August 28, 2012

Diving Belles by Lucy Wood: Review

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diving belles

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.

7 comments :

  1. I read this, too, and was actually impressed. I am not one for short story collections, but this one I liked. :)

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  2. Sounds interesting. I'll have to remember to stick with it if I have the chance to try this one.

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  3. This sounds intriguing, and I love the magical aspects you speak of. I've become fond of collections since I started blogging, was never a fan before, but the way the stories require details to be told makes reading them continually appealing. And what an interesting way of dealing with the topics you describe!

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  4. I'm not sure whether to pick this up or not. I first read a great review of it at Savidge Reads which made me add it to my TBR, but the more I read other reviews, the more hesitant I am. Not to mention I'm not usually a fan of short stories. But the fact that you mentioned Daphne du Maurier caught my attention because I love her writing. Maybe I should check out her short stories instead...

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  5. That's the challenge with story collections... they kind of have to grab you right away or the reader turns elsewhere for stimulation. I am glad this one worked for you in the end though.

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  6. Someone else on the tour mentioned that she thought that this collection was best enjoyed spread over a period of time, allowing each story some space, and I think that's true for me too. But, even so, it sounds like you did truly connect with some of the stories, even if it got off to a slow start for you.

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  7. I'm glad you stuck with it - sounds like the latter stories really worked for you!

    Thanks for being on the tour.

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