Expected Publication is November 5, 2013 by Atria Books/Emily Bestler Books|Expected Number Of Pages: 305
Where I Got It: an arc from netgalley.com- this hasn’t influenced my review in any way. Promise!
Genre: Adult Fiction
Goodreads Summary: As a boy, William Bellman commits one small, cruel act: killing a bird with his slingshot. Little does he know the unforeseen and terrible consequences of the deed, which is soon forgotten amidst the riot of boyhood games. By the time he is grown, with a wife and children of his own, William seems to be a man blessed by fortune—until tragedy strikes and the stranger in black comes. Then he starts to wonder if all his happiness is about to be eclipsed. Desperate to save the one precious thing he has left, William enters into a rather strange bargain, with an even stranger partner, to found a decidedly macabre business.
And Bellman & Black is born.
Bellman & Black definitely had an interesting premise, and it had a great Victorian/Gothic/creepy vibe, but unfortunately, it was an okay read for me.
Setterfield did a great job with the Victorian/Gothic vibe of the book, and I wish there was more of a ghost story in the book, because…I was kind of expecting more of a ghost story. If it’s there, it’s really subtle, or I somehow managed to miss it. I was hoping for more of a connection between the opening scene and what happened throughout William’s life, but unfortunately, it just never came together for me. I honestly didn’t get the connection between the two, and I was hoping that there would be some sort of explanation by the end of the book.
There was a lot of descriptions in the book, and all of those descriptions felt very overwhelming and hard to get through at times. There’s quite a bit of detail in how Bellman’s mill is run and quite a bit of detail in the business Bellman opened with Black, and there were a couple points where I skimmed over the details. You get all of these details, but when Bellman starts losing people, you barely got anything.
I also found that I didn’t care about what happened to the characters. For me, there wasn’t anything that made me care about what happened to them. It also took a while for the Bellman & Black part of the novel to even start, and I was disappointed that it took a while to see the creepy business deal they made.
Bellman & Black wasn’t what I was expecting, and it’s just not the book for me. The details made the book hard to get through at times, and I was definitely expecting more of a ghost story. Bellman & Black gets 2 stars.