End of Story

The addictive, unputdownable thriller with a twist that will blow your mind

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Pub Date 23 Mar 2023 | Archive Date 31 Aug 2023

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'Absolutely show-stopping' JANICE HALLETT
'Unputdownable' SOPHIE HANNAH
'So intense! So gripping!' B.P. WALTER
'A tour-de-force' CHRIS WHITAKER
'Enthralling and incredibly clever' C.J. TUDOR
'Blew my mind' JANE CORRY
'A drop-the-book twist' TAMMY COHEN

Once upon a time, there was a writer named Fern.

She was a bestseller. An award-winner. Loved by readers and critics alike. With her words, she changed the world.

Until her story took a turn.

Now Fern is a cleaner in a hospital. Condemned to anonymity. Because reading books is now a crime.

Only, Fern doesn't plan on going down without a fight. She'll keep writing, no matter the consequences. She will make her voice heard.

Because Fern's story is only beginning.


A white-knuckle ride of a thriller set in an all-too-believable near-future with a shocking twist, perfect for fans of Gillian McAllister and Catriona Ward.


'It's actually hard to find words for how brilliant End of Story is' NETGALLEY REVIEWER, 5*

'What a fantastic book, I really didn't see the twist coming but oh my gosh!' NETGALLEY REVIEWER, 5*

'Without question one of my books of the year' NETGALLEY REVIEWER, 5*

'I'm a bit flabbergasted after reading this. It wasn't what I was expecting; it was so much more' NETGALLEY REVIEWER, 5*

'Wow, what have I just read? I honestly could not put this book down, I read it in one sitting.' NETGALLEY REVIEWER, 5*

'Absolutely show-stopping' JANICE HALLETT
'Unputdownable' SOPHIE HANNAH
'So intense! So gripping!' B.P. WALTER
'A tour-de-force' CHRIS WHITAKER

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ISBN 9781529396102
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Featured Reviews

End of Story by Louise Swanson is an outstanding book about a world where no one is allowed to write fiction. Authors are forbidden to operate and are punished severely for their crimes. In this surveillance state nothing is hidden from the authorities. Government officials visit with little or no notice—namely, two individuals Fern describes as “the tall one and the short one.” It’s a compelling book, set in 2035, revealing a cruel, totalitarian era where disaster is sure to come at full force. It’s almost The Handmaid’s Tale meets Delirium (Dare to Love) in that individuals must undergo disciplinary procedures to “cure” them.

Fern Dostoy, once a fiction laureate with a bright future, has been robbed of her house by the river and a lifestyle that once complimented her bestselling status. Hobbled to an existence that almost resembles imprisonment, she lives a nightmare of rules and isolation, longing for the old life; book tours, library events, the warmth of fellow authors, and someone of substance with whom to talk. So when a blue trainer, a tea seller (Fine-Fayre) and a notebook are her only companions, it’s easy to resonate with her grief.

When book lovers leave hints of Bedtime Stories in secret places, Fern sees a chance to reconnect with old friends. She begins reading a story a young boy to whom she becomes attached, a boy she’d already dreamt about. But it’s clear she cannot fly under the legal radar for long. The tall one and the short one will be back to take her away.

Her words kept resonating with me; “If you tell a story well enough, it’s true,” and it’s through these words I began to understand the mystery of her confinement. Thank God for Fine-Fayre and his mock-vintage van, depicting a picture of a family drinking tea and eating custard creams. I loved him! As I continued to follow Fern’s traumatic journey through the five stages of grief, hoping she would find a way out of her incarceration, I cried a lot, laughed a lot and wished the book wouldn’t end.

The book is multi-layered and complex, Fern’s tragedy unfolding with each chapter. But by the end, it provided hope. My husband kept asking why I was sobbing in a tissue—well, several actually—and I said it’s sad in a good way. It gave me an opportunity to address my own stages of grief and to come out the other side a stronger person.

The book is a prophetic and highly visual novel—a thought experiment about what could happen if fiction writers were seen as a threat to the government. But more than that, it’s a knitting together of “family”—Fern’s greatest loss. It’s true to say I savoured every single page. This is definitely one you can’t afford to miss.

Thank you to Netgalley, the author Louise Swanson and Hodder & Stoughton for the privilege of reading this book.

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A propulsive and incredibly creepy dystopian premise – I was hooked from the outset, and every twist was perfectly executed. A fantastic thriller that deserves all the accolades.

The story is set in a future where fiction is banned, but all is not as it seems. As we watch the protagonist fall apart more and more questions are raised. The pacing is great – you'll find yourself racing to the end to see how this original premise pans out. Bravo!

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Admittedly when I finished this utterly amazing novel I bawled like a baby for a good hour. I mean really, you should all read it and share the completely honest trauma.

I hadn't actually read the blurb, I love this author when she writes as Louise Beech and genuinely if you can manage to read this with as little influence as possible I'd recommend doing that. Any description you get couldn't possibly encompass the strange beauty of this story it is entirely its own thing.

The writing is gorgeous and the author presents a pretty horrific scenario, which sets a scene that slowly slowly absorbs you in. The main protagonist is enthralling, the deep emotional layers of the narrative are hard to put into words but you'll run the gamut of all of them at various points then the end will slap you around a bit before releasing you into the aftermath.

Gorgeously crazy and crazily gorgeous. Stories that do what this one does pitch perfectly don't come along that often so I wouldn't miss it if I were you.

Highly Recommended.

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It's the year 2035 and fiction has been banned by the government for five years. Writing novels is a crime. Reading fairytales to children is punishable by law.
Fern Dostoy is a criminal. Officially, she has retrained in a new job outside of the arts but she still scrawls in a secret notepad in an effort to capture what her life has become: her work on a banned phone line, reading bedtime stories to sleep starved children; Hunter, the young boy who calls her and has captured her heart; and the dreaded visits from government officials.
But as Fern begins to learn more about Hunter, doubts begin to surface. What are they both hiding? And who can be trusted?
Totally gripping really enjoyable read totally recommend
Thank You NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton
I just reviewed End of Story by Louise Swanson. #EndofStory #NetGalley

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2035 and all fiction has been banned by the government. You are no longer allowed to read bed time stories to your children. Not something that I would usually read but something caught my eye when reading what the book was about. This is an original story with a surprising ending.

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Having enjoyed Louise’s writing for many years, I was keen to find out more about this change in direction as she dipped her toe into a dystopian world. In 2035 fiction has been banned, whether it be novels and the bookshops that sell them, or even just a parent telling their child a bedtime story. Only facts can be printed now, imagination is too dangerous to be allowed to run free and the penalties are severe for anyone who doesn’t obey the law.

Fern Dostoy was an award-winning author, one of the “Big 4” whose success has ushered in this strange world where story is feared. Forced to abandon her craft she has been re-housed, renamed Fern Dalrymple and given a new job cleaning in a hospital. She isn’t as anonymous as she thinks, however, and her world is somehow being shaped in an unsettling way around her. A stray trainer that came from nowhere, a phone line that shouldn’t be able to ring, a boy she has never met but can describe perfectly, fiction becoming fact in a hospital conference room, sinister visitors probing her secrets.

Fern maintains a diary of what is happening to her. She knows that it is dangerous, the contents of the diary could have consequences, but she has to tell her story, it’s the only way to get through the horror that is unfolding around her. As Fern’s desperation rises, as she gets closer and closer to the truth of this dystopia and why her world has changed so dramatically, the writing becomes more frantic and your heart races to its own crushing revelation.

This is something new from Louise, it is Swanson, yet deep down it is also Beech. End of Story is a dark, intense thriller and it is also a journey into the soul. Honestly Louise, I don’t know how you do it. How you journey so deep to pull these stories out and then bring yourself back, it’s remarkable. I think it’s a gift, I hope that it is. You break me when you write, you make me want to hold everyone I love tightly to me. Bless you, not frivolously, but deeply, be blessed.

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This was a chilling and intense read with a creepy atmosphere all the way through it. It was fast paced, dark and gripping and I couldn't put it down. I loved it.

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A Dreaded Futuristic Premise..
A disturbing, distressing and emotionally draining picture of a dystopian future is presented in this well written, fluid and imaginative suspense. The year is 2035 and all forms of fiction have been government banned for five years - the writing or reading of such is a crime. Fern is officially a criminal - the trouble is, just who can she trust. With a carefully crafted and credible cast of characters, a shockingly real portrayal of this dreaded futuristic premise and a menacing plotline peppered with twists, this is an accomplished tale from a talented pen.

