Review: Bellman & Black by Diane Setterfield

Description (from cover):

‘From the instant #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Thirteenth Tale comes a “poetic and mysterious” (Booklist) ghost story that will haunt you to your very core.
Caught up in a moment of boyhood competition, William Bellman recklessly aims his slingshot at a rook resting on a branch, killing the bird instantly. It is a small but cruel act, and is soon forgotten. By the time he is grown, with a wife and children of his own, William seems to have put the whole incident behind him. It was as if he never killed the thing at all. But rooks don’t forget…
Years later, when a stranger mysteriously enters William’s life, his fortunes begin to turn–and the terrible and unforeseen consequences of his past indiscretion take root. In a desperate bid to save the only precious thing he has left, he enters into a rather strange bargain, with an even stranger partner. Together, they found a decidedly macabre business.
And Bellman & Black is born.’

My thoughts:

I am still trying to figure out why this book is considered to be a ghost story. There is no ghost and there isn’t a sense of the supernatural spirits anywhere in this book. I am not sure if it is a publisher’s description gone wrong or what, but I am still trying to figure out where the ghost story label comes from. This book is decidedly dark and mysterious, but still no ghost. The story begins with William Bellman as a young boy spending time with his friends one afternoon. Bellman takes a slingshot and a smooth pebble and shoots and kills a rook in a tree. Little does he know that that one small action will change the course of his life from that moment on. As the reader continues with the story, we watch Bellman grow from a young boy to a young man, to a husband and a successful business man. We follow Bellman’s story from his youth until his ripe old age. This book spans years and several decades in its story and it flowed consistently well.
I liked this book at times and at other times, I didn’t. I thought that the way that the author takes the reader from Bellman’s youth through his life was interesting and flowed together very well. There were some times where I was a little confused by the writing style. This author has a unique writing style that works for some and I am sure can confuse some readers. It is dreary and dark and yet captivating at the same time. It is really hard to explain, but at times it worked for me and then sometimes not so much. This isn’t a feel good type of book. It is one that is dark and mysterious, but deeply moving and rich at the same time. This is a story that makes you think and analyze and look at things differently. 
I haven’t yet read this author’s The Thirteenth Tale even though it has been recommended to me numerous times. I am not really quite sure what to expect with that one. Is it like this one? I know it has rave reviews and yet I am not quite sure what to think about this author and her writing style. I will say that it is definitely unique and something that I am not quite used to. This is a book that really made me think and I kind of enjoyed that at the same time. This is not your average book, but it was an enjoyable read. I read it in two days and was captivated until the very end.

Overall Rating: 3.5

Title:  Bellman & Black
Author:  Diane Setterfield
Series:  N/A
Publisher:  Atria
Publication Date:  November 5, 2013
Pages:  336
Genre:  Historical Fiction
Get It:  Amazon; Barnes & Noble

Disclaimer: This book was given to me by the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for my honest review. I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s