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[Ebook] ♹ Bellman & Black: A Ghost Story ♨

2.5 stars Bellman and Black is the long awaited novel from Diane Setterfield and like others I could not wait to get my hands on this gothic story.I love the title of this novel and the cover as it gives a mysterious quality to the book before the reader even begins the story.As a child William Bellman while out playing with his friends commits one small cruel act killing a bird with his slingshot Little does he know that this action will bring on consequences in his adult life that he will have little control over or will he William grows up and through hard work makes a fortune and becomes someone with power but when rock bottom hits in his personal life he enters into a rather strange bargain, with an even stranger partnerand Bellman Black is born The story is interesting and the characters of Bellman and Black hold the reader s fascination throughout the story However the plot is thin and the story has very little other interesting characters and I found myself wishing there was a strong or even an interesting female character in the story There are female characters but they are not well fleshed out The story is dark and a little eerie but not enough to scare or make this book memorable.I found it difficult to place this story in a time frame as there is very little reference to dates or actual happenings and I found myself constantly trying to tie the story to a year I like background information in a story as I really think it enhances the plot although I am sure the author has her reasons for the way this story is told.Having loved Setterfield s I was expecting a story as intriguing that would leave me with the same satisfied feeling on finishing the novel but I am afraid this was not the case with this book.An ok read and easy read but not riveting for me My thanks to Netgalley for giving me the opportunity to read an advance copy of this book. The Thirteenth Tale, Diane Setterfield s first novel, was released in 2006 and was, in my opinion, fantastic In the following years, as I do with all newly discovered favourite authors, I kept a close eye out for any news regarding upcoming novels Every few months, I would hopefully Google Diane Setterfield 2nd novel and little would come up And so, I ve had 7 years 7 years Not as bad as Donna Tartt s every 10 years record, and on par with Marisha Pessl, but still to anticipate and hype up Setterfield s 2nd novel in my mind.And Bellman Black, while by no means a failure, was unquestionably a disappointment to me It began beautifully, with a haunting prologue that foreshadows dire events to come The basic plot of the novel is well explained in the blurb at a young age, William kills a bird in the midst of childhood play, and puts it out of his mind until later, when he is settled into domestic life, tragedy strikes He starts seeing a mysterious stranger, who eventually gives him the idea for a potentially lucrative new business.Part of the problem may have been its short length I am alwaysinclined to love long, layered, fleshed out stories But parts of it just dragged and when the number of pages are so limited, this shouldn t be an issue How many times can we read about the inner workings of a mill, and then later the shop How many times is it repeated that every business endeavor Bellman touches turns to gold, that every problem there is, Bellman has a solution for Despite the occasionally repetitive nature, the book is still well written, and very atmospheric As soon as the stranger in black shows up, you can feel the slow decline of Bellman s fortune, the lonliness, the cold detachment from any personal connections I found the resolution to be ultimately unsatisying view spoiler I still don t quite understand exactly who Black was, and what the deal actually was And Bellman never found any sort of happiness in the end, never reconciled properly with his poor daughter hide spoiler [Ebook] ♂ Bellman & Black: A Ghost Story ☲ As A Boy, William Bellman Commits One Small Cruel Act That Appears To Have Unforseen And Terrible Consequences The Killing Of A Rook With His Catapult Is Soon Forgotten Amidst The Riot Of Boyhood Games And By The Time He Is Grown, With A Wife And Children Of His Own, He Seems Indeed, To Be A Man Blessed By FortuneUntil Tragedy Strikes, And The Stranger In Black Comes, And William Bellman Starts To Wonder If All His Happiness Is About To Be Eclipsed Desperate To Save The One Precious Thing He Has Left, He Enters Into A Bargain A Rather Strange Bargain, With An Even Stranger Partner, To Found A Decidedly Macabre BusinessAnd Bellman Black Is Born As usual, I received this book not through actually purchasing it but because someone gave it to me for review In this case the book came from a galley giveaway on ShelfAwareness Despite that kind consideration I m still not afraid to roast even a free book with a scathing review Luckily in this case, no such conflagration is necessary.Firstly, it should be noted that I religiously avoid reading the back jackets of books, so going into this one I had only the cover and the subtitle A ghost story to go on Because of that I spent a fair amount of time looking for the literal ghost only to find that the ghosts that haunt William Bellman are of a completely different sort than one generally expects from children s literature.On the positive side of things, this book is a deliciously subtle story of one man s haunted life Setterfield weaves her story and her characters together with a sagacious and haunting assiduousness that pulls the reader gently along from one short chapter to the next This is an acutely wrought novel with a tenacious grip on realism while still washing the entire scene in an afterglow of the supernatural I ve not read anything this well written in quite some time Our author brings us a tale as unhurried and as natural as life itself The only real negative I can put