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3.5 stars

Nobody wants a future like this, where stories are banned.
It's an incredible idea , and sparked several conversations as I was reading it.
It's an unusual book, with several interactions that I just couldn't see where it was leading, or if I has any idea, I was completely wrong.
There's not much else I can say without spoilers.
Definitely worth your time.

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A book lovers worst nightmare, with an unexpected twist!

Can you imagine a life without books, where all the great books are destroyed, and reading fairy tales are banned.

Fern is a writer, the year is 2035 and a New Order has commenced. The world has recovered from Covid but the government seeks to control the minds of others. Fiction is banned, writers can no longer write and to do so, encounters punishment of an unimaginable scale.

Fern is battling the grief of her husband, but finds comfort by attending an illegal book gathering to read to small children to help them sleep. Here she helps a boy called Hunter and will do everything in her power to protect him.

Thank you to Netgalley and @HodderBooks for an ARC of End of Story.

This story had me gripped from the beginning. I started to have panic attacks thinking of how I'd survive without books. This book was unusual in it futuristic setting but a cracking twist at the end, that I certainly didn't see coming.

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I’ve read and enjoyed Louise’s work when she writes as Louise Beech, so I was very intrigued to hear about her latest novel, End of Story that she has written under the name Louise Swanson. I’ve enjoyed reading dystopian fiction in the past, and I found her latest book to be an utterly captivating read that I flew through in just a couple of sittings.

Imagine a world where fiction has been banned by the government. No longer can a writer pen novels or stories, for fear of making their own personal voices and views heard through fiction. It has often been said that the pen is mightier than the sword, and Louise Swanson paints a vivid portrayal of just how frightening the stroke of a pen can be to some people.

We meet Fern Dostoy, and the year is 2035. Fern was once a famous writer until the fiction ban came in, now she lives in fear of her life, but you can see just how much she aches to pick up a pen again and write; now she has to do in secret. Louise Swanson delves into her character and into her innermost thoughts and this adds to the tension, especially each time government officials descend on her to check that she is still abiding by the law. Soon, Fern discovers a lifeline when she finds a secret group of former writers, who have set a group up so that they can read bedtime stories to children at night, as this once source of comfort for children, has been lost.

The landscape in 2035 Louise Swanson portrays in her book is a very frightening one. Not just is it hellish because of the new laws, but you can also feel the rampage of the climate, the heatwaves that carry on well into November. It’s another part that makes this reality so terrifying.

I had no idea just where Louise Swanson was going to take this novel, especially when Fern becomes acquainted with the group of writers reading bedtime stories to children. You can feel her attachment to one particular boy, Hunter, who calls each night and speaks to Fern, but I wondered here, if she was putting herself more in danger by growing attached to him.

The ending of this book took me completely by surprise and it is a really heart breaking one. I could feel the emotion pouring out on the page and it was so expertly done. I’m certain End of Story is going to be a huge hit. I highly, highly recommend it.

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Thank so much for this book!!!
Perfect story with twists and lovely characters...
I can't put the book down, just so Perfect!!!
If you tell a story well enough, it's true.

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An impossible book to review as I don't want to say too much - I'd advise any and all readers to go into this one as blind as possible! The twist truly knocked me off my feet, and I was bereft when it was all over. FIVE STARS!

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I’m a big fan of Louise Beech and so was very keen to read her literary alter-ego, Louise Swanson.
Completely different to anything I’ve read from her before, End of Story is a brilliantly executed novel. And one which is really difficult to talk about without giving anything away! It’s a book of two halves in the best possible sense. Dark, smart and very well written, with a complex main character and suspense filled story. End of Story is a strong start from a new generation of novels from this author. I’m very much looking forward to reading more from Louise Swanson.

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What a fantastic book! I was both captivated and dismayed by the dystopian elements as things got worse and worse for the Fern and the terrible life she was leading in the not to distant future - my heart broke when all of the strands of the book came together at the end. Unique and unputdownable - highly recommended.

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What an addictive story this one was. Set in a world where fiction is illegal, one writer tries to keep a record of what has happened and what life has become. Full of dark specificities and characters who are doing what they can to be rebellious, to fight for what they once knew. I consumed every page of this like it's the last book I'll ever be allowed to read.

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End of Story was such a strange book like nothing I have ever read before. If you enjoy stories where you’re not sure exactly what is going on until the end this is for you!

End of Story is set in the near future in a world where fictional works become banned. The story follows our main character Fern, an award winning author who is NOT ready to give up writing and hides under the guise of a hospital ward cleaner. Fern is actually writing fiction in secret, while also working for an undercover call centre that tells bedtime stories to children. It is here where Fern meets Hunter, a little boy who captures her heart. As time goes on however, it becomes clear that secrets are being kept. What are they hiding? And can they be trusted?

I really enjoyed End Of Story. While I was quite confused throughout the first half of the book, the relationships between our main characters kept me gripped. I love stories that keep you guessing for most of the book then gift you the answers one by one towards the end, so this was an aspect I really enjoyed! All of the key characters were so well written and had so much depth to them. I don’t cry at books, but with this one I came very close! No blurb or review will prepare you for how layered, strange and unique this book is - just pick it up!

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Scrolling through NetGalley, this cover stopped me in my tracks. I just love that eye looking out at you. I had to add this book to my wish list. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that Louise Swanson is not a new to me author after all. Turns out I have read a book by Louise Beech – who happens to be the same person.
End of Story is a moving, creative tale set in 2035, which was not what I expected when reaching for this book at all. The author keeps you engrossed in an unusual futuristic tale and then spins it around and delivers a whopper you would never foresee. By the time you reach the end of this book, you are left with a creative look at loss, heartbreak and unexpected friendships.
I enjoy this author’s work. She manages to deliver an emotional ending while keeping the story light and easy to read. By the time I reached the end of this book, I was amazed by where the story ended.
End of Story transports you to 2035, to a world that has banned all fiction. The government appears to have lost the plot and is keeping writers under a close eye to ensure they do not write, anything. Fern Dostoy, a successful writer has surrendered, she lives by the rule and keeps her head down. Until she unexpectedly receives a card for Bedtime Stories. An underground group who are secret reading bedtime stories to children over the phone. Fern finds the more time she spends telling stories, the more her anger at the situation increases. Is she strong enough to fight back? Can she make a difference? Or will she quietly disappear into a re-education centre?
Initially, I was not convinced that this was the book for me. I have never been a huge fan of futuristic fiction. Yet, there was something that kept me reading. I needed to know what was going to happen to Fern. Not giving up on this book proved to be a good choice. This story turns out to be an emotional read that leaves you loving it.
You will find you are quickly drawn to Fern. This woman has lost so much, her career, her friends her home. It’s easy to understand that she seems a little troubled. From the start, you are left with a feeling that something is not quite right. And oh boy when you find out what that is your heart will break for this woman. Fern is a fantastic creation, the author did a brilliant job creating this woman.
The first half of this book did not have me convinced, but as I kept reading and as the story unfolded I found myself enjoying it more and more. This is an unusual read, but a brilliantly creative look at dealing with loss. When you reach for this book, expect the unexpected.
If you are looking for something different to sink your teeth into, a book that is not what it appears to be, then I cannot recommend this one highly enough.

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Thank you to Louise Swanson, Hodder and Stoughton and NetGalley for my ARC.

I’ve had to think really hard about this review. It is a testament to the writing that I knew it was a 5⭐️ read but struggled to work out why!

Fern, our main character, is strongly developed and interesting. She narrates her story for us in diary entries which, although believable, leave the reader with a slight feeling of confusion. This air of mystery is fascinating rather than annoying and carries the reader forward, wanting to know more.

About two thirds of the way through I guessed what the ending was going to be and, to be honest, my heart fell. Without wanting to give spoilers, it could have been a real cop-out of an ending. But it was done so well that it totally redeemed itself. And best of all, it’s one of those books that make me want to read it again with the knowledge of the ending.

Bravo Louise Swanson.

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This is a difficult book to review without spoiling it in any way, so I won’t recount any more of the story than the blurb gives you.

If you are not familiar with the author, I think you’ll enjoy this book for what it is straight away and will probably just go with the flow.

