Review: Bellman & Black – by Diane Setterfield

JLI5187396.1396872049.580x580Synopsis: As a boy, William Bellman commits one small cruel act that appears to have unforeseen and terrible consequences. The killing of a rook with his catapult is soon forgotten amidst the riot of boyhood games. And by the time he is grown, with a wife and children of his own, he seems indeed, to be a man blessed by fortune.

Until tragedy strikes, and the stranger in black comes, and William Bellman starts to wonder if all his happiness is about to be eclipsed. Desperate to save the one precious thing he has left, he enters into a bargain. A rather strange bargain, with an even stranger partner, to found a decidedly macabre business.

And Bellman & Black is born.

Title: Bellman & Black
Author: Diane Setterfield
Pub Date: 25th September 2014
Publisher: Orion
Pages: 416
ISBN: 9781409128069

I was provided a review copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 2stars

I really wanted to like this story; in fact, I wanted to love it. The premise is incredible – I read the synopsis and immediately requested it on NetGalley, whilst crossing all my fingers and toes that I’d get approved.

Once I started reading, however, everything started to fall short. The writing is beautiful, you can tell you’re dealing with an author who can write extraordinarily well (as was apparently proven in The Thirteenth Tale). However, it lacked passion. Suspense. It is an empty shelf of a book – all talk and no real, gritty action.

Bellman & Black is, in my opinion is not a ghost story in any sense. It follows the concept that a seemingly innocent and small action can have consequences that follow you for the rest of your life. At most, you could say there is a gothic tone and a historical feel. Any ghostly plot lines are grossly underworked.

Overall, if you want something to while away the hours and are not looking for a ghost story; Bellman & Black will do, I guess. I will still give The Thirteenth Tale a go, however – it is apparently the same great writing but with some actual substance.

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