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- Bellman and Black by Diane Setterfield
Wednesday, 2 October 2013
As a young boy, desperate to impress his friends, William Bellman kills a rook with a slingshot. Little does William know that this act will have consequences for him far into his future.
Later, in Victorian England, William finds fortune and becomes a wealthy business man with a loving family. William appears to be untouchable and his business acumen is much sought after. He is dedicated in every way to ensuring the smooth running of his business. However, soon tragedy calls and a mysterious stranger dressed in black appears to be present during every sad event in William’s life. Soon the life that William had built begins to unravel and when he is in danger of losing his entire family, a business deal is struck with the stranger during a meeting in the graveyard. Although, what that deal was, William has trouble remembering. However, William is keen to honour the deal struck between himself and the man in black and soon the thriving business of Bellman and Black is born. Enjoying many more years of success, William is plagued by uncertainty and fear about the deal, and is constantly waiting for Mr Black to make another appearance. William soon becomes a man obsessed with the elusive Mr Black.
Bellman and Black is a Victorian Ghost Story. Whilst the book was certainly creepy in places I did not feel that it was a frightening story and didn't really feel it was very ghostly. However, there was always an undercurrent of something lurking in the background and the reader is left to feel how William must have felt, waiting and wondering what, if anything was going to happen to him next. When would Mr Black make an appearance and tell William exactly what the deal was that they made many years previous. A good story, albeit a little slow for me. Very well written and a good read.