My issue was that I have read a lot of books this author has written under the name Louise Beech, and I love her for the emotional response her characters evoke. This was lacking for me for the first half of the book, I wasn’t connecting with Fern and something seemed off about her relationships with people. I had expected more, that special something was missing… until later events, when it all made perfect sense! All the bits that didn’t gel were suddenly all the more poignant and all the feels I’m used to getting from the author were there in spades. It was absolutely heartbreaking and I could really relate to Fern and imagine her pain. I’m glad I didn’t give up when I felt like it was missing the soul I had come to expect, you have to go with it and trust Louise, I’m sorry I ever doubted her!

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a creative taale set in the future, an unusual read that is both curiously and compelling. The story deals with some dark and difficult topics and had a surprising ended which i really enjoyed.

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Having read End of Story during the balmy days of October 2022, I could well believe the setting of a heatwave in November 2035. But that's not the only catastrophe that's happened. In another believable move, fiction has been banned by the government and only factual books are allowed to be sold and read. Parents could go to prison and have their children removed if they're caught telling them a bedtime story. For Fern Dostoy, a best-selling, award-winning author, this is more than a travesty. Her whole life is turned upside down as she's not allowed to acknowledge her previous success. She's also monitored on a regular basis to ensure she's no longer writing. But Fern is writing a diary, a secret one that reveals everything that's going on.

There's immediacy and intimacy in Louise Swanson.'s writing that captured me completely and drew me in. I was in the story with Fern, feeling everything that she was feeling. I could instantly relate to and feel her despair, not just for herself, but for everyone affected. Rather worryingly, I could imagine a time where fiction might be banned. A stunning book.

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I absolutely loved the premise of this novel and the execution is excellent.

Louise Swanson has created a dystopian society where fiction is forbidden and writers are enemies of the public.
Despite finishing this book over a week ago, I can't stop thinking about the characters.

An intelligent, moving novel.

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I read 1984 in the 70s, and Children of Men when it was published in, I think, 1991, so it intrigued me when an author whose work I hugely enjoy (as Louise Beech) decided to write her 9th novel as a futuristic one. Set not that many years away, though; indeed, someone of my vintage reading End of Story may well look at some elements and wince, but what Louise Swanson has actually done is add some pretty thought-provoking "what ifs" to a modern day catastrophe and turn them into a reality of the near future in this story of one woman's plight, trying to maintain the life she used to have. Some very poignant moments and some others that may leave you wanting to rage against the machine, but certainly a book that will linger long after the final page has been read.

My thanks to the publishers, Hodder, and Netgalley UK, for the advance review copy of this book and the opportunity to read prior to publication in March.

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Very enjoyable book. It had a different storyline than I was expecting. Great character building. Would definitely recommend this book

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This book inspires and scares in equal measure. End of story is set not so far in the future (2035) where books of fiction are banned, the protagonist, an award-winning writer Fern Dostoy, reveals how creativity has been banished. No books, no theatre and only factual programmes available and writers are no longer able to write and are closely monitored by sinister Government officials who regularly turn up unannounced. Fern befriends a delivery man who tries to tempt her with tea and biscuits and she is both intrigued and annoyed with him. With bedtime stories banned, children are deprived of storytelling but through a clandestine group, Fern gets a call from an eight year old boy Hunter and weekly, he calls for the latest instalment. The final quarter of the book springs quite a surprise. It is both redeeming and touching. A well-crafted and original story. A sombre read that is thought-provoking and for book lovers everywhere, a reminder of how much joy reading brings. Keep your enemies close, but your beloved books closer.

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This is a book of two halves.
The first had me gripped in a world where fiction is banned and where our best selling heroine is observed constantly and cannot quite believe that her stories appear to be coming true. A dystopian nightmare of what could happen is stories were gone.
The second made me much more thoughtful and reflect, much more would spoil it.
Highly recommended.

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Genuinely think this will be one of the big titles for 2023. Such a clever concept. The writing is hauntingly beautiful, and done in a way that drags you head first into Louise Swanson’s world. It’s one that attracts and repels you for all the right reasons, not least of which are the opposing cast of characters who carry the story. Will be surprised if this isn’t still at least in my top 5 by the end of the year.

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I'll start at the beginning and admit this book blew my socks off from the first pages. And — wow — the end of (the) story caught me completely unawares and alternating between gasping and wiping away tears.
Having read several of the author's novels under a different name, I knew her to be outstandingly talented. This nightmarish read (imagine a world where fiction is banned, and authors dealt with brutally for their 'crimes'), underlines again her ability to weave magic with words. And to create characters that will stay in your mind for a long time. As always, so many outstanding lines:
The voice is different when it reads. The words are different when lifted from the page. The air holds its breath when a story is told.
Discretion; I love that word. I formed it silently in my corner. I can be as discreet as soft net curtains hiding an illicit encounter.
I sensed the author bleeding out her heart and soul into this intense and thought-provoking tale. Memories, moments of pain spilling out across the pages, raw and real.
I don't want to say anything about the plot because you simply have to read this. Just be ready to put the rest of your life on hold when you do.

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An atmospheric and highly original read; I really enjoyed this and did not see the twist coming. With a futuristic yet plausible plot, this story provides suspense as well showing insightful perspective on loss and grief. Very readable -I was completely gripped and will be looking out for more books by this author.

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Lately I really am in dystopian stories especially if they are done in such an intruiging way!
Louise Swanson takes us into a society where fiction is forbidden and writers are enemies of the public. How disturbing and gripping!
This story catches you and doesn't let you go!

Thanks #Netgalley #Hodder & Stoughton for this ARC

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This novel really affected me. Set in a near-future dystopian world where fiction is banned, it details the bland existence of Fern, a former prize-winning author now relegated to a mundane cleaning job. She finds her way to an underground group that reads bedtime stories over the phone to children and develops a relationship with a boy named Hunter. The tedium and low-level dread of Fern's life is changed by her participation in the group and I was surprised by the direction the novel took at the end.

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I have reviewed End of Story for book recommendation site LoveReading.co.uk

I’ve chosen it as a Star Book and Liz Robinson pick of the month for its publication month.

Please see the link for full review.

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Wow I really don’t know where to begin with this one. Although this is a 2023 book, I couldn’t wait to delve in and now I have months to wait before I can discuss this one.

Fern Dostoy is criminal– a fiction writer. Just imagine a world in which fiction is banned and novels are burnt.

The horror I’ve felt at this aspect, has resulted in me stroking my books and reminding those around me of the consequences of coming near my books. It’s a thought that terrifies me- a world without fiction novels.

However, Swanson takes us on a journey with Fern- writer, award winner, laureate. As a reader, you feel for her and can’t help but want to give her a great big cwtch because of her circumstances.

Once I’d got over the nightmare the author planted (burning of books), I devoured page after page. There are so many scary elements to this one, yet they are presented in a way which is completely imaginable and realistic.

As events in this one have unravelled, I’ve found myself completely speechless and unable to put this down. I’ve needed to know how this was going to play out. Swanson is a genius, this is a book that will completely pull the ground from under you. I have been completely speechless and unable to predict this.

I am in awe of how effortlessly this flows. Swanson is talented and this is a book which absolutely must be a bestseller. I can say nothing negative about this gem because it’s everything I had anticipated and so much more. This truly is a book worthy of all the stars.

A must for the TBR.

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There’s going to be a day, soon - if not already - where this author’s work is going to be on school / university reading lists, End Of Story especially.
The humanity in this novel is a shining beacon.
In my eyes, a dystopian read - whether apocalyptic or post, totalitarian or even speculative - had to have a sense of all hope gone, but at the same time, some semblance of belief to cling to.
End Of Story is superbly written. I CARED massively about the characters.
This book is going to be a major hit.
Solid five stars.

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Stunning, unexpected and one that has crept under my skin so I'll think of in the future again and again. I thought the Handmaid's tale impacted me the idea of fiction and writing being banned ripped out the core of me. They are my escape strategies and without them I'd be lost, lonely and desperate so witnessing Fern's life and horror of potential punishment was hide behind a cushion read.
As with all this author's work, it's immersive, the characters are real and provides an emotional read. Perfect for book clubs and a warning we should cherish and appreciate books more than we do

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This is a real change of genre for Louise Beech (Swanson). I’ve enjoyed all of her books so far and this didn’t disappoint.
An unusual and well planned book, what an imagination this author has! And beautifully written as always, as if the words came right from her heart. Loved it!

