Be glad in the Lord and rejoice! Psalm 32:11

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Book Review - The Cottingley Secret by Hazel Gaynor

The Cottingley Secret: A Novel

About The Book:

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?

My Thoughts:

I have always been fascinated by the stories of the English Cottingley fairies and the two girls who claimed to have played and communicated with the tiny beings. So I was thrilled to be able to review Hazel Gaynor's "The Cottingley Secret," which has been released in time for the 100th anniversary of the first photographs.

Gaynor does a brilliant job of combining the famed stories of the past that surrounded the fascinating photos, and the present day story of Olivia Kavanaugh and the mysterious secrets she inherited when her grandfather passed his beloved bookstore into her hands.

Image result for cottingley fairies
Frances and The Fairy Ring

I admired the character of Olivia - she takes what seems to be a daunting task of settling her grandfather's estate and finds that she has, in a sense, come home to where she really belongs.

I also enjoyed the stories that featured the young girls, Frances and Elsie, who originally claimed to play with the fairies, and for a time, enchanted a war-torn England with a little bit of cheer in a very dreary world.

Switching the stories back and forth, from the past to the present, keeps the reader engaged throughout the book, and I give Hazel Gaynor well-earned props for creating a thoroughly entertaining read. 

I highly recommend "The Cottingley Secret"!

Image result for cottingley fairies
Frances and the Leaping Fairy

About The Author:

Hazel Gaynor is a New York Times bestselling, award-winning author, who lives in County Kildare, Ireland with her husband and two children. Her 2014 debut historical novel The Girl Who Came Home—A Novel of the Titanic hit the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists, and went on to win the 2015 Historical Novel of the Year award from the Romantic Novelists’ Association in London. Her second novel A Memory of Violets, was also a New York Times bestseller, and her third, The Girl from The Savoy was an Irish Times and Globe & Mail bestseller. The book was also a finalist for the 2016 Irish Book Awards. All Hazel’s novels have been received to critical-acclaim and have been translated into a number of foreign languages. Her forthcoming titles in 2017 – The Cottingley Secret (August) and Last Christmas in Paris (October, co-written with Heather Webb) have already received an impressive array of early reviews.

My thanks to William Morrow for providing the review copy of this book. I was not compensated for my opinions.

Follow on Bloglovin


Mystica said...

Nice review of an unusual book!

Sharon Galligar Chance said...

Thanks Mystica! I appreciate you stopping by! Glad you still remember me! :)