Bellman & Black: Book summary and reviews of Bellman & Black by Diane Setterfield

Bellman & Black

by Diane Setterfield

Bellman & Black
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  • Published in USA  Nov 2013
    224 pages
    Genre: Thrillers

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Book Summary

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Thirteenth Tale comes a dark and mesmerizing ghost story guaranteed to haunt you to your very core.

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. 

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"A gothic tale in which moments of tedium are relieved by morbidity." - Kirkus

"Poetic and mysterious." - Booklist

The information about Bellman & Black shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Reader Reviews

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Joyce W. (Rochester, MN)

A Ghost story
Diane is a beautiful writer. Her books are mesmerizing, her words flow. There is so much to think about when you finish her books. I wish she would write more and faster. As you read, it is fascinating to watch everything unfold. Bellman and Black would make a very good book club book; you want to discuss and share ideas when you finish the book. She knows how to write a thought provoking read.

Betty T.

Bellman & Black
First I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed the book. It held my attention and taught me quite a bit about the businesses that Mr. Bellman threw himself so completely into. It is beautifully written. However, there were a few flaws (dare I use that term?) that held me back from giving it five stars.

If you are a fan of Edgar Allan Poe I suspect you may enjoy this book as much as I did. It has a hint of darkness -- not a raven, but a rook (same family, I believe). But overall "Bellman and Black" seemed to be more a novella than a novel (although a bit long for a novella).

A novel generally has a main plot with several subplots going on at the same time to add complexity; a novella is not as complex. "Bellman and Black basically has one story throughout the entire book. Only one character is thoroughly developed in "Bellman and Black". With only one character developed this lends to only one point of view. There is a lot of detail regarding the work that Bellman oversees. I suspect that will bore quite a few people. I actually found those parts very interesting.

The full title of this book is actually "Bellman and Black: A Ghost Story". I'm not sure why it is called a ghost story. Yes, like Poe's stories there is a dark side but I would not put it in the category of ghost stories. Yet, even with all my negative criticisms, I did enjoy it very much.

Jonna

A Ghost story...may be not
"Bellman and Black" by Diane Setterfield author of "The Thirteenth Tale" has provide us with another great read. A ghost story not what I thought.
I did find the story gripping from the start. The pages kept turning until I was finished.

The descriptive writing made me feel that I was right there in the time period. Historical fiction giving light to the lives and business of milling cloth. You felt the pride of the townspeople, their grief and rebuilding of lives. The use of the Rook throughout the story was intriguing as well as informational. Loved the Rook point of view.

Did not read it as a ghost story and did not find it as a ghost story...was disappointed that it was called "a ghost story".

Lorraine R. (Southampton, NY)

Bellman and Black
Diane Setterfield has written another darkly Gothic novel in which the protagonist, William Bellman enters into a partnership with a phantom stranger, Black. The set of circumstances he encounters are haunted by a childhood game in which he kills a rook. The author weaves the symbolism of the rook into the tale of Bellman's fortunes and misfortunes. A fascinating story.

Dianne S. (Green Valley, AZ)

Where's the Ghost?
The title Bellman and Black, A Ghost Store lead me to anticipate...a ghost. Anticipate I did! The writing in this book was beautiful and I was able to breeze along and connect with the characters and waited for the the ending to expose the ghost. Perhaps I missed something. The end confused me and left me thinking, well maybe Black is the ghost of the raven or maybe the ghost of the memories that Bellman seemed able to get past and get on with his life. I just don't know. I still loved the writing though and perhaps with a second read or a good book club discussion would shed some light on it for me.

Sarah B. (Streamwood, IL)

Beautifully written
This is a beautifully written book. It falls into the rare occasion I wish I was allowed to give half stars. The story was somewhat predictable to me, but I was sucked in because of the writing. The book did make me think, about death and the rituals we follow. I wish I had friends that had read this already to discuss it with.

...12 more reader reviews

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Author Information

Diane Setterfield Author Biography

Diane Setterfield is a British author. Her bestselling novel, The Thirteenth Tale (2006) was published in 38 countries worldwide and has sold more than three million copies. It was number one in the New York Times hardback fiction list for three weeks and is enjoyed as much for being 'a love letter to reading' as for its mystery and style. Her second novel is Bellman & Black (2013).

Born in Englefield, Berkshire in 1964, Setterfield spent most of her childhood in the nearby village of Theale. After schooldays at Theale Green, Setterfield studied French Literature at the University of Bristol. Her PhD was on autobiographical structures in André Gide's early fiction. She taught English at the Institut Universitaire de Technologie and the Ecole nationale supérieure ...

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Name Pronunciation
Diane Setterfield: die-ann seter-field

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