Monday Mini ~ Bellman & Black by Diane Setterfield

MondayMini3Getting back into the swing of things each week is hard. So is finding the quiet time to write a review over the weekend. In order to ease out of the weekend, I’ve decided to begin my blogging week with a mini review.

As someone who loved the stuffings out of The Thirteenth Tale, I was excited to pick up this audiobook despite the less than glowing things I’d heard about it. I hate to give you a spoiler to my review here, but I’m glad I’ll always have The Thirteenth Tale.

Bellman & Black by Diane SetterfieldCover of Bellman and Black
Atria ~ October 10, 2013 ~ 337 pages
Simon & Schuster Audio ~ Jack Davenport ~ 9 hours and 40 minutes

When some of my most trusted book pushers told me that they couldn’t recommend Bellman & Black I wasn’t worried. Liking or not liking a book is a personal thing after all. Surely the book would work for me. I listened to the the audio sample on Audible’s website and grew even more certain that I’d enjoy the book. Jack Davenport has a fabulous British accent and listening to that little snippet excited me even more. The first few hours were equally pleasant. I loved the story of William Bellman’s early childhood and marriage. Usually when I like characters and tragedy strikes I am glued to the story. Here, that’s where it all fell apart for me. Somehow along the way I stopped caring. Davenport certainly did his best to breathe as much life as he could into the story and I would eagerly pick up another of his audiobooks. With him as company, I tried my best to soldier on, but not even Black could keep me awake. I didn’t care who he was (although I had my suspicions) or why he became part of William’s life. As Bellman & Black opened, I gave up the ghost myself. There was some excellent material here, but I found Setterfield’s execution lacking. Gothic novels can be many things, but boring isn’t one of them.


  • At 2014.02.24 12:11, Ti said:

    That’s how I felt when I read it in print. Just didn’t care about any of the characters. I wanted the author to do something with the daughter but that went nowhere. It wasn’t scary or spooky or suspenseful. It has not been said, but I bet this was an old novel she dusted off for publication.

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    • At 2014.02.24 13:29, Kailana said:

      I am starting to think this may stay unread on my TBR! No one seems to have liked it!

      • At 2014.02.24 17:34, Sheila (Book JOurney) said:

        Great review of this one!

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        • At 2014.02.24 18:45, bermudaonion (Kathy) said:

          Yeah, my sister read this one and pretty much felt the same way.

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          • At 2014.02.25 12:47, tanya said:

            You have summed it up perfectly. I kept reading B&B because the writing was so good, but I kept waiting for something to happen.

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            • At 2014.02.25 21:24, Grace said:

              I struggled on to the end, but yeah, my reaction was the same as yours. A shame you can’t judge a book by its cover, because I loved the cover!

              • At 2014.02.26 00:26, Jess - A Book Hoarder said:

                Such a bummer! I keep waiting for the one review to bring back my hope that there may be some reason for me to read this but I just don’t think it’s going to happen. 🙁

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