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Guest review: Bellman & Black

December 17, 2013

Bellman & Black

My sister Karen is back with another terrific review!  I was glad to read her thoughts on this book since the reviews for it have been mixed.  Here’s what she has to say:

Ten year old William Bellman, his cousin and two friends spend one glorious summer together exploring their surrounding environs.  Coming from different backgrounds, they share the common bond of all having been born in the same month of the same year.  They enjoyed one another’s company, and boys being boys were always competing with one another.  Perhaps the cleverest of the four boys is William.  After figuring out a way to improve the design of his slingshot, he bets his companions that he can use it to hit a bird perched on a branch of a far off tree.  The tree is so far away that the other boys all scoff at the boast.  Yet William does indeed fell the young Rook, an act which will reverberate throughout his life.

Bellman & Black is Diane Setterfield’s clever new novel.  The plot is very much character driven and William Bellman is a remarkable protagonist.    He is so strong and self assured, at the same time so fragile, so haunted.  The entire story is a beautifully written allegory.  It has a real mystical quality to it, and it is a little bit suspenseful.  The mysterious Mr. Black’s true identity is not revealed until the closing pages of the book.  Overall, I enjoyed the story, but I wouldn’t say I loved it.

Review copy provided by Simon & Schuster.  I am an Indiebound Affiliate.

21 Comments leave one →
  1. December 17, 2013 4:33 am

    Another one to be read. I had got this author down for another book as well

  2. December 17, 2013 9:21 am

    Sounds interesting. Great review.

  3. December 17, 2013 9:29 am

    I really loved THE THIRTEENTH TALE and have been curious about this one. I have read lots of reviews on it and they are definitely mixed for sure. Your sister’s review sounds like I should give it a shot!

  4. December 17, 2013 9:36 am

    I loved The Thirteenth Tale, but have been on the fence with this one. Might just give it a go after all…

  5. December 17, 2013 10:15 am

    Enjoyed even if not loved is good! I’ve been wanting to read this book after having read and loved The Thirteenth Tale. I know not to expect the same after all the reviews of this new book I’ve read, so hopefully I will enjoy Bellman and Black too–even if not as much as her first book.

  6. Patty permalink
    December 17, 2013 10:34 am

    I loved her review…short sweet and to the point. For some reason it’s just a book that misses being awesome. I have it and keep putting off reading it!

  7. December 17, 2013 11:09 am

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this one, Karen! It does sound like a book I’d enjoy.

  8. December 17, 2013 11:10 am

    I’ve been hearing mixed reviews as well. Sounds like something I would enjoy but I shouldn’t expect too much.

  9. December 17, 2013 11:29 am

    Great review. I also had mixed feeling on this book-good writing, but didn’t love the story.

  10. December 17, 2013 12:36 pm

    I bought this when it came out and STILL have not read it. I think I am nervous because of all the mixed reviews…

  11. sandynawrot permalink
    December 17, 2013 3:49 pm

    Maybe if The Thirteenth Tale hadn’t been so amazing, this one would have been better received. I was so excited about it before it came out. Now I’ve sort of put it off.

  12. December 17, 2013 5:00 pm

    I get so excited when I see a positive review of this one. I’m still determined I’ll give it a go.

  13. December 17, 2013 7:08 pm

    This one was too dark for me, but thanks for your sister’s review.

    My review is on my blog.

    Silver’s Reviews
    My Blog

  14. December 17, 2013 7:20 pm

    Great review! I love your sisters opinions! 😉 Thats fun that you share a love of books.

  15. December 17, 2013 7:31 pm

    I still have not read any of her books!

  16. December 17, 2013 7:39 pm

    I agree with your sister. I liked her first book much better.

  17. December 17, 2013 7:46 pm

    Nice review by your sis. I have been wanting to read Diane Setterfield’s work for some time.

  18. December 17, 2013 11:46 pm

    I’m usually very drawn to character driven novels. I’ll have to check out this author.

  19. December 18, 2013 12:07 am

    Terrific guest review by Karen! William does sound like an intriguing protagonist.

  20. December 18, 2013 6:01 pm

    I’m glad to hear this one is clever. I really loved Setterfield’s writing in The Thirteenth Tale, even if I didn’t love the story itself. I’ll keep this one in mind.

  21. December 18, 2013 10:32 pm

    Hmm. Looks like I may be able to skip this one even though I loved 13th Tale.

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