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Friday, September 1, 2017

The Cottingley Secret

Do you believe in fairies?

There are those that believe that just because you might have never seen them, doesn't mean they don't exist, even for those who have claimed to have seen them.

Until I picked up The Cottingley Secret by Hazel Gaynor, I had never heard of the Cottingley fairies and thus this is what excited me about this book. It is written in two time periods, one present day and the other a story read by the present day Olivia Kavanagh about the two young girls who played a prank that last more than 70 years. The story was written by Frances Griffiths in 1917-1924 which later became its own published work entitled Notes on a Fairy Tale. It would be published until many years later but it was the story of how Frances first found the fairies while sitting in a beck near a waterfall and caught them out of the corner of her eye. She knew without proof no one would believe her and like most 9-year-old girls at the time, she desperately wanted to tell her oldest cousin Elsie.

It was Elsie's idea to stage a stunt using her talented artistic skills in creating such life like details of fairies and stage a photo to look like Frances was interacting with them right in front of her. It was enough to convince her Aunt and Uncle as well as her own mother that fairies did exist and just outside their back door. For others in the Cottingley village it gave them hope at a time when the world was dealing with the war not knowing if husbands, fathers or sons would be returning. It is the very reason that Frances and her mother came to stay at the Cottingley cottage. To wait out the return of her father and husband from the war going on. Even well reknown Arthur Conan Doyle was convinced that the photographs of the fairies were proof they existed.

As Olivia Kavanagh takes over the inheritance left to her by her grandfather, an old bookstore with the name of Something Old, it is a place that draws a different life for Olivia. Believing that her future is already planned out with a future fiancè in London, she finds herself more drawn into the fairy story that she is reading bit by bit along with visiting her grandmother in a nursing home suffering from dementia whose time is very limited. She only hopes that in the weeks to come she can make headway to figure out how to make the bookstore profitable again and what to do with the blue cottage that her grandparents made a life together in. She is slowly running out of time, if only magic was real and the wishes of fairies could make it all better.

I received The Cottingley Secret by Hazel Gaynor compliments of William Morrow, a division of Harper Collins Publishers. This is such an enchanting book from falling in love with all the things you'd be expected to find in an old bookstore to the enchanted life of two girls looking for magic and hope in world filled with fear and uncertainty. I really LOVED this entire book and the way it toggled between the time periods drew me in even further. The details that follow in the author notes and the photos that captivated a world during the war really completed the entire story for me. It does beg to ask the question, do you believe in fairies? There are plenty of people on both sides that could argue their point very convincingly, but just because you don't see it, doesn't mean it doesn't exist. For me, this one easily garners a 5 out of 5 stars in my opinion. There are some great insights and discussion questions at the conclusion of this novel that would make it a definite book club selection and one for my permanent shelf.

For more information about The Cottingley Secret, Hazel Gaynor, or where you can pick up a copy of this book today, please click on the links below:

You can find Hazel Gaynor on Facebook to stay up to date on all her latest novels.

To read more reviews on The Cottingley Secret, please visit Harper Collins Publisher's website. 

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