen remains silent and Auburn can’t… She asks Trey why he did everything he did, and how he could set up Owen, to which Trey replies with whole honesty that is mainly because he didn’t like Owen from the first time they met, and that he was just jealous of Owen being with her.
A few days later, Owen is still in custody when Auburn attends a meeting she requested with her lawyer, Lydia, and Trey. Auburn announces that she wants full custody of her son and when Lydia laughs in her face, Auburn shows her the audio she recorded while she was in Trey’s car and he was telling the whole truth about his feelings towards Owen, and how he set him up. Realizing that her son’s career is in danger, Lydia decides to do whatever Auburn wants. In the end, Auburn goes to release Owen from custody and explains everything that happened since he was also unaware of her recordings in the car. Auburn takes AJ to live with her and Owen visits them showing that they are starting a new chapter in their life together and everything goes well.
Six years earlier, Owen’s story started in the hospital after the accident where his mother and brother were injured. Right next to his father’s room, there was a room in which rested a boy his age, who got visited a lot by a girl named Auburn. Owen could hear most of their conversations through the thin walls but always exited the room when they exchanged their secret confessions that nobody knew – which they did once in every visit.
The boy next door liked to draw when he was better, but for the last few days it had gotten very hard for him to even move, and he decided to give away his painting stuff. The nurse that took them, gave them to Owen – the first person she saw. Owen met Trey for the first time when Auburn was leaving and Trey was staring at her, something that made Owen wonder how can someone look at his brother’s girlfriend like that. Those thoughts and his staring at Trey got them in their first fight that same day.
A few days after he started painting, Owen gave the boy next door a painting as a gift – thanking him for helping him realize his passion for painting. Later on, the boy gave it as a gift to Auburn. A gift that was on her wall since then and Owen never dared to tell her he was the one that actually painted it because it wasn’t his secret to share.
At age twenty-one, Auburn Reed has already lost everything important to her. In her fight to rebuild her shattered life, she has her goals in sight and there is no room for mistakes. But when she walks into a Dallas art studio in search of a job, she doesn’t expect to find a deep attraction to the enigmatic artist who works there, Owen Gentry.
For once, Auburn takes a chance and puts her heart in control, only to discover that Owen is keeping a major secret from coming out. The magnitude of his past threatens to destroy everything important to Auburn, and the only way to get her life back on track is to cut Owen out of it.
To save their relationship, all Owen needs to do is confess. But in this case, the confession could be much more destructive than the actual sin.