forth is reallyof a warning to potential readers This is a great book but it s likely not for everyone For those accustomed to the pablum of easy modern literature, I suggest humbly that you look elsewhere For those reading by the pool in the joyous light of day, perhaps your time is better spent between other pages But if you find yourself in a darkened room listening to the rumble of far away thunder, then this may be the book for just that setting It is not a gripping thrill ride, but it does take you gently by the hand and pull you quietly into another world where the sky harbors a thousand watching eyes and time does not undo all wrongs nor heal all wrongs Rob SlavenFacebook Neobi na knjiga ali samo to i ni ta vi e A Ghost Story PfftttA ghost story my ass How did that even get IN the title here Because, it s not ANYWHERE in my book Not on the cover Not on the title page Nowhere It s Bellman Black, A Novel Full stop No mention of A Ghost Story Anywhere.I feel so cheated.Imagine me, a grown woman, throwing myself onto the floor, kicking my feet, pounding my fists, and screaming in frustration That just about perfectly describes the tantrum I envisioned myself having at the end Because, I really, REALLY liked The Thirteenth Tale, and this was a total disappointment C est la vie They can t all be winners, I suppose.I have friends who absolutely refuse to continue with a book if they haven t been hooked within the first 50 pages So, I obviously won t be recommending THIS to them since the whole thing was RIDICULOUSLY BORING sigh To put it rather bluntly, this book is not very popular among fans of Diane Setterfield s previous novel, The Thirteenth Tale, who I suppose wanted somethingalong the same lines in her new novel, Bellman and Black and didn t get it I sort of feel like one of the lone holdouts I actually liked this book Then again, I went into it without any expectations even though I also liked The Thirteenth Tale, I wasn t expecting this one to be a carbon copy I still don t understand why people come unglued when a particular favorite author goes off in a different way than in previous books as I ve said so many times, it s very unfair and limiting to the writer when readers tend to expect the same thing over and over again Set in the Victorian era, as a boy of ten, William Bellman, his cousin Charles and their friend Luke were hanging out on a summer day, and Will tells the others he can hit a bird that was in a tree half a field away He had fashioned a perfect slingshot, picked the perfect stone, and launched it, hitting a black bird against all odds The other boys were impressed Will was sick at heart, proud, abashed, guilty On his way home he glances back to where the bird had fallen and notices a congregation of rooks, all looking in his direction, and he also thinks he sees a boy dressed all in black He s obviously haunted by what he s done, and while he spends a half week in bed with a fever, he starts to apply what the author calls his ten year old genius and power to forgetting William s adult life starts out promising he is helping his uncle at the family s textile mill and comes up with a number of measures to make the millproductive and lucrative He falls in love, marries just the right woman, and has beautiful children the perfect life, one others are either envious or proud of Yet, it s not long until he is faced with several deaths, and at each funeral, he thinks he sees a man all dressed in black William throws himself into his work rather than deal with his grief when tragedy strikes and he loses of all of his family members but one, he makes a deal with the man in black for the recovery of his dying daughter William then moves to London and branches out into a new career with death as its centerpiece, and again applies his magical touch, throwing himself body and soul into his work, making it a successful enterprise And all along he s waiting for Mr Black to return and collect what he s owed.If you look at the title of this book on Goodreads it is Bellman and Black A Ghost Story which is btw, NOT the title on the hardcover copy I bought and somehow word has gotten out that it is just that, a ghost story If you read it very carefully, though and without wrecking the story for others who might wish to read it , you have to make up your own mind in some ways, it reminded me very much of Sarah Waters The Little Stranger, which also requires that the reader really examine the supernatural events that occur What I see here is a study of a man who has excelled in forgetting, keeping his grief buried, and who has tried to carry on while unable or unwilling to mourn the tragedies of his life just to function Seen in that light, this very much character based story really works for me, explaining a lot of the ambiguities that follow throughout the novel I will say that while the book is highly atmospheric, William s character may seem to some readers to come off as flat He is anything but his drive, his inner thoughts and his actions all point to a man in a great amount of pain It s all in how you read it.Lots of readers have commented on lack of plot, but again, this is a character driven novel so the interest lies in trying to fathom what s going on inside of William I really don t get why people are so negative in their comments about this novel I found it highly unsettling and mysterious, haunting, but at the same time the horror here is completely on the subtle side until right at the end when all is made known Frankly, I couldn t put it down So what I didn t exactly care about were the rooks eye scenes while I get why they were there, they were often a little distracting Otherwise, it s one I can definitely recommend, and one I m definitely going to revisit. Diane Setterfield is a new author for me I wanted to try something in this genre out of my comfort zone, unfortunately this wasn t for me, although the beginning had me hooked but it was way to slow William was