Friday, November 15, 2013

Friday Reads: ARC Review of Bellman And Black by Diane Setterfield!

Next on this week's edition of Friday Reads is an ARC review that is part of my NetGalley November challenge!

Bellman & Black: A Ghost StoryBellman & Black: A Ghost Story by Diane Setterfield

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was extremely lucky to get an eARC of this book via NetGalley and even more since I was invited to get it via e-mail, since I had no idea Diane Setterfield had another book coming out!

Bellman & Black is a rather different book from The Thirteenth Tale but it had a very similar feel to it for me, it felt like it could have been a contemporary for gothic novels like those by Poe et al as much as The Thirteenth Tale could have been a Brontë novel. The atmosphere of the novel as a whole added to the fact that the action was placed in Victorian times makes it feel like one of the classic pieces instead of a novel written recently.

If I had to give it an alternative title it could very well be called "Of Rook and Men" because rooks have such an integral part in this book! You can argue this is the life story of William Bellman and you would be right, but are you sure? Because maybe that's what you as a human expect, but what if it wasn't? Cryptic much? Well, it's just part of the feeling that I got upon finishing the book.

William Bellman's story starts when he was a boy and one fateful day he killed a rook with his catapult. He really didn't mean to and he wasn't sure he could, but he did. He was so horrified that he went home and tried to erase it from his mind as soon as he could. We follow him growing up, working hard and getting successful, but absolutely failing at dealing with death. He seems to shut down and refuse to grief or even think of the losses, so he simply throws himself into his work. And he is a very successful man all his life, all his endeavours prosper greatly but is he happy? Does he even stop to think about it?

Every chapter about Bellman's life is punctuated with some rook lore that I found quite fascinating and although I kept wondering sometimes what the connection would be in the end. The story is not scary per se, not at first sight. But once you think about it once read and left some time to reflect on it, well is quite damned scary what we do with out lives sometimes.

You might be wondering who is Black? And I'd have to say that the answer is too complicated and too spoilery to have it here, and besides... you will want to read and draw your own conclusions about it!

A great read, disquieting and creepy on occasion, that will make you reflect on human nature and how we face the darker sides of life and ourselves, a reflection on success and happiness and a wonderful collection of rook lore. In short, a proper Gothic novel and very much deserving of 4 stars.

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  1. Sounds like an interesting book :D Glad you enjoyed it. <3 great review :)

  2. I love that you read The Thirteenth Tale! I'm a big fan of that book and it hasn't gotten the attention it deserves I find. I was weary of this one though the reviews seem to have been mixed at first but lately I've been seeing a lot f positive reviews so that makes me happy. It sounds amazing and right up my alley with the mystery, the atmosphere and her writing that I already know I love! I can't wait to find out who Black is!!

    1. I loved The Thirteenth Tale! I found it a few years ago browsing in a bookstore and I hadn't heard about it before. And it was such a discovery!! I keep on recommending to everyone!
      This one is different from Tale but a very cool book too! I can't wait to read your review for it!

  3. Sounds like a haunting read Pili! I'll have to pick it up soon, I'm really intrigued from your review.

    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence

    1. Thanks Jeann! I really hope you'll like it if you do pick it up!


¡Muchas gracias por vuestros comentarios, leerlos me alegra el día!/ Thanks a lot for all your comments, reading them brightens my day!!