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The Cottingley Secret: A Novel

The Cottingley Secret: A Novel


The Cottingley Secret: A Novel

evaluări:
4.5/5 (41 evaluări)
Lungime:
11 hours
Lansat:
Aug 1, 2017
ISBN:
9780062682116
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Descriere

The New York Times bestselling author of The Girl Who Came Home turns the clock back one hundred years to a time when two young girls from Cottingley, Yorkshire, convinced the world that they had done the impossible and photographed fairies in their garden. Now, in her newest novel, international bestseller Hazel Gaynor reimagines their story.

1917… It was inexplicable, impossible, but it had to be true—didn't it? When two young cousins, Frances Griffiths and Elsie Wright from Cottingley, England, claim to have photographed fairies at the bottom of the garden, their parents are astonished. But when one of the great novelists of the time, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, becomes convinced of the photographs' authenticity, the girls become a national sensation, their discovery offering hope to those longing for something to believe in amid a world ravaged by war. Frances and Elsie will hide their secret for many decades. But Frances longs for the truth to be told.

One hundred years later… When Olivia Kavanagh finds an old manuscript in her late grandfather's bookshop she becomes fascinated by the story it tells of two young girls who mystified the world. But it is the discovery of an old photograph that leads her to realize how the fairy girls' lives intertwine with hers, connecting past to present, and blurring her understanding of what is real and what is imagined. As she begins to understand why a nation once believed in fairies, can Olivia find a way to believe in herself?

Lansat:
Aug 1, 2017
ISBN:
9780062682116
Format:
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Despre autor

Hazel Gaynor is an award-winning New York Times, USA Today and international bestselling author. Her 2014 debut The Girl Who Came Home won the 2015 RNA Historical Novel of the Year award, A Memory of Violets was a 2015 WHSmith Fresh Talent pick, The Girl from The Savoy was shortlisted for the 2017 Irish Book Awards, and The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter was shortlisted for the 2019 HWA Gold Crown Award. Last Christmas in Paris (co-written with Heather Webb) won the 2018 Women's Fiction Writers Association Star Award. Their most recent collaboration is Meet Me in Monaco. Hazel's forthcoming historical novel, When We Were Young & Brave, set in China during WW2, will be published in North America in October 2020. Hazel was selected by Library Journal as one of Ten Big Breakout Authors for 2015. Her work has been translated into fourteen languages to date. She is co-founder of creative writing events The Inspiration Project, and lives in Ireland with her husband and two children.  For more information, visit www.hazelgaynor.com

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  • (5/5)
    This was a story filled with more magic than one can almost bare. We seamlessly flit between past and present, of childhood days gone by still brimming with the wonder trapped in memories and those moments becoming memories in the present through the choices made, obstacles tackled, and new pathways found. It cherishes the innocence of youth and encourages us to seek that same magic in new ways throughout our lives.

    Meeting Frances and Elsie, following their wondrous adventures in the garden that seemed to attract more than its share of attention while learning how to deal with the world itself while at war, brought us back in time to those many many hours of uncertainty. The magic they captured, whether real or a work of serious artistic talent and a creative mind, gave people something to believe in when all else seemed so dark and treacherous...and really, where was the harm in that? Our present day introduction to Olivia was filled with heartbreak, heartache, and a feeling of both being lost and found all at the same time. She went on an unexpected journey of discovery and uncovered so many things that changed her in so many ways, and yet with all the changes, she honestly found her true self.

    A magical tale filled with heart, the importance of connections, and just the right amount of fairy dust.


