After an intense three months of dating, Zacary and Anya are now married with a baby. Zac, a successful musician, and Anya, a successful model moving to a career as a photographer, have a relationship on their own terms. They are fiercely devoted to each other, but still enjoy the thrill of bringing a third into their bed at times. Zac loves to watch and he and Anya have no reason to apologize for their lives and are incredibly happy.
Zac’s best friend and bandmate, Cal Keller, is more reserved than both Zac and Anya. So reserved that even Zac doesn’t know what Cal’s preferences are, even though the two of them have lived practically in each other’s pockets. Zac is the most important person in Cal’s life and Anya barely knows him and doesn’t think she has any common ground with the man. But Anya knows that Zac’s relationship with Cal is special, sacred even, and as Anya sets out to get to know Cal better, she sees all that lies beneath Cal’s cool exterior. When they invite Cal further into their lives, Zac realizes certain truths about his relationship with Cal, things Cal has felt all along.
Anya, Zac, and Cal didn’t set out to redefine their relationship, but they will realize that true love and family doesn’t always look like they thought it would.
I have liked everything I have read from Sidney Bell and even though I knew This is Not the End was going to be good, this book turned out to be fantastic. It’s a deeply emotional, raw, and vulnerable look at the lives and love of Anya, Zac, and Cal and their path to create their family.
The book is told in three parts with no chapters. The third person perspective gives the book a dreamy and emotional feel. The first part is from Anya’s point of view and we get caught up on her relationship and marriage to Zac. They love hard, are brutally honest with each other, and even though they haven’t known each other all that long, have carved out an incredible relationship. Their allegiance is to each other and their family; they have rules that make them safe and happy, but bringing in a third sometimes feels natural to them both. They are true equals and true partners and how Bell sets them up is a master class of precision-filled writing. Anya knows that Cal is important to Zac and, while she includes him in their life, she has never gotten a read on Cal and Anya is not used to being in that position. When Anya and Zac set out to find out more about Cal, with Anya in the lead, it changes all of their lives.
The second part is told from Cal’s point of view and there is a whole lot going on with him. Even as best friends and bandmates, Zac and Cal have little personal communication, but Zac knows a lot more than he lets on and Cal has a whole lot he is hiding.
The book is erotic and sensual and plays off the differences in the way these three approach a relationship. All of the characters have their own strengths and watching them navigate each other was enthralling and riveting.
This book is written the way I like to read—highly character driven, with just the right words, descriptions, and details to add incredible depth to the characters and their story. This is one of those books that talking about it too much can lessen the magic of it as Bell’s words are dazzling on their own. For an exceptionally well written polyamorous romance, This is Not the End is the book you want to read.