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There are times when I think I could write a book. Why not? I have a first in English and I’ve been reading voraciously since I learned to read. I have even started a memoir. Surely I could do it. Then I read this. This astounding, raw, unflinching and inspirationally creative novel is proof that some of us were born to write. This book, is quite simply astonishing.

I can’t write much about the content of the book without ruining it for others and that’s the last thing I want to do, So I’ll tread carefully.. Our narrator Fern Dostoy is a writer, one of the ‘big four’ novelists of the not too distant future. A future where the Anti-Fiction Movement’s campaign to have all fiction banned has been successful. It was Fern’s third novel, Technological Amazingness, that was cited as a dangerous fiction likely to mislead and possibly incite dissent in it’s readers. She had created a dystopian future where two major policies were being adopted as standard practice. To avoid poor surgical outcomes, only patients who are dead can have an operation. Secondly, every so often families would be called upon to nominate one family member for euthanasia - leading to the deaths of thousands of elderly and disabled people. All fiction authors, including Fern, are banned from writing and the only books on sale are non-fiction. The message is that fiction is bad for you, it lies to the reader giving them misleading ideas about the world and how it’s run. Facts are safe. AllBooks dominated the market for books until it became the only bookshop left, state sanctioned of course and only selling non-fiction. From time to time they held a book amnesty where people could take their old, hidden novels to be pulped. Fern now cleans at a hospital and receives unannounced home visits from. compliance officers who question her and search her house to ensure she’s not writing. Added to this dystopian nightmare are a door to door tea salesman, an underground bedtime story organisation, a mysterious appearing and disappearing blue and white trainer, re-education camps for non-compliant writers and. a boy called Hunter. All the time I was reading about this terrible new world, I was taking in the details. and trying to imagine living in it.

Yet there was a little voice in the back of my mind telling me this wasn’t the real story. I had strange feelings of anger and frustration with the narrative, not because it isn’t brilliantly and vividly. brought to life, but because I could sense something else going. on underneath. I couldn’t quite get to the bottom of it. I felt a lump building in my throat, but didn’t know why. I read the final third with tears streaming down my cheeks, followed by the sobbing of a really cathartic cry. I hadn’t known my emotions were so engaged with Fern’s story until my husband came home and I couldn’t even speak to explain. This is a real work of genius. It shows us how strong our minds can be at protecting us from things we don’t want to face. I understood Fern and her story moved me deeply. This is, without doubt, a contender for book of the year and an unparalleled look at what it means to be human.

A longer version of this review will appear on my blog and as part of my most anticipated reads of 2023.

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Too much imagination can be a dangerous thing

It has been five years since writing fiction was banned by the government.

Fern Dostoy is a criminal. Officially, she has retrained in a new job outside of the arts but she still scrawls in a secret notepad in an effort to capture what her life has become: her work on a banned phone line, reading bedtime stories to sleep-starved children; Hunter, the young boy who calls her and has captured her heart; and the dreaded visits from government officials.

But as Fern begins to learn more about Hunter, doubts begin to surface. What are they both hiding? And who can be trusted?

Wow – what a premise for a book! I was hooked and shocked from the first few pages. With reference to recent real events such as covid, politics etc it weirdly didn’t seem too far-fetched and control being taken on the public by the state in 2035 when this is set, books banned and statues removed. Fern Dostoy was such an interesting complex character, mourning the loss of her old life as an author and her friends and partner that died in covid. Events unfold and Fern and a group of writers and readers find a way to get bedtime stories out to young children that are suffering because their parents could not read to them and they could not sleep.
There is such an incredible twist to the story I couldn’t believe it (in a good way!) and was truly shocked. This has me in tears and I didn’t want it to end, when I did finish the book it kept me thinking about it for ages after. The novel conjures up such vivid pictures I can imagine it as a film – I wonder if anyone has bought the rights to it yet as they should do!

Thanks for NetGalley and the publisher for a chance to read this book in exchange for an honest review. I must say I’ve read some amazing books published by #Hodder&Stoughton in the last few years, they really have the magic touch it seems and I really appreciate the opportunity to review the ARCs.
#EndofStory #NetGalley

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" If you tell a story well enough, it is true."

End of Story is a unique story about near future world where fiction was banned. Noone can write, publish, sell fiction books. Even tell bedtime storytelling to our children will granted big punishment. The worldbuilding look similar with world we knew but before read this book I never imagine losing fiction will affect our life drastically. At least it was in Fern's life. Our MC is one of big book winners, she wrote after lost her family member. Her books was bestseller and become inspiration so many people. But she only taste her success in short time.

This is my first read from the author and at first pages I thought this one will not work for me. The writing is simple and Fern's narration seem depressing. But suprisingly the plots are richer with each of daily ordinary activities Fern's shared. All of that slowly absorb me into the eerie of Fern Dostoy's world after banned. In the end I really like this creative and well plotted boom and appreciate every layers facts author gave me. The twist was heartbreaking but offer big hope for all our characters.
I must highlight my favorit supporting character, the tea man. His scenes always heartwarming and elevated Fern's personality.

This is a good book started my 2023 with strong kick. Highly recommended.
Thank you Hodder and Stoughton for provided me another great book. I truly enjoyed this one and my thoughts are my own

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Wow! I loved the premise of this story, loved the writing, could not put the book down!

End of Story is a well written novel, set in a near dystopian future, where fiction is banned and writers are treated as criminals. The book has a bit of everything, the pages almost turned themselves.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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I kept this book as my last of the year to end 2022 with something I knew would be special, and I'm happy that it is going to be my first recommendation to you in 2023!

What can I say about it without spoiling the treat that's waiting for you? A scary dystopia, a woman who's suffering... and a lot more than meets the eye.

Louise Beech, Louise Swanson... whichever name she publishes under, she is going to break your heart. I forgive her every time! In fact, I thank her for it!

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I just had to pick this book up and see why there were so many 5 star reviews.

Set mainly in a dystopian future where fiction books are banned and only non fiction was allowed. You couldn't write and you couldn't tell bedtime stories to children. It reminded me of a mash up between Fahrenheit 451 and 1984 but with a twist

It's hard to review without giving spoliers because the storyline has so many different levels. Told in a diary style way you never quite know what is happening or why. I did wonder what I was reading and where it was leading but I just couldn't put it down. It's strangely addictive and ever so weird, but in a positive way.

I found this to be rather emotional, especially the end part where everything made sense and fell into place. This is one of those story's that will definitely stay with me. The basis of the story is pretty simple but the delivery was out of this world.

A strong contender for my favourite book of 202....

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End of Story by Louise Swanson
Publication date - 23rd March 2023
Publisher - Hodder & Stoughton

Thanks to @netgalley for giving me an advanced copy of the book.

I have devoured everything that Louise Beech aka Swanson have ever written and with each book she reinvents herself. This again happens with ‘End of Story’! It’s a stupendously superb book that takes the reader through so many emotions. I went into this book blind without reading the blurb as I KNOW it will be a great book from this author and I definitely wasn’t expecting what I got! A world without fiction. It doesn’t bear thinking about. But this is so much more than that, it’s a multilayered examination of what makes us tick, how we deal with situations. In a ‘big brother’ world would you fight or coalesce?

Fern lives a small life. Living alone and going to work as a cleaner. But life wasn’t always like this. She used to be a famous author but then fiction was banned, she was stripped of her identity, removed from her home and had to watch as all fiction was removed from society and books were burnt on the streets. She isn’t allowed to write and she is monitored by the state to enforce this new society.

This is one of those books which are hard to review as you really don't want to spoil it for other readers. But what I will say is this - the quality of the writing is as exceptional as always and Swanson isn't afraid to enter the darkness of this dystopian tale. There were times I did have to put this done and regroup. But probably not where you think. It was the absence of fiction that really got me. When your life is built around the joy and promotion of fiction, the idea that it could be swept away is frightening. And indeed anything can happen in this world of ours. I read this in one day as I just could not put it down, its a brilliant page turner, the use of unfinished sentences hook the reader and honestly I couldn't wait to carry on experiencing Fern’s world.

Bravo Louise! I think this book will fly next year!