    **copy received for review
  • (4/5)
    I started this one awhile ago and for some reason I put it down and read several other books instead. I’m not really sure why because I really enjoyed it. Must not have been the right time. I enjoyed the story of the infamous fairies that took the world by storm in a time of great strife after war. The flip flop of time lines was fun to go back and forth through. 4🌟
  • (4/5)
    This is a lovely book. It moves along at a steady pace but is never boring. The move between the two time periods is easy to follow. Very often with a book set in two different times, I find one part more interesting than the other. Not so with this book; I enjoyed both past and present story equally.
  • (5/5)
    I have been fascinated by the true story that took place in England in the early 1900s when pictures of two cousins with fairies was released to the public. (Google "Cottingley Fairies" for the scoop.) The story was later determined to be a hoax...or was it? This book, written by Hazel Gaynor, tells two stories that intersect: one at the time the fairies were spotted and another in the current day. I enjoyed both stories and how they intertwined. And I loved the ending. Keep in mind that this is fiction even though it's based on a true story.
  • (5/5)
    I rarely give a five-star review, but Hazel Gaynor nailed it with this one. A whimsical, delightful and playful account of a child in difficult times mixed in with an adult account of looking back upon those times in her eyes, seeing things in the perspective of a future generation. Lovely story and one of the most well-written books I've had the pleasure of reading. It is one that you finish reading, close the book, hold it to your chest, and just exhale and let the words soak in for a few minutes, while you smile. I recommend this book to, well, anyone. Really!
  • (4/5)
    Present day Ireland, Olivia is left a bookshop when her grandfather dies. She comes across a journal by a little girl named Francis and how she spent a summer with her cousin Elsie in Cottingley. 1917, Frances Griffiths goes with her mom to stay with her relatives in Cottingley a small Yorkshire village. Her time there is spent playing down by the beck where she sees the fairies.I can remember when I was a child seeing on tv about the Cottingley fairies and was intrigued. It's no spoiler to the story as it was declared that the two girls did fake the photographs of themselves playing with fairies.This book I found quite charming and magical. The story is told in two parts switching between Olivia and Frances. My favourite parts of the story was the chapters dedicated to Frances. The descriptions of the garden and the beck were wonderful and brought the story to life. I didn't care much for Olivia's story as I felt it was a little sugary. Both stories were connected and the secret revealed gave the ending a slight twist.The book overall was very charming but at times very wordy, but a lovely enchanting take on the real life story of two girls and there encounter with the fairies.
  • (5/5)
    I rarely give a five-star review, but Hazel Gaynor nailed it with this one. A whimsical, delightful and playful account of a child in difficult times mixed in with an adult account of looking back upon those times in her eyes, seeing things in the perspective of a future generation. Lovely story and one of the most well-written books I've had the pleasure of reading. It is one that you finish reading, close the book, hold it to your chest, and just exhale and let the words soak in for a few minutes, while you smile. I recommend this book to, well, anyone. Really!
  • (5/5)
    Do you believe in fairies? In 1917, in the midst of World War I, two girls from Cottingley, England believed in fairies and had the whole world believing with them. Cousins Frances Griffiths and Elsie Wright loved to play in the beck at the bottom of their garden and Frances began to see the magical creatures that have been rumored to live there. Fueled by the need for her family to believe, Elsie takes a staged picture with Frances and the fairies. The picture soon spreads and grabs the interest of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, making the girls and their fairies an international sensation. The two girl stuck to their stories of the pictures being real for decades. When the truth finally comes out, Frances shares her side of the story in a manuscript. One hundred years later, Olivia Kavanaugh finds Frances' manuscript at a turning point in her life. Olivia's grandfather has died, leaving her his antique bookstore, Something Old. When Olivia goes to the bookstore to get everything in order, she discovers the manuscript and begins reading Frances's story. Olivia also finds an interesting connection to Frances and her fairies in the manuscript along with the courage to make an important change in her life.I have always loved a good fairy tale, and The Cottingley Secret provides one that very well might be real! This was a perfect mix of history with a dash of magic. I loved the dual story line and that as Olivia read Frances' tale of discovery. Olivia not only discovered strength within herself through Frances, but she was able to connect further with her grandmother and past generations of her family. I enjoyed that Frances and Olivia shared a connection, but not in an obvious way. The writing captured me and transported me back to Cottingley in 1917 in order to relive Frances' fairy tale, I had no trouble picturing the idyllic beck that Frances and Elsie played in or the glimpses of fairies that visited. I also had no trouble picturing the Something Old bookshop filled with stories waiting to be read or its mysterious fairy window. Most of all, I loved that this book was filled with women who changed people's minds and beliefs with their sense of wonder. Frances and Elsie managed to give the world hope at a time of despair while Olivia made strides for herself and began to revitalize her community. Overall, a wonderful story of hope, secrets and magic. This book was received for free in return for an honest review.
