'I am simply a 'book drunkard.' Books have the same irresistible temptation for me that liquor has for its devotee. I cannot withstand them.' L.M. Montgomery

'There are no faster or firmer friendships than those formed between people who love the same books.' Irving Stone

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Bellman and Black by Diane Setterfield

Hardcover, 336 pages
Expected publication: November 5th 2013 by Atria/Emily Bestler Books

My Source: Netgalley

As a boy, William Bellman commits one small, cruel act: killing a bird with his slingshot. Little does he know the unforeseen and terrible consequences of the deed, which is soon forgotten amidst the riot of boyhood games. By the time he is grown, with a wife and children of his own, William seems to be a man blessed by fortune—until tragedy strikes and the stranger in black comes. Then he starts to wonder if all his happiness is about to be eclipsed. Desperate to save the one precious thing he has left, William enters into a rather strange bargain, with an even stranger partner, to found a decidedly macabre business.

And Bellman & Black is born.

I have not read Ms. Setterfield's first book, The Thirteenth Tale. Having read so many good reviews for that book, I jumped right on this one. I'm sorry to say I was very disappointed. This book is fairly long at 336 pages and I had to force myself to finish it.  

This is a story of a man with a perfect life. And then he begins losing the things that were the most important to him thru death. He becomes obsessed with order, lists, numbers and success. But mostly with death.

The writing is eloquent and flows nicely. I liked the people in the story. But there just was no 'action'. Long, detailed descriptions of how a family mill is operated and then the same with a new 'macabre' business William sets up. I kept waiting and waiting for it to 'dive' into some action, but it never came. 

I never quite got the connection with the opening incident with the rook and the rest of William's life. Some how the author just doesn't articulate that well through-out the story, I thought. The book left me feeling I had wasted my time pushing through. I thought if I soldiered on it would all come together for me at the end but it didn't.

If your looking for a ghost story, this just isn't it, in my opinion. I didn't get the sense of a ghost story or atmosphere of one at all.

I hate having to write a negative report but that's my honest opinion. You might love it. Here is a link to one positive report I found.

This report is linked to R.I.P VIII over @ Carl's Stainless Steel Droppings

Peggy Ann


  1. THANK YOU for your honest review.

    I was looking forward to reading this book. Sorry to hear it didn't meet your expectations. I loved THE THIRTEENTH TALE.

    I will check out the positive review as well.

    It is good we all have differing opinions because it would be pretty boring if we all thought the same way. :)

    THANKS again.

    Silver's Reviews
    My Blog

  2. The storyline sounds good, but it sounds as if the writer isn't up to the task. Maybe she has more ideas than talent?

    1. I was intrigued by the storyline, Kelly, but just did live up to it.

  3. I didn't like her previous book so I won't be reading this one either. I know I'm in the minority on THE THIRTEENTH TALE, but I never got past the first chapter or so. Thanks for the honest review, Peggy Ann.

  4. Like you I was disappointed in Bellman & Black. There just wasn't enough mystery or things to "solve" as I read. Her writing is very good.. I just wasn't "one with the story" I guess and I was bored also

    1. Most of the reviews I've read say the same thing, DesLily. Thanks for stopping by!

  5. This is such a shame as I loved her previous novel! I've still got this waiting to be read and I will read it but it doesn't sound like it's going to live up to the first book.
    Lynn :D

    1. You may love it Lynn. I hope you do. She does have a beautiful writing style.

  6. I love 13th Tale, and plan to try it but the reviews have been mixed for sure.

  7. I enjoyed The Thirteenth Tale earlier this year, but have yet to see a really positive review for this book from any of the bloggers I follow.


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