Deborah asked:

I noticed that this book got very low ratings. What is there about it that I should consider to read it?

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Joe Frazier I'm well over 3/4 through Bellman and Black. I'm slightly stunned with those who don't see this as from the same pen as The Thirteenth Tale. To me, the same exquisite writing, the same "old school" pacing and request for thoughtful reading. Both are a bit on the weird, paranormal side, but equally brilliant. Now I get Pamela's comment below; she didn't like the content of The Thirteenth Tale. I feel like an alien amongst those who see this as wholly different and wholly worse than her previous book.

I held off reading it for a long time due to the many folks who made those comments. I regret waiting now (although I do get to enjoy it now). Give it a try if you like thoughtful reads, detailed descriptions, well-defined characters but somewhat slow pacing.

Forget about the whole Ghost story thing.
Tabitha The low ratings for this book seems to be related to it not being plot driven. Instead of having the character rushing through a series of challenges and adventures, a guy lives his life through ups and downs and the book has some key points to make to the reader about life and how its lived. These are revealed slowly, creating a mystery (not unlike The 13th Tale) but at enough of a pace that I could see where she was going by 3/4 of the way through the text. I didn't read every low rating but of the 15 or so I glanced at, the issue seems to be they don't like books which aren't plot driven.

I am not a liberal rater of books with 5 stars and this book solidly fell above 4 stars for me. Its the kind of book that will leave you thinking on it afterwards.
Melanie I finished the book in 2 days. I enjoy books that make you think and beg for you to read between the lines. After you finish, go to the website purple and read her review. Also, I agree that the use of the word "ghost" story was misleading and suggest maybe an "eerie" tale instead??
Pamela (Here to Read Books and Chew Gum) It's interesting, I've noticed a lot of the low reviews are from people who love 'The Thirteenth Tale'. I didn't enjoy 'The Thirteenth Tale'. I thought it was derivative of far more talented writers in that genre. I'm halfway through 'Bellman & Black' now and my opinion of it couldn't be more different. I'm really enjoying it. It's like a gothic fairy tale rather than a ghost story, and it's easy to identify with the characters who are all quite personable. We'll see how I feel when I get to the end, but this time round Setterfield has me hooked.
Mommooshka I loved The Thirteenth Tale (5 stars) but only found Bellman & Black okay (3 stars). Equally well written with strong atmosphere and characters, but I felt the second half became rather slow. I didn't feel it sustained the suspense throughout as well as The Thirteenth Tale did nor did the B&B ending have as much impact.
Sara Mazzoni I actually really liked it.
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by Diane Setterfield (Goodreads Author)
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