  • (4/5)
    Whimsical, lyrical, a pure delight, and I fell into this magical story just like Alice falling into the rabbit hole. It is 1917 and Nine year old Frances and her mother leave South Africa for Cottingley, England to stay with family while her father fights in the war. There she find a cousin, Elsie, 16 who introduces Frances to the Beck. Despite their age difference the girls become fast friends, it is here there are said to be fairies. Here they will take pictures that seem to prove it, pictures that will haunt the girls for many years, even bringing Arthur Conan Doyle into their sphere. This is of course all true, historical happenings and the two girls were very real people.The made up portion of the story, 2017, O!ivias beloved grandfather has died, leaving her a dusty old bookstore in Ireland. I wish someone would leave me a dusty old bookstore, anywhere. In the bookshop she finds the pages of the girls story, but how are they connected to her? Beautiful, beautiful words, passages, fairies and magical happenings such as this "I think the books come alive at night when the shop is closed and the lights are turned out, I think they open their covers and fan out their pages like wings and start to fly. Imagine it. Hundreds of books, flapping their pages, soaring and swooping because they're so alive with stories they can't possibly sit still on the shelf."How can one not find that magical? Makes me smile. Plus, this is one of only a few with dual story lines where I enjoyed and liked them both. Took me back to a time of childhood, imagination and play, when time was meaningless. The authors note is so special, includes the facts and the photographs. Also, something that surprised but is a fantastic addition. Loved everything about this one.ARC from edelweiss.
  • (4/5)
    I really enjoyed this novel . As with most historical fiction, it has two timelines . The "past" is about the the English girls who claimed to photograph fairies in the 1910s . The modern story is about a young woman who uses the recent death and inherited bookstore of her grandfather to reevaluate her relationship with her fiance. The past story is well researched and both parts are compelling. Gaynor has given us yet another wonderful novel .
  • (5/5)
    Where do I begin, what do they say, every time you say you don't believe in fairies one dies? I don't want to be responsible for that! I'm Irish so I do believe there are things out there that make us look forward to brilliant days, sunny and colorful, and this book peeks into the past and present of truly magical wants. I have another book by Hazel Gaynor, The Memory of Violets, but haven't read it yet, I will now, her writing was so good. I loved her moving from past to present, she kept a nice pace and the characters were very well done. And yes, this was for the most part a ruse on the young girls part, it is part of a true story, but I will never say never. What's left if you don't have magic to believe in? Good job Hazel, please write more!
  • (3/5)
    This book was just way too wordy and descriptive for me.However,I appreciate all the research that went into the 100 year old,true story about the two young girls who say they photographed fairies.At that tie the world was so devastated by the loses n World War one that many were willing to cling to anything the hinted at the existence of the "spiritual" world. Guess the belief in fairies falls into that category. Even Arthur Conan Doyle was a staunch believer.The other part of the book is devoted to Olivia a young woman who is overwhelmed by her pushy,uptight fiancee and the whole exhausting,big wedding complex thing! When her grandfather dies he eaves her a bookstore she grew up being around. Oliviadiscovers a diary of sorts telling the whole story of the fairies sightings experience. I won't spoil the connection but Oivia really does come into her own with the whole get away from London experience in Ireland.This could probably be a really lush movie or TV drama.Thank you Early Reviewers.
  • (4/5)
    I really enjoyed this book. I loved learning about the Cottingley fairy pictures and both main characters, Frances and Olivia, were interesting and likeable. The author made Howth and Cottingley come alive with her beautiful descriptions of the landscape. I also liked that so much of Olivia's story takes place in an old bookshop. As an avid reader that shop sounded like a dream come true. I appreciated that there was a good love story in this book, but that ultimately connecting with her family and her past in order to be at peace was Olivia's priority. Having said that I loved the characters of Ross and Iris. I would highly recommend this book. It contains a lot of heartbreak but it left me with a very pleasant and hopeful feeling in the end.
  • (5/5)
    This is a wonderful book on the true story of two cousins who claimed to have photographed fairies in the glen near their home in England back in 1917. What starts as a harmless hoax, suddenly becomes a big event when word of the photographs spreads and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle even writes about the authenticity of the photographs.Part of the story takes place in modern times. Olivia finds an old manuscript in her late grandfather's bookstore. The book then goes back a hundred years ago to when Elsie and Frances took their photographs. It was really interesting to read about how these fairy photographs got started and how both girls really did not want all the attention that followed them. A fascinating read into how a nation still in mourning after the war was ready to believe in the magic of fairies.I received a complimentary copy from Librarything Early Reviewers.
