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Bellman & Black

Bellman & Black [Kindle Edition]

Diane Setterfield
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £14.99
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Product Description


"Fabulous" (TIMES)

"This is a ghost story and while it is dark, atmospheric and full of death, what I loved was its life and colour. Setterfield is brilliant at character and setting and can make even a woollen mill fascinating and utterly riveting. A rags -to-riches tale with a spooky twist." (Wendy Holden DAILY MAIL)

"Bellman & Black: A Ghost Story is the second book by Diane Setterfield, and what a talented writer she is. This is an extraordinary book that defies genre. Part of the beauty of it derives from the fact you're unsure whether it is a ghost story or not... The research is meticulous and yet the many facts are blended so easily into the narrative that the reader hardly notices just how much authentic information Setterfield manages to impart, a talent she shares with Hilary Mantel." (IRISH INDEPENDENT)

The Thirteenth Tale was a huge worldwide bestseller, and it has taken many years for a second novel from Diane Satterfield to be published. Was it worth the wait? Absolutely. Bellman & Black is a much finer novel: more mature, more accomplished, more wide ranging and multi-layered and much, much more than a simple ghost story. If there is any justice in the book world, it will achieve greater critical acclaim. (HISTORICAL NOVELIST SOCIETY)

"If you want an original take on the gothic novel, pick up a copy of BELLMAN AND BLACK... The prose is precise, The place comes alive on the page although this is also an abstract world, like a fairytale." (BIG ISSUE)

"A book that lingers after the last page is turned." (EDINBURGH EVENING NEWS)

Having read and loved Diane Setterfield's first novel, THE THIRTEENTH TALE, I had high expectations for BELLMAN & BLACK- expectations that Diane Setterfield more than exceeded! BELLMAN & BLACK is the sort of story that you can't put down once you start and yet you don't want it to end either... BELLMAN & BLACK is nothing short of mesmerizing! (FRESH FICTION)

This spine-tingling ghost story set in Victorian times is perfect for Halloween... Creepily compulsive. (PETERBOROUGH EVENING TELEGRAPH)

The book is full of beautifully illustrative imagery that conjure up some startling and unsettling scenes making this a perfect Halloween read... a masterpiece of storytelling. (THE SHELF)

"A subtle and unsettling tale... a good read for the darkening nights." (OXFORD MAIL)

A dark, atmospheric and unusual Victorian take... The gradual unfolding of events, the shadowy, ghostlike figure of Black and the discovery of Bellman's destiny all rendered this an intriguing, mysterious and compulsive read. (THE LITTLE READER LIBRARY)

Deftly written with gorgeous language and phrasing, Diane Setterfield's newest novel, Bellman & Black, is sure to resonate with readers... Setterfield is a powerful storyteller who leads readers with a light hand to thoughts and feelings... Bellman & Black is not to be missed. (THE HIDING SPOT)

She's [Setterfield] come through with a corker, a second book arguably better than her first... If you loved her first book you should consider pre-ordering - or putting on hold at the library - Bellman & Black. Did this book take so long because she was going over it with a fine-toothed comb? Certainly seems like it. And it was worth the wait.

You will love it. YOU WILL. Easily one of the best books I've read this year.


Book Description

A haunting Victorian ghost story of love, loss and the mystery of death from the bestselling author of THE THIRTEENTH TALE.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1092 KB
  • Print Length: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Orion (10 Oct 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00DO1Q6IC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #55,937 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
By Roman Clodia TOP 50 REVIEWER
Despite the cover blurb, this is only very loosely a ghost story. Part moral fable, part Victorian novel (but Arnold Bennett rather than the more prominent Victorians), this follows William Bellman from a carelessly cruel youthful act, to his rise to business prominence and his destined fate.

This is nicely written, with chapter ends which ensure we don't lose sight of where this story is going. It is slow and meandering, though, rather than gripping and compulsive, and the characters are there to fulfil their plot destinies rather than to live as personalities.

So this is an enjoyable read but there's little tension in the plot and we're never in any doubt what's going to happen in the end. Good as a well-constructed moral melodrama, but not one to keep me up all night reading.

(This review is from an ARC courtesy of the publisher)
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
By bookworm VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is the lot of William Bellman. A man so driven by ambition and success that he is oblivious to much that goes on around him unless it involves his business projects.

The story begins when he is 10 and out playing with his friends when he catapults a young rook to death in a field. He is extremely surprised as he thought the rook would move before the stone hits, and he is upset at his actions, but with the passage of time all is forgotten and Will moves on with his life. He joins the family Mill business which he takes to like a duck to water and is soon running the company with great success. He marries a women he loves, has several children and is a happy and popular man - until one by one those he loves start dying - except his eldest daughter. At the point where he is at his lowest ebb, he transforms his life by building a Mourning Emporium in fashionable Regent Street after the thought is planted in his mind by the mysterious Mr Black who nicely floats in and out of the story. As you would expect, the Emporium is a great success as there is no other shop like it and Will's stab at a second chance of happiness looks to be positive. Will hardly pauses to reflect on his life and mourn his loved ones but it is not long before his life takes another unexpected turn as he realises there is still a debt to be repaid.

