‘Bellman & Black’ by Diane Setterfield: Where Was It Going?

You have to agree, the summary from the publisher makes this book sound very intriguing:

As a boy, William Bellman commits one small cruel act that has unforeseen and terrible consequences. By the time he is grown, with a family of his own, he seems to be a man blessed by fortune – until tragedy strikes. Desperate to save the on previous thing he has left, William enters into a rather strange bargain, with an even stranger partner, to found a decidedly macabre business…

Bellman & Black by Diane SetterfieldBriefly: If only it were that simple. Wait, it is.

Didja Like It?: The publisher made reference to this tale as a “dark and mesmerizing ghost story.” This was yet another description that pulled me in. The writing is top-notch, the characters all developed and ready to go, but then…it stalls out and then has to be pushed to the wainwright by some decidedly unexciting action. Of course none of this really happens, but this “one small cruel act,” while indeed horrible, doesn’t, in all honestly, seem like a big enough catalyst to allow for William’s downfall. And what a downfall it is, too. He seems too nice, likable, capable, blah blah blah, for all of this ugliness to be rained down upon him. Maybe that’s the point, but I certainly didn’t buy it.

Anything Else to Mention?: Everything about this novel screams “Gothic scary times ahead!” but it is like turning the lights on inside a Haunted House…kinda boring. With so much promise, I was disappointed that there was so much set up and no lift off.

To Read or Not To Read: Read it for the potential, then tell me in the comments below if you agree or disagree with me.

Bellman & Black by Diane Setterfield was published November 5, 2013 by Atria/Emily Bestler Books. A free copy of this book was given to Ink and Page in return for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley, the Publisher and the Author.

Rating: 3

Genre: Adult Fiction Fantasy Paranormal

4 thoughts on “‘Bellman & Black’ by Diane Setterfield: Where Was It Going?”

  1. Completely agree. The writing was excellent, but I just felt like it went no where. It was completely Gothic, so maybe that is just not my thing, but I would say pass on this one anyday.

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