Book Review: Not the End by Kate Vane

Not the End by Kate Vane

Not the End: What it is about

From the publishers: “There’s a summer heatwave in Dormouth, the Devon seaside town and former home of the artist Hugh Bonnington. 

No one pays much attention to octogenarian sea swimmer Maud Smith, recently arrived from Portugal. But when she drowns and her body is washed up on the beach, she changes the lives of three people she never met.

Brenda, insomniac dog walker, finds Maud’s body and loses a husband.  Jim, reluctant heir hunter and committed birdwatcher, thinks he’s found love, if he can only escape London. Philosopher-drunk Neil, the cemetery manager, plans Maud’s funeral then finds that art has a funny way of interfering with life.

With wry humour and sharp observation, Not the End is a contemporary novel about love, loss and the therapeutic possibilities of knitting. 

Not the End: What I thought

I chose this novel because it had an English feel about it, a world of understatements, of trying not to get in each other’s way, a world of old ladies with secrets. As I lived in England for many years, this seemed like a fun, recognisable story to me. And that’s what it was!

It was very well written with amazing insights in the lives and loves of ordinary people. Kate Vane can write! I was very pleasantly surprised by the quality of the writing of this self-published novel.

Unfortunately, I had major trouble keeping two main characters, Neil and Jim, apart. They seemed too similar to me and every time one of them showed up in the story, I had to remind myself who this was. It was a lot of work and in the end I gave up and read the story hoping I could still follow it without a clear distinction between the two in my mind. I think my experience of the story would have been a lot better if I could have kept them apart. Is it me, or is it the story? Possibly a bit of both.

There were fun things such as Neil who had a wife he called Lisa 2 (because his first wife was also a Lisa). There was a lot to like about this novel. If only I had kept better track of Neil and Jim!

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars (okay to good)

Number of pages: 265

First published: 2014

I got this: from the author for review

Buy? You can find it here

Genre: contemporary fiction



About Leeswammes
I'm owner and editor at In my free time, I read and review books on my two blogs, Leeswammes' Blog and De Boekblogger.

2 Responses to Book Review: Not the End by Kate Vane

  1. bibliosue says:

    This sounds like a nice book for the summer (aside from the death part, of course).

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