Author: Diane Setterfield
Published: October 10th 2013 by Orion
What drew me this book initially was its cover. Bellman and Black: A Ghost Story has simple yet elegant Gothic-styled cover. I know what they say about judging a book by its cover but let’s just make an exception for this book, okay?
Basically, although the title of this book says that it is a ghost story, it wasn’t scary at all because there wasn’t a hint of a ghost in the entire story. There was just the mysterious rooks which are said between intervals of chapters to have supernatural powers.
But even though the title was misleading, I find the story oddly riveting. It tells of the life of William Bellman and the experiences he goes through from a boy to a man. As a boy, well, boys will be boys, he showed off to his friends by aiming and shooting at a rook with a catapult. He succeeded, but the price he has to pay is seeing (or rather, knowing) death for the first time.
Throughout his life he attended so many funerals, those who were related to him and those who were his friends. One interesting thing is that after his mother’s death, he became terrified of death and his childhood friends started to die one after another, he was slowly becoming desperate.
I kinda pity William, though. After killing the rook and after the death of his mother, it was as if he was never really alive at all. The death of his wife was a finishing blow to him and that was when he met a mysterious figure named Black. His way of throwing himself into his work to keep the fear of death at bay was painful to read. Just imagine doing that, working almost 20 hours a day. I’d go mad.
This story was interesting because I have never read a book about rooks and funerals. But there wasn’t really much said about William Bellman’s daughter, Dora. I really wanted to know how she felt at the death of her father. But then again, maybe that’s it. Maybe she felt nothing. After turning the final page, I think, maybe it IS a ghost story after all. Just not one people would have expected.