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Bellman & Black by Diane Setterfield

>> Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Bellman & Black by Diane Setterfield

Bellman & Black by Diane Setterfield

Genre: Gothic Fiction
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 302
Source: e-galley provided by publisher

The Short Version:
A Gothic tale of a man who makes a deal with a mysterious stranger.

Why I Read It:
I liked the author’s first book and had high hopes for another well written Gothic story.

The Book:
From the publisher:

One moment in time can haunt you forever

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.

My Thoughts:
I had such high hopes for this book and ended up feeling less than enthralled with it.

Setterfield writes beautifully and the imagery and poetry of the words is wonderful. I could easily visualize and even hear the scenes as I read them. She can create a environment for a story that is at times beautiful and at others dark and mysterious.

Unfortunately the story that took place in this setting and imagery failed to capture me. The first part felt like a long buildup to whatever the fallout from William’s childhood act of cruelty would turn out to be. I read the entire second half waiting for something to actually happen.

While I think Setterfield has a wonderful way of writing but this one became tedious and never really explained why the killing of the bird resulted in the events that happened later.

I hope the author’s next book is a return to the level of storytelling she had in her first.

2 stars Rating 2/5


Eleanor 1/21/2014 7:20 AM  

I'm glad to see this. Sorry it disappointed, but judging by it lack of take-off around here I'm sure you were not alone.

SuziQoregon 1/21/2014 9:17 PM  

El: yeah - definite sophomore slump

Kailana 1/22/2014 10:59 AM  

That is really too bad this didn't work better for people. :(

Les 1/27/2014 5:38 AM  

How disappointing, although I'm in the minority--I didn't really like The Thirteenth Tale nearly as much as other readers.

SuziQoregon 1/28/2014 9:22 PM  

Kailana: yeah - just can't recommend it.

Les: Oh then you should definitely skip this one.

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