  • (4/5)
    Enchanting blend of the historical and fictional aspect of real events occurring in 1917 in Cottingley, Yorkshire. Two young cousins claimed to have photographed fairies in their garden. The unwelcome notoriety of their harmless prank followed them throughput their lives. Olivia is the fictional present day protagonist, and the discovery of her family's ties to the photographs was a charming read. The actual photographs of the fairies filled people with a sense of wonder and hope during such uncertain times, and sometimes we just want to believe in the extraordinary.
  • (5/5)
    Easy read. Look forward to book club discussion. It was a good choice for discussion.
  • (5/5)
    I had NO IDEA there was "truth" in this story! I had never heard of the Cottingley fairies - a wonderful story that even Arthur Conan Doyle had some involvement in! When I first started reading I thought... UGH. Fairies... fantasy.. not for me. I LOVED THIS BOOK!
  • (4/5)
    Part fairy story, part historic drama, and part modern love story, this book is a delightful read. The writing is lovely and uplifting.
  • (4/5)
    Some time ago, after reading about the Cottigley fairies online, I read The Coming of the Fairies - The Cottingley Incident by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I have read various stories and articles, and so this was a choice I made enthusiastically. It can be very difficult to retell a story. buy Gaynore did a good job. Three stars is a good read. This is a book I'm glad that I chose to read.This is the story of Elsie and Frances and their shenanigans with the fairies. It's a new take on the story and it was well one. i particularly enjoyed reading the verbal exchanges between the two girls in private, and hearing their thoughts when alone. The back story of Olivia and the book shop was most likely my favorite part. I liked the freshness of it, and the characters, and the way that stories intertwined. I would recommend this to the right reader with no qualms at all.
  • (5/5)
    I received this book from LibraryThing's Early Reviewer program. I have read other books by Hazel Gaynor so was thrilled when I found out I had one this book. And after reading even more of a fan of Ms. Gaynor.The Cottingley Secret is a fictionalized account of the true story of two girls who take pictures of fairies, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's involvement and the controversy that results over a period of years. Ms. Gaynor gives two points-of-view, one from Olivia a woman of the present who is home in Ireland to take care of her recently-deceased grandfather's affairs and the other is from Frances, one of the girls caught up in the fairy controversy. What I loved most about this book was that I could hear the characters voices in my head, they all had such a clear presence. Of course as a long-time reader/believer in fairy tales and magic I loved the magic that was woven though out the book. Ms. Gaynor reminds us to live life and consider that faeries and magic can exist if we believe.
  • (5/5)
    "The Cottingley Secret" by Hazel Gaynor is one of those stories that stick with you long after you finish the last page. Bittersweet, haunting, enchanting, and magical are some of the words that come to mind when I think of this book. And, as a personal bonus for me, the theme of the book?the possibility of fairies being real?goes perfectly with the name of my blog! "The Cottingley Secret" tells two stories. One is the story of Olivia, who lives in present-day Ireland. She inherits a bookshop and finds a manuscript written by one of the two girls involved the Cottingley fairy incident. As Olivia reads the manuscript, we are transported back to 1917 in Cottingley England and are told the story of two girls who supposedly discover fairies and ?fool? the world. The story of the Cottingley fairies is based on a true story, which makes it even more fascinating. The characters and the story are very well written. Olivia needs to find the little girl inside of her and believe in that person. I love the journey that Olivia's character goes through emotionally and the decisions she makes as she evaluates her life and who she is. The story in 1917 also deals with beliefs and emotions. Believing in fairies gives people hope during the war and people need something to believe in; if fairies and the photographs are real, then anything is possible, such as the war coming to an end. It is such a dark time that people love the story of the fairies and it becomes a sensation, to the extent that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (author of the Sherlock Holmes books) believes and writes an article on the girls and their fairies. There are so many amazing themes and lessons that one can draw from "The Cottingley Secret." There is a theme of memories and still being the same person deep inside that you always were, even as a little girl and of believing in oneself. Ms. Gaynor's story brought to mind blissful memories of being of a little girl, believing in magic, and it encouraged me to find that little girl once again?to look at the world with wonder. I became so emotionally attached to this book that I didn't want it to end! Tell me in the comments: Do you believe in fairies?Content, Rating and Genre: This is a clean read. There are a few minor swear words. There is also a scene where characters get drunk. I give this book 5 stars! The genre is contemporary, historical, and women's fiction. I want to thank Hazel Gaynor, William Morrow and Dey Street and Harper Collins Publishers for the complimentary copy of this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I express in this review are my own. This is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission?s CFR 16, Part 255.