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A world, in the not too distant future, where fiction and story-telling is banned. It sounds such a grey and grim world. But, to be a writer criminalised and forced not to write or tell stories - it must be horrifying and unimaginable. This is the world inhabited by critically acclaimed author Fern Dostoy. Fern is taken away to a re-education camp, stripped of her identity being renamed Fern Dalrymple and retrained to become a cleaner. For me, this had echoes of the Cultural Revolution in China.

Fern writes in secret chronicling what is happening as a way to maintain her identity and craft and perhaps as an act of resistance. Without giving away any spoilers, this is an absolutely gripping read about human spirit and how stories are part of who we are.

End of Story was my first book by Louise Swanson and it certainly won’t be my last.

Huge thanks to NetGalley and the publisher, Hodder & Stoughton, for the ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.

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I'm usually a bit wary of dystopian fiction, but I invariably adore everything this author writes, so i just had to read End Of Story. The majority of it is set in December 2035, which is quite difficult for me to imagine, but Louise Swanson describes everything in such minute detail that I could not help but think about what life would be like. (I'm not sure I'll be having milk on my breakfast tomorrow though.) She also uses events that have happened in the present day, such as Covid-19, climate change and the political situation in the NHS to make her vision of the future feel more real.

The premise of End Of Story is a world where fiction, both reading it and writing it, is banned. The people who break the rules are subjected to some appalling punishments, which are particularly brutal to read. This concept is devastating for me, and indeed, any reader, which meant I felt all the five stages of grief (which are cleverly interwoven in the story) along with Fern and her fellow authors and the contempt for those who were enforcing the rules. I have to say I loved Fine-Fayre and his no nonsense attitude to his disability, and if Smart Legs are ever made, I will be first in line for a pair! The characters are described really clearly and this helped me to become really immersed in the novel.

I would probably describe End Of Story as a slow burner, but it's ridiculously clever and I love the way even the little details are tied together. There are clues throughout the novel that I cannot believe I didn't notice! The ending completely blew my mind, and I can't say any more than that!

I do hope Ms Swanson makes a return really soon!

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End of Story by Louise Swanson is an outstanding book about a world where no one is allowed to write fiction. Authors are forbidden to operate and are punished severely for their crimes. In this surveillance state nothing is hidden from the authorities. Government officials visit with little or no notice—namely, two individuals Fern describes as “the tall one and the short one.” It’s a compelling book, set in 2035, revealing a cruel, totalitarian era where disaster is sure to come at full force. It’s almost The Handmaid’s Tale meets Delirium (Dare to Love) in that individuals must undergo disciplinary procedures to “cure” them.

Fern Dostoy, once a fiction laureate with a bright future, has been robbed of her house by the river and a lifestyle that once complimented her bestselling status. Hobbled to an existence that almost resembles imprisonment, she lives a nightmare of rules and isolation, longing for the old life; book tours, library events, the warmth of fellow authors, and someone of substance with whom to talk. So when a blue trainer, a tea seller (Fine-Fayre) and a notebook are her only companions, it’s easy to resonate with her grief.

When book lovers leave hints of Bedtime Stories in secret places, Fern sees a chance to reconnect with old friends. She begins reading a story a young boy to whom she becomes attached, a boy she’d already dreamt about. But it’s clear she cannot fly under the legal radar for long. The tall one and the short one will be back to take her away.

Her words kept resonating with me; “If you tell a story well enough, it’s true,” and it’s through these words I began to understand the mystery of her confinement. Thank God for Fine-Fayre and his mock-vintage van, depicting a picture of a family drinking tea and eating custard creams. I loved him! As I continued to follow Fern’s traumatic journey through the five stages of grief, hoping she would find a way out of her incarceration, I cried a lot, laughed a lot and wished the book wouldn’t end.

The book is multi-layered and complex, Fern’s tragedy unfolding with each chapter. But by the end, it provided hope. My husband kept asking why I was sobbing in a tissue—well, several actually—and I said it’s sad in a good way. It gave me an opportunity to address my own stages of grief and to come out the other side a stronger person.

The book is a prophetic and highly visual novel—a thought experiment about what could happen if fiction writers were seen as a threat to the government. But more than that, it’s a knitting together of “family”—Fern’s greatest loss. It’s true to say I savoured every single page. This is definitely one you can’t afford to miss.

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This review will go live on 15 March:

What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet…

And indeed it does, or rather: a Louise Beech writing as a Louise Swanson writes as beautiful a book… and can still make me cry. Oh yes, rest assured, there are still certainties in this life.

I’m quite the horror fan but End of Story is more terrifying than any horror novel I’ve read (and I’m not even talking about the fingers thing or the re-education centres): the year is 2035 and fiction has been banned. Reading fiction is a crime and there is only one bookstore chain left, selling only non-fiction (gasp!). Now, in recent years I’ve become quite fond of non-fiction, but a world without made-up stories?! Now there’s a horrifying thought!

For the most part, the story is told from the perspective of Fern in the form of a diary. Fern used to be a published author but her books have become illegal, as well as her writing new ones. But blood is thicker than water, and so is the urge to write. And so, in the privacy of her home, curtains closed, she scribbles on a notepad about this sad new world and how we got there.

Being a former writer, Fern is monitored closely and gets regular visits from a duo of government agents who’d give Mr Smith from The Matrix a run for his money. Creepy dudes! In a rather creepy world to boot. In tone, End of Story reminded me of The Memory Police, astonishing things happening and people seemingly just going along with it, believing they have no other choice. What I hated about The Memory Police though, was never quite finding out what was going on. Fortunately, that is not the case with End of Story.

There were a couple of things that drove me mad because I wanted to figure them out and I couldn’t. Like what is Fern’s problem with curdled milk? Sure, it’s unpleasant, but her behaviour is more off than her milk. And what of the blue and white trainer with the bloody speck that keeps popping up and disappearing again? And what about the boy who keeps calling her on a phone he couldn’t possibly call?

As the story progresses, I had to suspend disbelief a couple of times, thinking certain developments a little too much over the top. You might feel the same way if and when you pick up End of Story, but I’m here to tell you that if you do: stick with it! It will all make sense in the end, I promise! And then you’ll cry. But that’s okay, you’ll be fine!

At a certain point, I had this inkling, this sinking feeling, that I really REALLY hoped would be wrong. I didn’t figure out the whole thing but I turned out to be right about that one thing. And it was absolutely devastating. That’s how much I cared. After all, if you tell a story well enough, it’s true.

End of Story is a brilliant, multi-layered, genre-defying pitch-perfect story that I already wish I could read for the first time again. It is glorious and rich and sumptuous, seriously, if it were a cake, it would have a billion calories. Whatever this author writes next, under whatever name, this reader will be waiting. With chocolates and tissues and a cat to cuddle through the tears. Highly recommended.

Massive thanks to Hodder & Stoughton and NetGalley for the eARC. All opinions are my own.

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I adore when this writer writes as Louise Beech so knew that I needed to read her Louise Swanson alter ego but wasn’t expecting to love this book quite as much as I did! It is drawing comparisons with other books like The Handmaids Tale and I can see why! Set in a not so distant future world where fiction is banned and reading bedtime stories to your child is a punishable offence, I become engaged straight away by this storyline that didn’t feel as unbelievable as perhaps it should have done unfortunately!
Once again I was completely unprepared for the emotional intensity that this brilliant author brought to her writing and I found it so hard to read at times as she is probably the only person ever to bring out the empath in me through the written word. I have always been highly attuned to the emotions and feelings of those around me and Louise creates characters that also do this to me! At one point I nearly threw up because her description of the smell of milk is one of my most hated smells (I don’t like milk and haven’t since being very young) and it was like I was actually there in the book! A very weird feeling that left me highly unsettled I can tell you!
My favourite book of 2022 topping the other 19 in my top 20 books of the year!

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A pitch perfect thriller! . . . This author is an absolute master of psychological suspense!
I read through the night to finish this thriller that turns into a nightmare. Spooky, tense, richly atmospheric and profoundly moving! This author turns the psychological thumbscrews with relish.

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Wow! Well that was surprising!

This book starts off in a futuristic, dystopian society. Fern Dalrymple was once Fern Dostoy, the author of a hugely successful novel which won her major awards. However, fiction has now been banned and anyone caught reading or writing fiction can be imprisoned.

Fern lives a lonely existence after the death of her husband however soon learns of an underground network which reads bedtime stories to children and seeks to join her fellow authors in helping young children fall in love with the beauty of books.

However, this comes at a cost. Closely monitored by the government, Fern is watched and it's only a matter of time before things come to a head.......

