The Book Mark

Books that make the grade.

Tag Archives: Diane Setterfield

Bellman and Black



I have never posted a review for a book that I didn’t finish reading but I feel obligated to this time.  In my “Wish List” post, I included Bellman and Black (F) by Diane Setterfield.  Her first book The Thirteenth Tale is still one of my all time favorites and for that reason I was excited to read Bellman and Black.

As with anything I read, I believe it fair to read at least 100 pages before passing judgment.  I forced myself to read 98 pages of Bellman and Black. It was exhausting. I got the gist that it’s about a young man by the name of William Bellman whose father left when he was an infant. The Bellman’s own the wool mill. Once William’s father left the running of the mill fell to his Uncle Paul. Paul’s own son, Charles has shown no interest in the mill and instead peruses art in Italy. Paul decides to introduce William to the mechanics of running the mill and William exceeds Paul’s expectations.

As a young boy, William shoots and kills a rook with a slingshot. It’s obvious that this is an omen and will play a roll in his life and the story.  The first 98 pages gave me nothing that would make me hang on and see where things go. Rook sightings are casually mentioned here and there so you know something is coming but it’s just not enough to stir any continued interest.

So there you have it. It’s rare that I don’t finish what I start but I just couldn’t waste precious time reading this disappointing novel. The good news is that I didn’t purchase the book. I borrowed it from my library and will return it unfinished. Clearly, I have to be more careful of what I “wish” for.

Wish List



I bet everyone is as busy as me with getting ready to celebrate Christmas and the New Year. My little pup is now 5 months old and our days are getting easier.  Soon, I’ll be able to read whenever I like.  Though I am enjoying him so very much, right now I am still way behind. Meanwhile, my books pile up ready and waiting.

If you are reading this then you are a book lover and book lovers gift books.  I am sharing my Wish List and hope that it might help you along the way.  Here we go:

The Supreme Macaroni Company by Adriana Trigiani makes the list as the sequel to The Shoemaker’s Wife a book I read and enjoyed this year. The story continues to follow the lives of the characters we have come to love in the previous novels.

The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson has sparked my interest. Set in Korea, love, honor, hunger and corruption all set the stage for a promising read.

The Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan in true Tan fashion follows two women from Shanghai to remote villages in China. Mothers and daughters play key rolls. The novel promises to delight those that enjoyed The Joy Luck Club, which is one of my all time favorites.

Someone Else’s Love Story by Joshilyn Jackson is another one of her beautifully crafted love stories.  I’m a big fan of hers and she never fails to please me. Remember her from A Grown-Up Kinda Pretty and Gods in Alabama?

Sarah Jio once again grabs my attention with Morning Glory. Many years ago, I had the pleasure of reading an advanced copy of The Violets of March and since then I am a committed fan.

Bellman and Black by Diane Setterfield made my list too. Years ago, my book club read The Thirteenth Tale and that book has stood out as one of our best reads. I am hoping for the same here with her latest about a boy who kills a bird and years later as an adult some revenge is taken.  This definitely sounds like one of her books!!

Well this is what I hope to be reading in 2014. Maybe you will find some that you can add to your wish list too and we can read them together. Happy shopping and look for my best and worst list in the next blog. I hope all the above make next years “best” list.