Although there are many characters in the book they are mostly bit part players propping up Will's story - which sits well with me as he is the driving force off which the characters (and reader) feeds. This is not so much a supernatural/ghost story, rather a very effective story of unease with Faustian undertones, interspersed with rook folklore that didn't detract from the plot.

I found it an extraordinarily good read, well written and I will now have to read her previous book, The Thirteenth Tale.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bellman & Black 3 Dec 2013
By Keen Reader TOP 100 REVIEWER
In an unspecified year, but around the early 1800s, Will Bellman, ten years and four days old, and his friends Luke, Charles and Fred test Will's catapult on a rook sitting on a branch an unreachable distance away. But Will's stone does hit the rook, and the memory of that moment is hidden away by Will in his fear and youth. But what happens if Will doesn't mourn? Years later, William Bellman is a successful businessman, running Bellman's Mill. How he got there fills the first half of this book, and the second half is what happens when his life seems to find new paths.

This is a wonderful, insightful and thoughtful book of Victorian manners and mannerisms; humanity and human-ness; life and death; love and loss. William Bellman is a man that it may be hard to feel much empathy towards, but that's the point I think of the story. He made his life, and he lived his life the way he thought he was supposed to. And what others made of him doing so was never something that concerned him. But perhaps it should have.

Wonderful; lyrical, beautifully written, a touching and charming story with a haunting aftertaste. Definitely thoroughly recommended, this book kept me gripped from the first to the last page.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fab story couldn't put it down , 10 Jan 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Great book, original story, creepy and gripping. Thoroughly enjoyed reading this , touching whilst not being sentimental with excellent descriptive language.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A true wordsmith 10 Jan 2014
Some people seem to be making indignant comparisons between Diane Setterfield's first novel, 'The Thirteenth Tale', and her latest, 'Bellman and Black'. They are very different books, and authors are allowed to write different books.

However, what both books have in common is a distinctive and compelling narrative voice that skilfully conjures up a sense of place and a timeless and mystical atmosphere. If you were fortunate enough to see the wonderful BBC drama adaptation of her book, 'The Thirteenth Tale' (starring Vanessa Redgrave and Olivia Coleman), you will have some idea of the deliciously haunting mood she so deftly creates in her writing.

Diane Setterfield's prose writing is exceptional. 'Bellman and Black' transports us to another era through all the senses, and it evokes the universal mysteries of nature set against human nature.

I don't want to give away the story, but the name, she tells us, for a collection of rooks is a 'storytelling of rooks'. To read 'Bellman and Black' you will need to make yourself a cup of cocoa and relax in front of a log fire. Actually, you will need several cups of cocoa and a supply of logs. Settle down and enjoy the arresting power of a true wordsmith.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Ghost story?
Not as compelling as "The Thirteenth Tale" but still a good page turner. The author has a fine instinct for the quirky and ambiguous. Read more
Published 27 days ago by Susan A. Harris, Prints
3.0 out of 5 stars read
A very sophisticated story, but I didn't enjoy it as much as The Thirteenth tale. Perhaps I am missing something, but I didn't get where the "ghost" element came in.
Published 1 month ago by Angus Dunlop
5.0 out of 5 stars Black has never been so colourful
Is it a ghost story? It's hard to shoehorn Diane Setterfield's novel Bellman and Black into any particular genre, which is no bad thing. It's dark and gothic and gripping. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Bibliobeck
5.0 out of 5 stars Spooky gothic suspense
At the age of ten, William Bellman makes a perfect shot with a catapult. His target, a rook, falls to the ground. As an adult, William Bellman seems to live a charmed life. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Macey89
4.0 out of 5 stars Another brilliant story from the pen of Diane Setterfield
A very different story to "The Thirteenth Tale" but equally inventive. I probably guessed what was happening about half way through "Bellman and Black", which I... Read more
Published 3 months ago by GillianEliza
3.0 out of 5 stars Death and taxes...
This book was well written but lacked sparkle in terms of the subject matter being very lacklustre. The book is about the significance of rooks in folklore and mythology married to... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Dr. Babus Ahmed
4.0 out of 5 stars Good.
I enjoyed this.I wouldn't class it as an outstanding read ,but it is definitely worth a look. The ending is no great surprise but is rather touching.
Published 3 months ago by sulkycat
5.0 out of 5 stars Bellman and Black is a ghostly surreal read
I was intrigued from the word go, and enjoyed the build-up to the end, although it was a bit predictable. Very well written though, with great descriptive prose. Read more
Published 3 months ago by glo
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb book!
Diane Setterfield writes very unusual but fascinating books.The story starts with a setting which could have come from a Nordic fable. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Mary Wuelfing
5.0 out of 5 stars A thrilling and original novel.
I really enjoyed this book! I love Setterfield's writing and had been looking forward for years to her second novel. I truly was not disappointed. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Ann Legg
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