That is the general premise of this book however it only scratches the surface of what is going on here. I can't say anymore without spoilers however this book is very reminiscent of one of my favourite novels (however again, I can't say which as this would also be a de facto spoiler).

All I can say is please read this novel. One of the best I have read this year!

Thanks to Netgalley and Hodder & Stoughton for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Move over Louise Beech, there’s a new writer in town… And wow, does she have a story to tell. Louise Swanson is the new penname for Louise Beech as she does what we’ve always hoped she would do and dives into the darker side genres. And never, ever, ever, has an Author adopted the persona of their alter ego quite as well as Louise has done with her foray into writing as Swanson.

I rarely predict which direction a book is going in, but I had a sixth sense with this one. And do you know what? I wasn’t annoyed. I’ve seen reviews that say, ‘I knew the twist so…’ So what? It’s impossible to surprise everybody, truly it is. But this twist, I saw it coming, I had worked a little of it out, and I put the book down at the unravelling point and said out loud, ‘Oh my god. My God. She did it. She went there.’ And she did it with all that we’ve come to know and love from her published books as Louise Beech, and she did it with ease, with talent, with remarkable darkness. Beech meets Swanson about halfway through this book, you can almost pick the word where it happens. Almost. And they don’t just meet, they collide. Fantastically. End-of-the-world fireworks type fantastic. You can also tell that Louise absolutely adored doing this. Every single word of it. She loved it, I expect she even let out a cackle or two as she led us down that winding path…

I could write about this book forever, but I won’t, and it’s going to be very hard to say much more without spoiling it. So I will leave you with this. This book is going to be huge. It’s going to be talked about. It’s going to hit bestselling lists, book club radars, and maybe… maybe even the big screen. You. Need. This. Book.

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An interesting, imaginative and emotional novel. Part dystopian.thriller, part literary drama, elements of loss and maternal loss are interwoven into the threads of a very well written story. Thought provoking and poignant. Thanks to netball and the publisher for the arc.

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I requested this book purely based on the hype I had seen on twitter without even reading the blurb so I had zero idea what I was even getting myself into. The second I started though, I sure as hell couldn’t put it down. It’s so clever and deals with some areas of life so incredibly well… I don’t want to give anything away because I don’t want to spoil the reading experience for you. But you must read it!

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The premise of this story was one of nightmares - fiction has been banned and only government approved 'non-fictions' books are allowed. I had the fear reading this, it was far too near the truth in the way authority is heading. I was hoping it couldn't possibly be true!
I had an inkling about the way the book was going and it all clicked in place near the end. And it was an absolute heartbreaker.
I love that this author - usually writing under Louise Beech - can write in every genre. Her books are truly character based and she manages to get under the skin of every one she writes. This one is incredibly powerful, a true dystopian nightmare.

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Fern is an artist - a writer, a reader. And now, a criminal.

Five years ago, any form of fiction was outlawed. No more books, no more stories, no more fairy tales to send your children to sleep and calm their nightmares. And even though since the ban, she's gone into a government-approved job, and removed any sense of her identity from the world, her words won't be silent for long as she finds a new place at an illegal phone line reading bedtime stories to tired and frightening children who need hope.

Here, she meets Hunter. A young boy who wants to hear her stories, to know imagination and happiness. A boy she feels as though she knows. A boy who isn't hers, but feels like it. As she starts to care about him, she can't help but wonder if she can really trust the little voice at the end of the phone.

As the oppressive regime closes in and reality starts to feel like the farcical, frightening worlds she once wrote about, she needs to be careful - or it could mean the end of her own story.

"What would I see? The boundary between fiction and truth disintegrate? Truth. Fiction. Did I know the difference?"

A spellbinding speculative story that explores the complexity of grief and loss in a world where a fascist government has taken away creativity and imagination to remove individuality and freedom. This world feels familiar in a way, and it's clear that this isn't just about the books but the ideas within those books - ideas about feminism, about the rights of BAME and disabled people, about fighting back and being accepted. When I imagined living in this world without the comfort of writing, of stories, it chilled me.

The setting is suffocating - you can feel a constant watchful eye as you flick through the pages, daring you to step out of line. The imagery throughout is visceral and evocative, from the first few pages the sight of pyres of books being lost into ashes sets the dark and disturbing tone for this tale.

Fern is disillusioned, her sense of self stolen from her - but there's still a sense of hopeful defiance in her that is clear from the moment we're introduced. We read her private words as she reflects on a world that has taken everything from her. She's quite literally an open book to us, just not to the rest of the world. She has beautifully written quirks and narrative styles that create such a distinct voice that is deeply compelling. She authentically explores loss and grief in all its forms - whether it's love, identity, passion or people with such tenderness and honestly in such an original way that makes it impossible not to connect.

The chapters are short, moving quickly and making for an easy read with a conversational, thoughtful tone in the narration. It's descriptive, but not over-written, allowing us moments to pause and reflect, to follow Ferns trains of thoughts before moving on into the next phase of the story and gradually leading us towards an absolutely mesmerising conclusion. It's dramatic and cinematic, quiet at first before morphing into something reminiscent of a fever dream, one where nothing is quite as it seems and fiction crashes into reality in the most explosive of ways. It's rare you can say with complete honesty that you never saw something coming, but Swanson left me completely in the dark and blew my mind.

This is a striking portrayal of real pain and loss, but it's also a love letter to the dreamers and artists who look for beauty and meaning everywhere, even when it's hopeless. A blinding testament to the fact that a world without stories is just a rock spinning through space.

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What a book! This was just incredible, the author takes everything you think you know and just turns it round in an incredible twist! I just did not expect anything like this from this book but it was brilliant, I feel like this book was so moving and different from anything else I’ve read, absolutely fabulous novel to read - everyone needs to read it.
Can we point out that I would not want to live in a world where fiction was banned because I would never have been able to read this incredible story!

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I was ecstatic to be approved for this on Netgalley. All I can say is I was not expecting that. I think a book deserves 5 stars when you start reading a story and then the author just completely flips everything you thought you knew on its head and does so in the most incredibly way. This is a story within a story. I loved it. It was powerful and unique. It is a novel that will stay with me for a long time. Well done Louise! I can’t do much more without giving it away. Just know, if you want a moving, powerful and gripping novel. Look no further.

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This review has taken me a week to write as I needed to process after finishing the book. It’s thought provoking, surprising and such an interesting concept.

It’s set a few years in the future, and in a world where fiction is banned (I cannot imagine this, nor would I want to!) and follows the story of an author, Fern, who is no longer allowed to write, and can only read non-fiction. I don’t want to say too much (no spoilers here) but be assured there are some unexpected twists and turns along the way.

I was unsure when I started but the story gradually pulled me in until I was totally engrossed, and had to find out how it ended. I also found it to be quite an emotional read and I think its one that will stay with me for a while

Thank you to Hodder and Stoughton and Netgalley for my free advanced copy. This review is my own honest opinion

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If I had the money, I’d buy everyone a copy of this book.

This book was a whole rollercoaster of emotions. It made me so angry to begin with. But in a good way. The idea that a world could ban all fiction books is a horrifying thought. To take away our words and our stories, it doesn’t bear thinking about. How realistic it is, I don’t know, but by combining it with real topics such as the COVID-19 pandemic, Louise has written a very worrying and very convincing future.

Even though I read an early digital copy, the cover keeps staring at me (quite literally) on social media, and so I may have to buy a physical copy just to have it on my shelf.

The whole book is written in a sort of diary format, and so the only viewpoint we get is from Fern. This could have felt very one sided, but it didn’t. It means we are fully absorbed in her story without other people’s agendas muddying the water. It is also a good way of adding flashbacks without skipping time periods.

If I’m honest, I couldn’t tell you much about the supporting characters. That’s not to say they’re badly written, in fact I don’t believe there’s a badly written word in this book, but Fern is such a magical main character that all your focus is on her and her emotions and her journey. She is a magnet, she drags you in so you can hold her hand. She’s hard to pin down at first, a bit over the place, but she’s so overwhelmingly human and she’s a joy to read.

At first, there’s quite a bit of repetition, how she spends her day, her work, her love for fiction, her distress, and at first I was concerned it could be a problem, but it very quickly actually became a positive of the book. It showed the mundaneness and inhumanity of a life without stories and without art, and it adds to this idea of terror when imagining such a world.

