Review: This is not the End by Sidney Bell
Rock stars, a model and a threesome, how stereotypical. The expectations of fidelity and seriousness is appalling low for those in the limelight. Because, they can get all the free sex from many sources at any time. New to me author, Ms. Bell floors me with the complexity and tenderness in this story and shatters all stereotypes. For those who judge a book by its cover, this is one you want to read and ignore the cover.
I am going to digress a bit by stating that I don't really pay that much attention to covers. There are some I like and some I don't like. Most of the covers I see, I am indifferent to because I'm more interested in the book blurb or it is because of the author. The book blurb caught my attention in a positive manner whilst the book cover turned me off. In fact, I reinterpreted it in my mind with more grey colour schemes and an even more boring look than what the cover really was like. So when I started the book, it matched my feeling of the cover… boring and blah. Within a chapter, my view changed drastically.
Cal is the proverbial "third" wheel in Anya and Zac's marriage. Cal and Zac's friendship over the past two decades endured highs and lows. What seems like a lark, to invite the quiet, boring yet sweet goody two shoes Cal into their bed for Zac's birthday, turns into so much more.
I loved this story because of the vulnerability and intimacy played out in its raw form. Learning about Cal's past and his regrets is tough. His ability to function and get through each day with unresolved insecurity issues is a powerful message. What I loved most about this story is the character development. Each character is more than what they seem at first. Finding their strengths and weaknesses and exposing it to each other is daunting and very well done by Ms. Bell. She provides an honest and sometimes brutal look into how relationships function, fail and succeed. She multiples this exponentially in difficulty when she adds a third person to a relationship. When it comes to multiple partners, it isn't easy. Especially if the partners have different views on what sexual contact means to them.
I am thoroughly impressed by how well these threesome ended up. It is not all sunshines and rainbows. There are some heavy topics covered and it is well demonstrated that it takes three people opening communicating to make this work. And even then, there are going to be set backs. I appreciated the realistic scenarios Ms. Bell brings to light in this threesome. The conflicts, the concerns, the hopes and above all, the physical logistics of loving between three people is beautifully written.
I highly recommend this contemporary romance to ménage readers and those who are intrigued by the concept and have no idea how it can work. Because, it isn't just sex. It is a deep soul bonding shared through years of intimacy and acts of love.
*provided by Carina Press via NetGalley