In a single instant, William Bellman commits an act that will have grievous repercussions in his life. He kills a rook with his slingshot. As he grows older, he finds position and prospers, becoming a successful manager (and later owner) of a mill. And then one day a stranger enters his life and he has a reversal of fortune. Death surrounds him, his business suffers and he enters into a bargain to save the only precious thing left in his life, his daughter Dora. But Bellman misunderstands what is being offered him, only to realize too late, that the price he paid was just too high.
Setterfield is a master at suspense and like her earlier work, The Thirteenth Tale, the gothic and macabre are staples in her literary toolbox here. This is a book that really makes one think. In fact, I had to go back and review key parts because only then could I fit all the pieces together. It was well-written and moved me along, but for some reason, I didn’t love it the way I had her previous novel. At times it was a little confusing – after all, who is the man in black? But as I said it is a book that inspires reflection and discussion, and that alone makes it a good selection for a book club. Thanks to Atria Books for providing the review copy of Bellman & Black.
3 1/2 stars (out of 5)
Published in 2013