Diane Setterfield returns this month with Bellman & Black, an irresistible Gothic and ghostly read that is absolutely perfect for these dark winter months. William Bellman makes a grave mistake as a child when he thoughtlessly kills a rook with his stone catapult. He goes on to build a successful and enviable life, until a mysterious stranger appears and threatens to rip away everything he holds dear.
Our reviewer Matthew Jackson calls it "a slow-burning, creepily realistic tale, woven together with practical but often magically transformative prose." Although the suspense is often center stage, Setterfield also includes some breathtaking meditations on nature, mortality and love that make this a very well-crafted novel indeed.
Watch the short and spooky trailer below:
What do you think, readers? Are you in the mood for some post-Halloween creepiness?
Diane Setterfield's debut, The Thirteenth Tale, was a smashing success with both critics and readers when it was published in 2006. It may have been seven long years since then, but it looks like her follow-up, Bellman & Black, was well worth the wait. Our reviewer describes the book as, "a slow-burning, creepily realistic tale, woven together with practical but often magically transformative prose," and concludes with: "Quite simply, Setterfield has done it again." (Read the full review here.)
We were curious about the books Setterfield has been reading lately, so we asked her to recommend three recent favorites, which she graciously agreed to share:
By Andrew Miller
My love of France and my fascination with graveyards are what drew me to this book—and the fact that my sister, whose opinion I value above all others, was raving about it. It turned out to be my read of the year. The material is dark, the characters vividly alive and the history as fresh and present as my own life. But what really enamored me was the prose: so delicious I wanted to lick the pages.
By Mark Cocker
This book was meant to be research for me, but it quickly turned into one of those reads you remember for decades. Mark Cocker writes like a poet, and we're used to novels that sound poetic, but this is not a novel. When nonfiction is crafted as beautifully as this, it reaches a whole new level. Rooks and crows reveal their magic and their mystery, and Cocker knows how to share his fascination in a way that transforms our sense of our own humanity.
GIVING UP THE GHOST
By Hilary Mantel
Everyone is reading Hilary Mantel's Cromwell series, and so they should: it's magnificent. But don't let that prevent you from looking elsewhere in her work. There is no one like Mantel for understanding the many ways in which human beings can be haunted, and her memoir is packed with ghostly moments, where the border between what is and what is not becomes transparent thanks to the precision and thoughtfulness of her prose. It is genius, and she makes it look like simplicity itself.
The votes of librarians from across the country have been counted, and the books that garnered the most nods have been compiled into the official LibraryReads November list. At the top is Diane Setterfield's Bellman & Black, which our reviewer describes as "a slow-burning, creepily realistic tale, woven together with practical but often magically transformative prose." (Read our full review of the book and our Meet the Author interview with Setterfield.)
Check out all 10 of the books on the LibraryReads November list. Which one are you most looking forward to reading?