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Bellman & Black

by Diane Setterfield

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

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There are currently 18 reader reviews for Bellman & Black
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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.
Power Reviewer 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.
Kathrin C.

Great Cover, But . . .
I was so looking forward to reading Setterfield's second novel, a long time in coming. But I'm sad to say it did not, for me, create that totally wonderful envelopment that happened when I read her first novel. The eerie foretelling of William Bellman's daunting future in the prologue grabbed me right off, but as I read on, and on, that grip steadily loosened its hold. I still respect Setterfield as a fine writer and one able to create strong atmospheric historical settings. And I found her "&" interludes on rooks sprinkled throughout the book delightful. But I never could forge a connection to Will Bellman and I confess I forced myself to finish her second book.

I still grant it 3 stars - for the writing, the gothic atmosphere and historical color. And I still have a niggling feeling that perhaps I overlooked the real core of this novel and maybe I will read it again.
Carol S. (Pawleys Island, SC)

No mystery here
I have to say that I loved "Thirteenth Tale" but only liked this book.
Setterfield's writing is excellent and I enjoyed the first half of the novel. The rest of the book dragged for me. I found it rather contrived that William Bellman should pay such a steep price for the incident from his childhood. The punishment doesn't fit the crime.
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