an interesting character being a Bellman, there were so many red herrings in this it made my head spin was well written crafted, just the pace of it was dragging, will try someone else in this genre you never give up after one book 2.5 stars In the few minutes since the boys had left the place, rooks had come They circled above the oak, fifteen or twenty of them More were arriving from all directions They stretched across the sky, loose skeins of dark marks, converging on this place One by one they descended to alight in the branches of the tree Ordinarily such a congregation would be accompanied by the noise of strong chatter as the birds flung sound at each other like gravel This gathering was different it took place in intent and purposeful silence Every bird on every branch was looking at his direction First things first This novel is the very definition, the epitome of the Victorian Gothic story It is the child of a contemporary Dickens, a dark masterpiece by one of the finest writers of our times Diane Setterfield has a knack for the haunting, the mysterious Bellman Black is a book that requires you to think and try to explain It doesn t give you tailor made answers It demands to be read with an open mind, to accept the impossible and investigate That s what brains are for, anyway William Bellman is an intelligent, hard working young man with a bright future ahead of him He has been blessed with perception and immense organizing skills and with a beautiful family But soon, Fate strikes and strikes again A black clad man seems to follow him in the darkest moments and William becomes convinced that a bargain should be made This is how Bellman Black, a truly macabre and fascinating endeavour, is created But William cannot understand that the past is a prison no one can escapeThey used to put the dead out on stone platforms for their bones to be picked clean by the rooks Did you know that Long time ago Before our crosses and spires and prayer books In my opinion, this is the darkest book by Diane Setterfield I ve read and adored all three, each one so different and so complex but they all have one thing in common a sharply accurate perception of the human soul and the external forces that shape and define a great number of the choices we make In Bellman Black, the themes are many, all profound and relevant Death is our greatest fear, whoever states the opposite is a lying fool who thinks we re idiots William starts seeing and breathing Death and decides to exorcise it by setting up an enterprise of mourning and ceremonies He wants to honour it by providing the very best of services in an attempt to rescue the only treasure that matters His child And then, his aim becomes an obsession Where are the boundaries if there are any, that is Where does one begin to understand that he is actually a victim of a strange desire On the other hand, how can a human being, even one as gifted as William, battle against forces that are so much stronger than us What about the past How can a good life that aims in helping others atone for an act of violence How can we escape the whims of Fate that haunts our steps Can there be a second chance to make up for the horrible fault of a child We often talk about revenge against each other What can we do when Nature is set on taking revenge against us These are only a few of the questions that this book poses on the reader And if we read books, we do so because we want to think and question If we approach books as we approach the items in a supermarket, then novels like this are not for usThe tree still stands Even now you can go and see it yes, right now, in your time but you will not see a single rook alight in its branches They still know what happened Rooks are made of thought and memory They know everything and they do not forget Setterfield creates a foreboding atmosphere, honouring the vast British tradition of Gothic Literature and elevating it to new standards Visions, nightmares Churches and graveyards And the crows, the rooks, the ravens are always at the heart of the action They define the course of the characters They observe And they punish There are chapters with outstanding trivia on crows, with Huginn and Munnin, Odin s spies, as the sovereigns of the species that is greatly loved and feared in British culture Apart from the natural or supernatural world, the writer takes us into the secrets of the textile industry with brilliant information on the craft of the colours and the life inside the workshops of the Victorian era And, obviously, our next stop is the industry of Death, the business of mourning, from the organizing of a burial to the fashion and the window display reserved for those who stay behind Waiting for their turn In outstanding prose, beautiful dialogue, shuttering imagery and in the company of a very memorable main character, Setterfield creates a dark tale, a Death fairy tale of the fears, misfortunes, and choices that set our course in life How much of it is our own doing How many of our choices are actually dictated by a severe hand of a power we cannot defeat Read this Gothic work of Art and draw your own conclusionsAll stories must come to an end This one Everyone s Your own The rook is a great lover of stories He has been harvesting them for as long as there have been stories to harvest, which means for as long as there have been gods and men and rooks And he has a good long memory for them My reviews can also be found on After reading Once Upon a River, I decided to check other novels by Diane Setterfield Bellman Black is did not disappoint me with its Gothic atmosphere and beautiful writing style I somehow enjoyed the first part of the novel , probably because it is so very much Victorian and I am not that much into horrors, however part two with its creepiness and the black colour omnipresent did give me some shiversI believe Diane Setterfield is one of those authors whose every next book is better than the previous one.