Monday, January 13, 2014

Book Review: Bellman And Black

Author: Diane Setterfield
Title: Bellman & Black
Publisher: Atria Books
Publish Date: Nov 5, 2013
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: Net Galley
Book Blurb: 
Bellman & Black is a heart-thumpingly perfect ghost story, beautifully and irresistibly written, its ratcheting tension exquisitely calibrated line by line. Its hero is 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"

Review: It says in the blurb that this is a ghost story, but I see no signs of anything that is really ghostly. I see a story that's a bit macabre, but nope, no ghosts here.

Did that bug me?

Yes it did.

I wanted something creepy and what I got was a story of a man who really overcame odds and built many successful business ventures, but who also has had bad things happen to him that change his life.  And it all started with a rock thrown at a rook. (That's a case you were thinking he got pissed off while playing chess)

This book is neither good nor bad, but unfortunately it isn't what most readers are expecting when they start turning the pages, and that is a big turn off.

The story is well written and engaging and the little tidbits about rooks are very interesting.

I liked William Bellman, even as his losses started to really affect his mind. (He really can't deal with the death of anyone close to him...but in a way, he is obsessed with death...hence the business he creates)

But the most interesting character is Black, because you don't really know what he is until the end of the book

So, it was a good read, just not what I was expecting, which made it disappointing, but the closet goth girl in me can't help but be amused by a guy that builds and empire on items for mourning.

Rating: 3 flowers


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