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.
Bellman & Black: A Ghost Story by Diane Setterfield
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I received a copy of this book via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
I love a good ghost story, so I was looking forward to reading this book. I loved it!
William Bellman is a fantastic character. He has an incredible mind (a genius in my opinion), that fascinated me. I liked this charismatic man very much. However, I wish that he wasn't such a workaholic!
This book is set in Victorian times, which was extremely interesting to me; I'm fascinated by how industrious and inventive they were. It follows the life of William Bellman; from his childhood and through adulthood. What intrigued me was the intricate detail the author went into to bring this story to life. The descriptions of the wool mill, the practices and the characters (including William) that worked there, from the young boys to the crotchety old dye hand were obviously very well researched. I found myself completely enthralled with the village and the hustle and bustle of daily life. As William gets older, tragedy strikes and he meets the mysterious Mr. Black. Thus begins a new chapter of William's new life, a business venture called Bellman & Black.
This is a book that I couldn't put down! I was completely fascinated by William, but I also wanted to give him a swift shake (or kick, depending on my mood!), to snap him out of his tunnel vision. Unfortunately, whether by circumstance or fate, his workaholic tendencies made him blind to other aspects of his life. I felt he never grieved properly for his family, and sorely neglected his daughter. However, this made him extremely human, rather than just a character in a book. The mysterious Mr. Black is an enigma and never really involved in the story, but the intrigue of his appearance and disappearance in William's life, gives the story a suspenseful twist. Rooks, ravens and crows figure a lot in this story, and each chapter ends with a tit bit of information about these birds. I found this most interesting and informative.
Diane Setterfield has written an intriguing story that I thoroughly enjoyed. However, although this book is meant to be a ghost story, I didn't find it very ghostly. I did find it to be a fascinating and suspenseful read, and would probably read another book by this author in the future.
I highly recommend this book if you love suspense or thriller genres. - Lynn Worton
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