Thursday, November 23, 2017

Bellman & Black

*Book source ~ NetGalley
5 November 2013
Historical | Gothic
328 Pages

My Rating ~ 4 bites

William Bellman is likeable, endlessly curious, and driven. When it looks like his life couldn’t get any happier, tragedy strikes and a thoughtless moment from his boyhood comes back to haunt him.

First I have to say that I don’t know why this is called a ghost story. There’s no ghost unless you count the moment in Bellman’s past that haunts him his whole life. Well, it doesn’t actively haunt him, but there are moments when it migrates from his subconscious to his conscious mind and it’s in those moments he feels as if he’s going a little crazy. Anyway, no actual ghost is in this story.

Now, this is a different kind of tale. Set in England, it never says what year, but it feels like it’s the 1800s. It’s like a memoir of Bellman’s life. It starts when he and three other boys are ten years old and Bellman kills a rook with his catapult (slingshot). In his defense, he never thought his rock would travel the distance and he did hesitate, but at the last moment he let it fly and wham. Dead bird. This is the moment that comes back to haunt him again and again through the book.

While there doesn’t appear to be an obvious point to this story (to me anyway), I still found it fascinating. William Bellman is an interesting man and I enjoyed learning about the fabric mill and later the attention to detail when he opens Bellman & Black, a store that caters to the dead. In other words, if someone dies, Bellman & Black has everything a family needs for the funeral and mourning periods. I don’t expect this story will appeal to everyone, but I enjoyed it.

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