I was so outraged for a lot of the book that I almost forgot it was fiction. It became so real that I just wanted to talk to people about it, like we were all living it.

For me, it has a mix of genres. There elements of horror - not necessarily all out blood and guts and scares - but there’s bits sprinkled here and there that put you on edge. There’s thriller, psychological thriller, a bit of romance, espionage.

You’ll find yourself never comfortable with it. You’re never comfortable with what you’re reading. You don’t necessarily know who to trust or what you can believe, and by using a diary format, we are working things out at the same time as the characters.

I won’t tell you the ending obviously, that would be a BIG spoiler, but I will say it does throw you back on this rollercoaster. I admit I did have an inkling as to the ending, but that didn’t spoil it for me. If anything, I was even more excited that she had pulled of this fantastic feat so well.

I found myself in floods of tears in so many places. Out of sheer frustration and anger, but also at the grief and the sadness and just the unfairness of everything.

Louise says it was written in lockdown and I think that’s fairly obvious as that’s a major influence in the story. It would be interesting to see, if she’d written the book without the pandemic and without the lockdowns, how different a book it might be?

I only just found out that Louise Swanson is the alter ego of Louise Beech. I’ve not read any of her other books, but from what I can ascertain, this is a complete departure to the norm. But she will definitely be one I look out for, in either guise. Her words are like poetry.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a particularly happy book in the slightest. It’s hard and it’s harsh and it’s sad and heartbreaking. It’s raw and unflinching and honest. But it’s so honest and intelligent and heartwarming. It is glorious writing. Just the sheer respect and understanding of grief - in all guises - in these words is stunning.

It is a love letter to books, to words, to stories, to art, to friends, to family, to children, to our strengths, to our flaws, to the world and to ourselves.

I have no one word that fully encapsulates it fully. I could write about it forever and never scratch the surface to fully give this book the review it deserves. It is so powerful. It is a book one must read for themselves, but I can definitely say I won’t be forgetting about it for a long time.

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Frightening subject .. what if there were no book to lose yourself in , to educate yourself with on a personal level . To simply enjoy !
End of story is just that .

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It’s 2035 and the government have decreed that all fiction books are banned. No bedtime stories, no reading to children, authors kept under supervision, books burned. Life is very different. Fern is a best selling author and she has been evicted from her beautiful home, placed into government accommodation and is employed at the local hospital as a cleaner, her every move monitored.

What an amazing book! From the first few pages I was captivated. Totally brilliant, a completely unexpected ending. This will be the book of the year! Every now and then you get a book you can’t forget. This is one.

Excellent read, thank you NetGalley.

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With an OMFG start I was pulled straight in and knew right then that I was going to love this book! This is one of those books that I want to scream from the rooftops about and for everyone to read it, because it is that bloody good!

Set in the future and beautifully written.I loved the plot and the whole concept of the story. Being an avid reader I literally have no words to describe how I would feel if that was to actually happen. I mean a world with no books?! It doesn't even bare thinking about it! End of Story is simply mind blowing.

It is atmospheric, unique, addictive and full of suspense. With a jaw dropping twist that I didn't see coming. OH MY GOD I just love this book!!

It is written by Louise Beech under her pen name Louise Swanson and it has left me wondering why I have never read one of her books before. It was extraordinary!

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This was everything you need for a thriller and crime story. It is not as black and white as you first think and like most typical thrillers, is full of twists.

The E-Book could be improved and more user-friendly, such as links to the chapters, no significant gaps between words some text written has been typed in red and a cover for the book would be better. It is very document-like instead of a book. A star has been deducted because of this.

This is a first for me by the author and one I enjoyed and I would read more of their work. The book cover is eye-catching and appealing and would spark my interest if in a bookshop. Thank you very much to the author, publisher and Netgalley for this ARC.

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I'm not sure how to write this review. This book brought out so many emotions. It made me sad and angry, broke my heart and inspired hope.
It begins in a near future dystopian world where the Government has banned all fiction and storytelling. Fern, an award-winning author (in the past), finds herself working as a cleaner in a hospital and having her income subsidised by the government; now she can no longer write for a living. Contact with other authors is forbidden, only non-fiction reading is permitted, and parents can no longer read bedtime stories to their children. It is a bleak world I would not wish to inhabit.

Fern lives a lonely and sad existence. Her husband is dead, and pursuing any writing has become illegal, with dire consequences for those who break the rules. As we progress through the novel, this becomes evident as we discover what is happening to other authors. Fern joins an underground movement to read stories to children, where she meets Hunter a boy she seems to connect with.

The novel builds more pace, and I found myself rushing back to the page to find out what happens next. What is finally revealed is a heartbreaking conclusion.

However, alongside the topics that made me sad and angry were also elements of hope and kindness that were evident in the weekly meetings Fern has with the Fine Fayre man who delivers tea and biscuits. These parts of the story may seem mundane and ordinary, yet in my opinion, were among the most beautiful - showing Fern's character and what she's going through. They also reminded me that sometimes when we're at rock bottom, a stranger's kindness or wisdom can pick us up and help us through and that often it's in the most ordinary and everyday interactions that this occurs.

This book is an incredible piece of writing that shows what the mind can do to try and protect us, and like Fern states, if you tell a story well enough it's true.

It's a tough read at times, filled with raw emotional writing about love, loss and grief. It's a book I'd be proud to have written. Louise Swanson (aka Louise Beech) has accomplished something profound and beautiful.

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I haven’t read this writers books before, but I was drawn to how different storyline was and I’m so glad that I picked it up. Set in the future where all fiction has been banned and reading bedtime stories to children is punishable . A world without fiction is every readers nightmare..

I admit, I was an initially puzzled by the storyline, but as I have never read a dystopian mystery before I had to open my mind to the unfamiliar genre.

The twist in the storyline, was brilliant, and left me speechless and full of empathy for the main character. I’m not going to write anymore about the storyline as I feel the reader will benefit going onto this book blind, if you want to book that unique ,dark , though provoking and breathtaking then this is the one for you .

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Written like a diary, this book tells the story of fern dostoy, a fiction writer living in a dystopian future where fiction is banded and the mere act of reading fiction can get you locked up. This was a gripping read which made me angry and sad in equal measure. I loved the twist and I found this book to be utterly compelling and one I highly recommend.

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I have never been so deeply, emotionally affected by reading a book before.

I have thought long and hard about how to review this. I thought the best way was to just send share my message to Louise.

I wish I never requested your book on NetGalley.
I expected to read a dystopian fiction not something that broke my heart.
I am laying in bed with my daughter, she’s 7. I have sobbed, still crying now. The pain I felt from you with your words. I just can’t describe it. I have luckily never experienced grief before.

In my Instagram post I mentioned I always do a little research, and I’m aware you wrote some of your books during your own grief process. Had I not known that maybe I wouldn’t have connected so much with your story. That’s not a story, it’s not fiction. It’s not made up. Your true feelings are in there and I felt them.

Do I thank you for sharing that? Do I want to wrap my arms around you? I have no idea. But I wanted to personally message you. I didn’t expect tears at 7:15am. I’ll now be late for the school run with a big red blotchy face and puffy eyes.

Truly outstanding Louise.

I think this is enough.

Due for release 23rd March. PLEASE preorder this. You won’t be disappointed.
I need a break before reading her memoir Daffodils. Not sure I’ll make it through the book!!

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A very unusual story for the most part.

The year is 2035 and it has been a few years since fiction was banned by the government. Fern Dostoy was one of four successful authors who it is believed incited the action. Fern’s motto was ““If you tell a story well enough, it’s true”. In her work of fiction, she had written about two regressive & cruel steps related to healthcare that the government of the day brings in. There was a faction which accused her and other authors of triggering unrest. The government swings into action and bans all fiction. There is only one chain of stores “AllBooks”, which ironically stocks only non-fiction.

Fern’s earlier home has been confiscated and she has been given a more modest dwelling to live in. She now works as a cleaner in an office space. She secretly writes in her notebook, staying off the internet to avoid attention. There are periodic visits by two officials – one tall and one short to check on her and suitably warning her not to write. Ferns learns about a secret group which takes calls and reads bedtime stories to children. As she joins the group, she is now back in contact with some old friends and acquaintances. A boy named Hunter calls her regularly and she gets to be very close to him. There is great danger due to the surveillance and she knows she is taking risks.