  • (5/5)
    In the midst of war, two young girls find mystery and magic that will come to shake the world.The Cottingley Secret, as the name hints, is a tale about the two young girls of Cottingley who photographer fairies on summer in the middle of the Great War. This story is actually two in one. Part follows Frances, as she recounts her experiences that summer via a manuscript. The other follows Olivia, who’s in Ireland after her grandfather passed. She has inherited his bookshop, Something Old, and his house. Olivia has also inherited Frances’ manuscript. As she gets the shop in order, cleans out the house and puts it to market, and makes frequent visits to see her Nana, who lives in a faculty for dementia, Olivia rads the manuscript, and struggles to find herself. She's trapped in an impending marriage that she knows will fail. Can fairy magic of ages past help set Olivia free?This book made me cry in several places. I empathize with Olivia, not having the chance to speak to her grandparents about their younger years. You always mean to, feel for sure there'll be time, and there is...til there isn't. I wish I had learned more of my grandmother's time growing up in a large family, of my grandfather's time during WWII, and Korea, of the young family that shaped my father's personality. All three are gone now, and that door has closed. It is a book with the weight of history to it, for while Olivia’s story may not be part of our world, Frances and Elsie certainly were. I gained a greater appreciation for the historical dynamics behind why these photos garnered so much attention, and belief they were real was so strong. It gave me a greater understanding of why Sir Arthur Conan Doyle endorsed the photos, for I've always struggled to reconcile how the man who introduced us to Sherlock Holmes could bounce so far the other direction, from logic to whimsy.People needed wonder, beauty, and innocence to cling to during/ after the Great War, and many found it in the notion of fairies. Yes, the photos may have been a hoax, but I believe Frances’ story, that she really saw something wondrous that summer. Something fragile and precious. And it's what Olivia needed as well. She found courage and grace, and learned to trust her intuition. This saved her from a loveless marriage of 'safety’ on convenience. It allowed her to reclaim part of her lost heritage, as she learned of Mrs Hogan and Aisling. Sidenote- I love that the name Aisling was used. It is the Gaelic form of my Welsh-derived name- Aislynn. It means 'dream, vision’, and was so appropriate to this story.Both stories were equally captivating, and I thoroughly lost myself reading this book. You are left to decide for yourself if the fairy magick is real. I believe! (This would be a great book club reading choice, especially for historical fiction.)***This book was reviewed for the Manhattan Book Review.
  • (5/5)
    Can Olivia have some connection to Elsie and Frances who lived 100 years ago? Can Olivia find it?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.ENJOY!! 5/5This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.
  • (5/5)
    The Cottingley Secret cements Hazel Gaynor’s position as one of my favorite authors. I loved The Girl Who Came Home and A Memory of Violets, and The Cottingley Secret is equally outstanding. For years I have been fascinated with the English girls, Elise Wright and Frances Griffiths, who in 1917 claimed they photographed fairies in their backyard and the resulting notoriety they achieved. While I was familiar with the basic facts of the event, Gaynor recreates their story and fills in the details including that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle believed the photographs were authentic and helped spread their tale to the rest of England. Gaynor tells the tale in a dual timeline format which works very well for The Cottingley Secret. Olivia lives in the present day and, after the recent loss of her grandfather, returns to Ireland to manage the book shop she inherited, called Something Old, and attempt to straighten out her own life. She finds a manuscript written by Frances Griffiths and slowly becomes fascinated with the girls’ fairy tale (see my pun there?). The second story begins in 1917 when Frances and her mother come to stay with Elsie and her family during the Great War. The girls form a close bond and enjoy spending time down at the beck where Frances believes she sees fairies. She eventually confides in Elsie who concocts the idea that the girls should photograph the fairies, and the tale takes off from there – I cannot say anymore because I do not want to spoil this beautiful story. The two storylines eventually intertwine in a highly satisfying manner. I was amazed at the depth of the tale and fascinated that Gaynor was able to meet and speak at length with Frances’ daughter. I loved immersing myself in this enchanting and intriguing tale and highly recommend it to anyone looking for a feel good and magical book. I received an advance review copy of this book from the Great Thoughts’ Ninja Review Team. All opinions are my own.
  • (4/5)
