Thursday, October 17, 2013

Bellman & Black; Diane Setterfield

2013-Atria/Emily Bestler Books

In Bellman & Black, a foolish incident, a dare from his peers, when he was just 10 years old comes back to haunt William Bellman as an adult.  Young William killed a bird (a rook) with a stone and a slingshot like device. He knew it was wrong and he felt sick afterward, but it was.  too late to change the outcome. The deed was done and the bird was dead, but as we know, all actions have consequences.

The years passed, William grew up and became successful. Ladies found him attractive, he was blessed with good health, a wife and family he loved, and his business savvy has led him to a thriving career at his uncle's business, Bellman Mills, which he eventually takes over.  He seems to have everything going for him until things start to happen and his good fortune seems to change.  Could that unknown, haunting man in "black" who seems to appear at every funeral have something to do with William's downward spiral?  William stands to lose everything precious to him, even his beloved daughter Dora.

I began this novel knowing that many readers expected this to be a "ghost story" and felt disappointed. I found the book slow moving at times, but the author does a terrific job of drawing the reader into William's torment and misery. The writing was atmospheric, and left me anxious to find out what would happen next. I did think that there was a bit too much info about the Industrial Revolution and the family business. Despite that, like Setterfield's debut novel, The Thirteenth Tale, I enjoyed Bellman & Black -- a story that reminded me how one foolish act has the potential of ruining our lives.

Read it.

(eGalley and arc provided by Atria/Emily Bestler books)

18 comments:

  1. Read it is a pretty strong endorsement.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Well, you've certainly piqued my interest.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'd decided against reading this, but may have to reconsider...

    ReplyDelete
  4. It was an okay read but she missed so many opportunities for making it a little more suspenseful. I really wanted to know more about the daughter and her drawings but they never really turned into anything.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Glad to see you enjoyed it, as I've been seeing so many negative reviews of this one! I'm looking forward to it, but will bear in mind that it's not a ghost story.

    ReplyDelete
  6. My copy of this book is on the way. I am looking forward to it. :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Glad you enjoyed it. I might read it, haven't decided yet.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I don't think I enjoyed it as much as you did, though I did like that it wasn't a ghost story and her writing is absolutely gorgeous. I would read another book of hers for that alone!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hmmm, it doesn't sound like this one is as good as her first. I'll still give it a go soon.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I also enjoyed this - but that's because I'd been prewarned to change my expectations as I was thinking it would be a gothic ghost story.
    Lynn :D

    ReplyDelete
  11. Well, now I'm finally looking forward to this one again. I think those of us that have had a chance to read some reviews and have different expectations will enjoy it more.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Interesting and thoughtful. I have yet to read the first one, I just can't get past the first two pages, which is unusual for me since I love gothic stories and stories about books. I also like ravens, so this one has me curious. I will look at this book, I think, when it comes out in softcover. Good review, Diane, thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  13. I thought this book had great potential but didn't really feel finished.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I'm of a mixed opinion on this book; I didn't love The Thirteenth Tale as everyone else did, and I'm afraid my expectations for Bellman and Black would be too high from the reviews I've read. It's on my nook, somehow the publishers saw fit to send an ARC my way, but I wonder when I'll get to it. Halloween 2014?

    ReplyDelete
  15. I appreciate your take on this one, Diane. I was thinking maybe going into it knowing what other readers' complaints were might make this a better read, and it sounds like that may be the case. I do want to read it

    ReplyDelete
  16. I really liked The Thirteenth Tale more for Setterfield's writing than for the actual story. I'm curious about this one, but still on the fence about whether I'll read it.

    ReplyDelete
  17. My desire to read this knows no bounds.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Darn, I was hoping this was a ghost story! I'll probably give it a try anyway.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for taking the time to visit and double thanks for any comments. If you ask a question in your comments, I will try to reply to it here, or by email if your settings allow me to do so. Thank again for visiting.

(I apologize for the word verification, spammers spoil it for all sadly.)