20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
"Encourage a man to think he is lucky, all the better to bring him down afterwards",
This review is from: Bellman & Black (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (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.