After enjoying The Thirteenth Tale, I was excited to read Setterfield’s next novel, Bellman and Black. Unfortunately, it was not nearly as engaging as the Thirteenth Tale. This story begins when ten year old William kills a rook that was perched innocently at the top of a tree. Although the odds were against the boy but he used his perfect rock, with his handmade slingshot and the rock met its target, the shiny black bird landing dead at the base of the tree.
As William grew, he forgot about the dead rook, became successful, got married and was happy with his a young family. As his success grew, he had to deal with loss. He met and made a bargain with “Black” to save the life of his oldest child and went into the business of selling goods for funerals. His life becomes consumed with death.
Although rooks are mentioned between chapters and throughout the book, William forgot about the rook that he killed. His daughter watched them, she painted them and she instinctively kept this from her dad. The rooks were observers and told the stories of lives and death.
This is not a book that I would recommend. It was not intriguing like the Thirteenth Tale. it was slow and there was nothing that really stood out to keep interest. I hope that this author will write again but with the mystery and twists of her first novel.