Thursday, November 14, 2013

Bellman & Black by Diane Setterfield



A rook was the beginning and the end for William Bellman.

Black was the color of the day for this book along with rooks, who according to the author never forget.

BELLMAN & BLACK was an unusual read with the premise of death, darkness, black birds (rooks), the color black, and black events...namely funerals and mourning goods.

William Bellman inherited a cloth mill and made it very successful, but when a deathly illness plagued and overran his town, he had another business in mind partnering with the mysterious man in a black cloak.

Who was the cloaked man who took all the light away at Will's mother's funeral?  Why was this man always around when there was a funeral?

Was this cloaked man and all the deaths in Will's family the result of Will's killing a rook when he was ten? Was this man with the black cloak Bellman's inspiration, success, or his downfall? Why were these rooks always hanging around?

BELLMAN & BLACK is a bit dark, but it still held my interest.  Ms. Setterfield has a way with words and dark themes, but despite holding my interest, BELLMAN & BLACK was a bit dragged out hearing about William's life and then his new-found wealth.  

I didn't seem to find the "ghost" in this ghost story until the very end.  The "ghost" was a subtle theme even though it was to be the main theme.  You will enjoy the wrapup in the ending pages....they were very unique.

Ms. Setterfield definitely did her research when it came to rooks.  The different names that a collection of rooks can be called
was quite interesting.

I am going to rate BELLMAN & BLACK a 3.5/5 even though Ms. Setterfield does draw you in with her excellent writing skills, her fantastic descriptions of scenes, her brilliance, and
her amazing creativity because something just seemed to be off the mark a bit in this novel.

If you like dark themes, and you don't mind being told every detail of someone's life, you will enjoy this book.  So please don't let me "frighten" you away from reading BELLMAN & BLACK.

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.


Diane Setterfield became a literary cause célèbre when her first novel, The Thirteenth Tale, soared to the #1 spot on The New York Times bestseller list within its first week of publication. 

A haunting gothic mystery, the Washington Post summed up the novel’s appeal succinctly in the first sentence of its review: 

“If you are a Reader with a capital R, as is the narrator of Diane Setterfield’s debut novel, the pages of The Thirteenth Tale will remind you of what you know and love: the world of books.“   

Released to tremendous acclaim, the novel was called “a page turner in every sense of the word” (The Financial Times); “…eerie and fascinating and should delight lovers of books old and new” (USA Today); “a novel for book lovers” (Reader’s Digest); and People Magazine lauded: “Readers will feel the magnetic pull of this paean to words, books and the magical power of story.“



Now, seven years after her bold debut, Emily Bestler Books will publish BELLMAN & BLACK the much anticipated second novel by Diane Setterfield.  

“I have heard it said, by those that cannot possibly know, that in the final moments of a man’s existence he sees his whole life pass before his eyes.”  So begins a dark and mesmerizing tale guaranteed to haunt you to your very core… 


  1. Give it a try if you like dark, mysterious, subtle themes.

  2. I felt very similar about Bellman and Black, particularly when it came to William's new found wealth. Nice review on this "ghost" story.

  3. Thanks for stopping, Whitney.

    I am looking forward to what others are thinking too.

  4. Top notch 5/5...makes me want to get into the mourning business.

  5. Top notch 5/5...makes me want to get into the mourning business.

  6. You are too funny, Mark Petrovich.

    THANKS for stopping.

    I know you loved this book...glad I could give you a reminder.

  7. When I listed this in my Mailbox Monday, it got very mixed responses. I'm curious as to where I'll fall.

  8. It wasn't bad, but it dragged on a bit.

    It is very gothic and dark.

  9. I enjoyed reading your review. I've been curious about this book.

  10. THANKS, Pat.

    Are you going to read Bellman & Black?