Diving Belles, Hardback
3.5 out of 5 (2 ratings)


Along Cornwall's ancient coast, the flotsam and jetsam of the past becomes caught in the cross-currents of the present and, from time to time, a certain kind of magic can float to the surface...Straying husbands lured into the sea can be fetched back, for a fee.

Magpies whisper to lonely drivers late at night. Trees can make wishes come true - provided you know how to wish properly first.

Houses creak, fill with water and keep a fretful watch on their inhabitants, straightening shower curtains and worrying about frayed carpets.

A teenager's growing pains are sometimes even bigger than him. And, on a windy beach, a small boy and his grandmother keep despair at bay with an old white door.

In these stories, Cornish folklore slips into everyday life.

Hopes, regrets and memories are entangled with catfish, wrecker's lamps, standing stones and baying hounds, and relationships wax and wane in the glow of a moonlit sea.

This luminous, startling and utterly spellbinding debut collection introduces in Lucy Wood a spectacular new voice in contemporary British fiction.


  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Fantasy
  • ISBN: 9781408816851



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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

Whimsical, magical, and full of wonder, Wood’s stories beguile the reader into a version of England’s foggy Cornwall coast in which the unexpected not only can happen but usually does. Characters in these stories live side by side with creatures out of mythology, sometimes becoming those creatures themselves. In the title story, staying husbands have become mermen and their wives must brave the depths to bring them home. In Countless Stones, a young woman helps a former lover as he house-hunts while slowing and inexorably turning to stone. In another stand-out story, Of Mothers and Little People, a daughter discovers that her mother is a fully-formed human being in her own right, with secret joys that daughters seldom imagine in their parents—in this case, a faery lover.These are truly grown-up fairy tales, with touches of magical realism and outright enchantment never obscuring the very real stories and characters underneath. There are few easy answers or pat morals in these fairy stories.

Review by

These stories are lovely little things, and very beautifully written. But they're so unsatisfying because they don't seem to end, they just stop. This was actually interesting for the first few, but when you can predict the vague way all the stories will end, the magical effect wears off somewhat.