When I was given the opportunity to review the new book from Diane Setterfield entitled Bellman and Black, I instantly jumped at the opportunity. Seriously. I read the e-mail and immediately responded, “YES! YES! YES!” I wanted this book for one reason and one reason only. Diane Setterfield’s previous novel, The Thirteenth Tale is one of my favorite books…ever. It’s dark and beautifully written with a lovely storyline. I’ve share it with people everywhere. It’s my “go-to” book when someone’s looking for a recommendation. So, obviously, I was interested in reading her follow up novel as well.
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.
And Bellman & Black is born.
Mysterious, no? This little blurb had me instantly intrigued and I tore through this book like it was going to disappear if I didn’t read it quickly enough. As anyone who’s read Diane Setterfield before will know, her greatest strength is her amazing way with words. It’s not at all difficult for the reader to visualize all that goes on in the story. Just as beautifully written as The Thirteenth Tale, the reader will instantly pulled in to this story. The only down side……..I didn’t care for this story itself nearly as much as I did The Thirteenth Tale.
It wasn’t bad, it was still a good read, but I just couldn’t get enraptured in the story. I felt that while I read pages and pages about the characters in the book, I really didn’t know them or feel a real connection with them. Mr. Black himself doesn’t make an appearance until the middle of the book, and when he makes his return, who/what he actually is was a bit unclear to me. I have several theories, but can’t be sure which one, if any, are correct. So, while I enjoyed this book, I can’t say that it will be making it onto my favorite books of all time list…thankfully, I still have The Thirteenth Tale.