Review: Bellman & Black, Diane Setterfield

*Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book on Netgalley from the publisher in return for an honest review*
Bellman and Black, Diane Setterfield
This book is about William Bellman, who, as a boy of 11, killed a shiny black rook with a catapult, and who grew up to be someone, his neighbours think, who "could go to the good or the bad." And indeed, although William Bellman's life at first seems blessed—he has a happy marriage to a beautiful woman, becomes father to a brood of bright, strong children, and thrives in business—one by one, people around him die. And at each funeral, he is startled to see a strange man in black, smiling at him. At first, the dead are distant relatives, but eventually his own children die, and then his wife, leaving behind only one child, his favourite, Dora. Unhinged by grief, William gets drunk and stumbles to his wife's fresh grave—and who should be there waiting, but the smiling stranger in black. The stranger has a proposition for William—a mysterious business called "Bellman & Black" . .

Before writing, Setterfield studied French Literature at Bristol University and specialized in 20th century French literature, particularly the works of Andre Gide. She taught at numerous schools as well as privately before leaving academia in the late 90s. She lives in North Yorkshire, England with her husband and four cats,

I think this is one of my most anticipated books ever. I loved Setterfields "The Tirteenth Tale" and it took ages for this new book to be published. One thing is for sure, Setterfield has a captivating writing style. I love her choice of words. Still Bellman and Black did not manage to impress me at all. In all honesty I got bored at some point. William is an interesting character with a lot of potential but at some point I totally lost all contact with him. His life feels as if there are bullet points that are marking important things and there are some pages in between to feed the reader the minimum of extra emotion. Jumping from one bullet point to the other it is not only William Bellman losing control over his own time line.
The other important character is a rook. Surrounded by a lot of myths the rook is an obvious choice for a ghost book and that development was predictable. I never experienced the dark feeling coming along with the rook and it's mythical meaning.

Bellman and Black
Author: Diane Setterfield
Publisher: Atria/Emily Bestler Books
Pages: 328
Format: eGalley
ISBN-10: 147671195X
ISBN-13: 9781476711959
Publisher: eBook | Hardcover | AudioBook
Bellman and Black

2 stars

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Monika
AUTHOR
24 November, 2013 delete

Awwww it's especially disappointing when you were really looking forward to the book and it didn't live up to your expectations. So sorry to hear that!

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leeswammes
AUTHOR
24 November, 2013 delete

I passed on this one. Soundsnlike that was a goodmidea. What a pity you didn't really like it!

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24 November, 2013 delete

I've heard mixed reviews on this one. . . as a whole, I think I'm going to skip it.

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Melinda
AUTHOR
25 November, 2013 delete

I felt the same when I read the book. I've also seen many reviews, just like yours, who didn't like it. Only one positive review. I still like Setterfield, The Thirteenth Tale is a favourite of mine, but this one didn't live up to the "ghost" story.

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26 November, 2013 delete

Oh yeah. This one fell flat for me. Like... Pancake flat. I was so bummed out, because The Thirteenth Tale was so so so good. Sigh.

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