    The Cottingley Secret by Hazel Gaynor is a 2017 William Morrow Paperbacks publication. Charming and magical-This novel is based on the real events surrounding a group of photographs taken by sixteen year old Elsie Wright and her nine year old cousin, Frances Griffiths, in Cottingley, England in 1917. The photographs allegedly captured images of fairies at the Cottingley Beck, a stream where the two girls often played. The photos garnered the attention of Sherlock Holmes author, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who featured the story in ‘The Strand Magazine’, in 1920. For years the public debated whether or not the photos were genuine, or if it was all a big hoax. This novel tells a fictional account of Elsie and Frances, and their adventures, alongside the current day story of Olivia Kavanagh, a woman who has come to set her grandparents affairs in order after the death of her grandfather. Olivia is engaged, with a life back in London, but after inheriting her grandfather’s bookstore, she begins to reassess her life and decides to stay and manage the bookstore, unable to bring herself to sell it. But, along with the bookshop, Olivia’s grandfather left behind a manuscript written by Frances Griffiths, in which she details what really happened back in 1917, and puts to rest, the question regarding the one photo Frances insists is the real deal. This is a delightful and fanciful accounting of Elsie and Frances' life story, and how they gave the gift of hope and a little bit of magic to people during the dark and bleak days of world war one. It is fascinating to me how people seized hold of the possibility that the fairies did indeed exist and could be captured on film. I think there is a bit of psychology behind that, with world war one raging in the background. I also enjoyed the way the story unfolded bit by bit through the eyes of Olivia, who has found the courage to rediscover her true self and in so doing, finds that maybe, just maybe, believing in fairies and magic might not be a bad thing, after all. For me, this story occasionally had a sad and bittersweet tone, but mostly it was sweet and whimsical, and I enjoyed immersing myself in the dual time lines, allowing myself to be swept away by the history and even felt a slight tingle of magic along the way, so much so, I might have become a bit of a believer, myself. Although this novel is mostly conjecture, I think the author captured the atmosphere perfectly and built an interesting story around true events. I have since done a few Google searches on the Cottingley fairies. It’s an amazing story that captured the public’s imagination for decades. I think the time and place had a lot to do with why those pictures became such a phenomenon, but that the the myth persisted as long as it did is what makes the story so captivating. Overall, I think what makes the story work, is the reminder that sometimes believing in something gives it a certain power, regardless of how fantastical, and sometimes, something fantastical can give people real hope, and that magic comes in many forms.4 stars
  • (4/5)
    Review based on ARC (Advanced Reader's Copy received for free in exchange for an honest review). This is one of those books that explores a historical event---in this case, one that happens to be true---from the perspective of a present day woman exploring her past and coming to terms with her life. The historical event is the photographing of fairies by Frances Griffiths and her cousin Elsie Wright in Cottingley. Starting in the early 1920s, Frances and Elsie sparked worldwide interest and debate regarding both whether fairies are real and, in any case, whether they'd in fact been photographed by the girls. This book considers the perspective of Frances in the form of a memoir read by someone (Olivia) in present time. (Exactly 100 years after Frances first saw the fairies in 1917.)Olivia is a young woman who has just lost her grandfather and is attending his funeral in Ireland. He has left her the memoir in his passing, along with his house, his bookstore, the care of her grandmother with Alzheimer's, and some debt that he'd failed to mention. Olivia unfortunately has a bit of a jerk of a fiancé back in London and a life there that she's increasingly interested in abandoning. As Olivia reads the memoirs to herself and her grandmother, she learns more about what matters and what is really important in life, not to mention the Cottingley secret and perhaps even a snippet of her own ancestry. It was an interesting story, well told and pretty well paced. I often didn't love Gaynor's use of metaphor -- what others have found poetic, I have found clunky and oddly cliched (the metaphors seemed to highlight the cliched feelings/thoughts in their attempt to obfuscate them). I also found some of the contradictions annoying (the biggest one being that the memoir was left for Olivia in a package from her grandfather, as noted in the beginning, and discovered by Olivia in the store after is passing, as stated about halfway through). But overall, despite these hitches, I still found the book enjoyable and interesting. I also thought Gaynor did a great job with the family dynamics and reveals. I almost found Olivia's story more interesting than Frances... it was nice that the story (Olivia's) created for the purpose of exploring a different story (Frances) was independently interesting and engaging. So all in all, some history, light romance, fairies, family and self discovery, and a quaint Irish seaside town made for an enjoyable read. I wish we rated books on a 10-point scale. Because it's not a 6 (the equivalent of a 3/5), but it's not an 8 either. It's about a 7, maybe a little higher. Because it was an enjoyable read, I'll round to the next up: 4.
  • (5/5)
     MY REVIEW OF "THE COTTINGLEY SECRET' by Hazel GaynorI 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.
  • (3/5)
    I wasn't interested in the present day story.