Bellman & Black by Diane Setterfield Book Review

Bellman & BlackTitle:  Bellman & Black
Author:  Diane Setterfield
Publisher:  Atria/Emily Bestler Books
Release Date:  November 5, 2013
Pages:  336

About the Book

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.

Tracee’s Review

I can’t tell you how thrilled I was when I saw that Diane Setterfield had a new novel out. After reading The Thirteenth Tale years ago, it is a book I continue to recommend to people to this day. I remember the writing to be compelling and the story to flow and build to a crescendo that left me wanting more. I am sad to say that Bellman & Black did not deliver the same feeling.
The author surely knows how to weave words together to make the story flow. My issue with this book was the overall feel. I actually almost considered stopping because the story is so slow. And, it honestly never really grabbed me enough to make me feel like it was redeeming itself in any way. Nothing really ‘exciting’ happens until almost halfway through the book when the fever strikes the town. William Bellman has tragedy strike him, probably worse than anyone else in town. But even that seems drawn out and not very exciting. I thought, ok, here we go. And, I thought wrong. Even after the mysterious man in black, who Bellman sees at all the funerals he attends, is truly introduced, I still felt the story lagging.
I am interested to see what others feel about this book, and think maybe I should pick up The Thirteenth Tale again and see if I feel the same way today. The writing is good, even though the story is slow. If not for that, this rating would have been way less.