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The Cottingley Secret: A Novel Hardcover – August 1, 2017
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“Beautifully written and expertly researched, Gaynor’s latest is a look at one of history’s most intriguing mysteries and an important reminder of the power of belief.” (Booklist (starred review))
“There is real magic in these pages. And beauty. And heart.” (Nicole Mary Kelby, author of The Pink Suit)
“The Cottingley Secret tells the tale of two girls who somehow convince the world that magic exists. An artful weaving of old legends with new realities, this tale invites the reader to wonder: could it be true?” ( Kate Alcott, New York Times bestselling author of The Dressmaker )
“I adored The Cottingley Secret [...] Gaynor has penned in majestic prose an enchanting and enthralling tale of childhood magic, forgotten dreams, and finding the parts of ourselves we thought were lost forever.” (Pam Jenoff, New York Times bestselling author of The Orphan's Tale)
“In The Cottingley Secret, Gaynor asks us the question we all have buried somewhere in our hearts-- is believing in ourselves, perhaps, the most important magic of all?” (Heather Webb, author of Rodin’s Lover)
“Richly imagined and terrifically enchanting, Hazel Gaynor’s The Cottingley Secret is an enthralling tale where memories serve as lifelines for the living, and the unseen is made real. Reading this novel is akin to finding hidden treasure - each character, a friend; each chapter, a revelation.” (Ami McKay, author of The Witches of New York )
“Gaynor (The Girl from the Savoy, 2016, etc.) creates a lovely meditation on the power of belief and hope.” (Kirkus Reviews)
“Hazel Gaynor brings the mystery of the Cottingley Fairies thrillingly to life…A mystery, a love story, and an enchanting and surprising journey of self-discovery, The Cottingley Secret unwraps the true story behind one of the great hoaxes of the 19th century while still allowing the possibility of the magical.” (Kate Forsyth, author of Bitter Greens)
From the Back Cover
I said my story had many beginnings, and the day the camera arrived was one of them. After all, without the camera, there wouldn’t have been any photographs. Without the camera, I wouldn’t have a story to tell. . . .
1917 . . . In a world torn apart by war, two young Yorkshire cousins, Frances Griffiths and Elsie Wright, announce that something marvelous has happened. They’ve photographed actual fairies, those ethereal creatures of mischief, living in their Cottingley, England, garden. The girls become a national sensation. The photos are declared real by none other than Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. And a nation torn apart by tragedy embraces this amazing event. Together, the cousins keep their secret about the photos for decades, until they decide it’s time to tell the truth.
One hundred years later . . . Olivia Kavanagh inherits her grandfather’s bookshop, and is amazed to find a manuscript that has been hidden away for decades. She becomes fascinated by the tale it tells. But it’s the discovery of an old photograph that leads her to realize how the story of Frances and Elsie intertwines with hers, connecting past to present . . . and blurring what is real and what is imagined.
Top customer reviews
I received an advance review copy of this book from the Great Thought's Ninja Review Team. All opinions are my own.
Is the connection somewhere in the pages of the rare books in the bookshop, SOMETHING OLD, that Olivia's grandfather left her? Is it in the story she finds that leads her to believe in herself like Elsie and Frances believed in fairies?
Olivia lives in present day and finds a manuscript in her grandfather's things that refers to fairies. As she reads the manuscript and deals with her unhappy life at this time, she believes her grandmother knew Frances.
Olivia is excited that she inherited the bookshop, but doesn't know what to do with it. What decision will she make about the bookshop and her life? Will she decide to move to Ireland and run the bookshop and most importantly follow what will make her happy or marry the man that she realizes isn't the man she should marry?
We move to 1917 and visit with Elsie and Frances who are cousins and live under the same roof since Frances moved there from South Africa while her father was called to serve in the war.
Frances is a precocious child and believes she sees fairies at the beck, but no one believes her . She and Elsie get together to prove the fairies are really there, and their story becomes a sensation.
THE COTTINGLEY SECRET took a few pages for me to connect, but once I got hooked and also realized that this fairy story was famous, I couldn't stop reading.
I loved how the book went back and forth from 1917 to present day, and I truly enjoyed the secrets and connections between the characters from both time periods as they were revealed.
Who doesn't love a book that has a bookshop in it? And who doesn't love an old bookshop with secrets and memories that might help you make personal decisions and find connections?
Hazel Gaynor's books are always magical whether there is magic in them or not.
And…her books are always filled with love.
This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.
I enjoyed this enchanting and delightful novel “The Cottingley Secret” by Hazel Gaynor. The genres for this novel are Historical Fiction, and Fiction.
The timeline of this story vacillates from the past 1917 to the present. In 1917 during the war, which was a disturbing and distressing time, two young cousins in Cottingley, Yorkshire convince the world that they see fairies in their garden. The girls use a camera and their ” imagination” and photograph the fairies. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle writes about fairies and believes the girls’ photographs are real. Frances and her cousin Elise promise to keep a secret about the photographs. Could this really be true?
One hundred years later Olivia Kavanagh, mourning her grandfather’s death, is in his Old Bookstore and discovers an old manuscript about the two young girls and photographs. Olivia is conflicted with secrets of her own, but something draws her to this manuscript. What is there about this manuscript that makes Olivia question things she believes in?
I love the author’s descriptions of the breathtaking landscape, waterfalls and countryside. I appreciate the author’s historical research and the way the author describes her characters and their story. The author talks about family, friends, love , faith and hope. I would highly recommend this magical and inspirational novel. I received an Advanced Reading Copy from Great Thoughts Ninja Group for my honest opinion.