The story for the most part is imaginative on how a scenario like this plays out and the impact it has. The pace is inconsistent in the initial sections – it starts with a bang and then tapers off, then again building up slowly. I had a sneaking suspicion on the turn it would take towards the end and that is what happened. The last sections will not stand up to much logical scrutiny, though they are well written.

Overall, a different and interesting read.

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Wow! What a story! This book is broken into different parts, I don’t want to give anything away, because a plot reveal will ruin the whole book. However, I can say the style is unique. The first part is made up of snippets, partly formed sentences, bits of information, all adding together to really make you think. The last parts will blow your mind- not at all what I was expecting. It’s made of whole chunks of stories, weaving all the previous snippets together.
Quite moving and insightful. Just totally unique.
Loved it.

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“If You Tell a Story Well Enough, it’s True”
I just finished this amazing book and I was completely blown away with what I just read !
The story is told by Fern who is living in the dystopian future world of 2035, where reading or writing fiction is banned, books are burnt and children no longer can be read bedtime stories. I’m not going to say anymore about the story I think it’s better to go into the book with no preconceived ideas as I did because I was quite literally gob smacked at what I read.
I loved the book I broke my heart at the end which is unusual for me it just brought out so many emotions whilst I was reading it. The character Fern was written so perfectly and also my other favourite character Fine-Fayre who I loved … not forgetting Hunter either who tugged at my heartstrings.
So this was a read that broke me into little pieces, I was completely engrossed in it and it’s a book that I will never forget it. The story wasn’t what I was expecting it was so much more than that, the writing was sublime and I can highly recommend it , some books are just too good to miss and this is one of those …many many thanks to the author Louise Swanson it was a joy to read.
My thanks also to NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton for giving me the opportunity to read the ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.

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OH. MY. GOD. This book will be one of THE books of 2023. Psychological thriller fans are in for an absolute treat and Louise Swanson will be one to watch in this genre.

I can't believe how utterly profound and moving this book was as well as unbelievably clever. I'm just speechless!

Swanson has created a near future dystopia in this book about books with an absolutely smashing cast of characters who you can't help but root for.

I will be buying myself a physical copy the minute this one is published. Congrats Louise, this book deserves all the hype it can garner!!

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Wow! What a story! This was a very thrilling and interesting story, with many thought-provoking topics covered. I particularly liked the diary-style writing which made the story feel so real. It makes you think about what could happen in the future and there was a good twist towards the end which I didn’t see coming. Throughout, I was questioning what is happening? How can these things be happening to Fern and in her world? It was very different to other books I have read and I throughly enjoyed the journey.

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“If you tell a story well enough, it’s true”.

Can you imagine a world without fiction? In 2030 the government of the day bans it with the only books allowed being factual. It’s now 2035 and successful author and the first Fiction Laureate, Fern Dostoy, now known as Fern Dalrymple, is understandably struggling. She can’t write what she chooses, all fiction books have been burned in mass bonfires but she’s bubbling with creativity yet for the sake of safety she must stay below the radar. She finds an old notepad and pen, she daren’t use her laptop in case it’s monitored but she’s determined to tell the truth. How does all this come about? Why does Fern have to stay so hidden? Buckle up readers, we’re in for a bumpy ride.

Wow. I couldn’t put this dystopian fiction down as I get so caught up in Fern’s story. It is so well written and in such a manner that it really gets to you.. As you progress though and get deeper in, you appreciate that the plot has several complex and thought provoking layers that absolutely draw you in. The quality of the writing makes the storyline so convincing and it touches me, it moves me and fills me with empathy. It brings into play a host of emotions, at times it’s very scary and you feel the dread, there are some strange elements that you really question and then it all clicks into place and makes sense. It shocks, it breaks your heart and it is nightmarish. There are twists and turns and whilst I do guess one or two it in no way impairs the appreciation of this clever novel.

Overall, this is a very different and creative read and I admire what Louise Swanson has produced here.

With thanks to NetGalley and especially to Hodder and Stoughton for the much appreciated arc in return for an honest review.

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This is one future I never want to see happen, just the thought of it alone is a very bleak, unbearably sad way of life. The complete and utter ban on everything fictional. A life with no books, not even children’s books.

All are banned, with all books from before burnt to ashes, destroyed, never to be seen or read ever again.

Most of us are lucky enough to have been read to as a child, building inside us a love of stories and books that have stayed with us through to adulthood.

My Nan encouraged my love of books, reading to me on every weekend visit and even though I was young, I still remember the complete joy I would get from just sitting on her lap, or next to her at her kitchen table, listening to her tell me stories and it is a memory I will always treasure. That, and as I got older I would sneak into the living room and read the books on her shelf that I wasn’t deemed old enough for, such as James Herbert, which started my love of horror stories!
So to take that away from a child is criminal, let alone adults! Thank god this book is just fictional!

Just from reading part one of this book it had already fired me up! And I am pretty sure this book is going to hit plenty more than just me in the ‘feels’ department!

Ok, so now I have now finished all of the book after stopping at the end of part one to have my rant about a future with no fiction, and I’m pretty sure I won’t be the only one left feeling like that! And be warned, this book hits you with several powerful emotions on top of that one!

Is it to early in the year to put a book forward for ‘Book of the Year’? I have a really strong feeling this book will at the very least be a top contender! Described on Amazon as “The most original thriller you'll read this year with a twist you won't see coming”, they’ve certainly summed it up extremely well, because boy-oh-boy is the twist one you will never see coming but it will also blow you away.

It’s one of the best twists in a book I’ve truly and utterly been surprised by for a very long time!

End of Story is due to be published on the 23 Mar 2023 and it is available to preorder now from your local bookstore or from the link below

A huge thank you to the author Louise Swanson, publishers Hodder & Stoughton and NetGalley for my digital and audio advance copy of this book.

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A totally different type of book from Louise. I love Louise’s books & I loved this one too. Totally different to any other books I have read.

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Loved the writing. Loved the concept.

I love reading a book where you can’t predict the ending, and this was exactly that!

It could have gone one of many ways which kept me hooked throughout (and I had fun reading it)

The only reason I’m rating it 4 and not 5 is because I feel that the patient notes and therapy transcriptions at the end weren’t necessary. I think leaving it up to the reader could have been more impactful (although we know by this stage what is going on, we just didn’t need it over explained).

Overall a great read and I’d love to read more from this author.

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A hard book to review without giving spoilers. If I'm honest I almost gave up reading as I wondered where the story was going, I mean Fern, the narrator, is living in 2035 and a time with no books, it's unimaginable.
But this book is much more than a futuristic
dystopian novel, it's real, it's raw, the words trip off the pages and into your heart and stay with you long after the story is finished. By the end I loved it and was glad I stayed reading it.

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What if the government decided that fiction was too dangerous and banned all fiction books? That is what author Fern Dostoy faces in the year 2035. She is thrown out of her house, loses her livelihood and all her friends and is subject to spot checks of her house to make sure she is no longer reading or writing fiction. If she fails to comply with the government sanctions, she will suffer a fate worse than death. But can a writer ever really stop writing, even when the worst has happened to them?

Thank you to Louise Swanson, Hodder and Stoughton and NetGalley for an advanced copy of the audiobook.

What a clever and terrifying idea for a book. I was disturbed and intrigued in equal measures as I explored the dystopian world that Fern has to live in. As with all good books, it made me think - what would I do if I were no longer allowed to read fiction? How would my favourite authors react if they were forced to stop writing? I enjoyed speculating about which authors would resist and how. It had a big impact on me as I read. I feel like every fiction reader should read this book just as a reminder of how important fiction is important and shapes our lives and our world. Fans of dystopian reads and thrillers will love it.
I felt I lived through everything with Fern, I was even put off by milk! I was charmed and moved by the stealth bedtime stories and tense about the risks she took. I do have to admit to getting irritated when every diary entry ended mid sentence and sometimes mid word but I understand why that was necessary for the plot. The ending is clever and interesting but I preferred the main body of the book to the end. I can't say much more without massive spoilers so perhaps I should just be inspired by Fern and end my review in the middle of the senta

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Wow, what have I just read? I honestly could not put this book down, I read it in one sitting.

There is so much intrigue going on throughout this story, and you will find yourself trying to work out what is going on. Then everything you thought you knew gets blown out the water and you find out the truth eventually.

I loved this book so much.

Huge thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing a copy.

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