Bellman & Black by Diane Setterfield is a dark story that tells of a young boy who kills a rook while out with his friends. This killing of this bird in turn haunts him the rest of his life in a very peculiar way – in the form of a man in black who seems to turn up at different points in this now grown man’s life.
William by all accounts has a good life with a wife and children along with a thriving business. However things start to go downhill fast when everyone around him begins to die and at each funeral the man in black is there. Left with only one daughter who barely survived William throws himself into his work. He seems to be successful at anything he puts his mind to but as time passes he begins to obsess more over the man in the black to the point of even opening a business and calling it Bellman & Black. Can William gain redemption by trying to appease the man in black?
Years ago I read Diane Setterfield’s last novel The Thirteenth Tale with my book club and we all loved it but Bellman & Black was just ok for me. It didn’t seem to have the same special something but I listened to the audiobook of Bellman & Black which is narrated by Jack Davenport and he saved this book for me. I’m not sure I would have continued if I had been reading it in print but I did enjoy the tone and nuances of Jack Davenport’s voice. He has a smooth and melodic voice that I thought lent really well to the atmosphere of this novel.
I’m sure that this novel will appeal to many with its dark and gothic feel. I’d love to hear what others thought of this book of Diane Setterfield’s if you’ve read it.
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher. No compensation was received for this review and all opinions are my own.