Diving Belles is a collection of short stories by Lucy Wood, each with a touch of magic.
The review I created in my head when started reading Diving Belles was completely different from the one I ended up writing. The first stories weren’t doing it for me; I just didn’t get it. I read a couple of reviews with heaps of praise for Diving Belles and wondered if I was either too practical- or too dense- to appreciate them. However, I kept on, which was a good thing, because the later stories really spoke to me. That’s the thing about short stories I suppose. There are hits and misses in any collection and not every one is for every reader. At least, not for me anyway.
Wood’s stories are beautiful but rather sad. She writes of young people watching their loved ones grow old, people struggling with regrets, women in bad relationships. There are moments of sweetness and humour too. In Blue Moon, residents of a retirement home for the magical, suddenly turn into animals or oil, causing headaches for the very human caretakers.
Because Wood is from Cornwall, I couldn’t help but think of Daphne du Maurier and her short stories. Wood doesn’t have the cynicism that du Maurier had at the same age. But Cornwall is a character itself, the sea or the moors inhabit many of the stories.
Wood experiments with point of view. One of my favorites is Notes from the House of Spirits, which is exactly what the story is, spirits of a house watching humans come and go. It’s such a poignant story, since the humans’ time in the house is so brief.
If you are looking for a collection of stories that are interesting, magical and a little different, then Diving Belles is for you.
Thanks to TLC Book Tours for the review copy.