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?
Audio 10 hours, 9 minutes
Paperback, 383 pages
Published August 1st, 2017
by William Morrow
I thought that Hazel Gaynor was a relatively new author for me, but in going back I see there are 3 of her books I have already read - see below for covers with links. The Cottingley Secret piqued my interest not just for the stunning cover but the interesting plot. It's one of the treads in her books that I enjoy, those unknown pieces of history that make for unique stories.
Told in dual time periods the author takes us back to 1917 in a little place called Cottingley during World War 1. Drawing on real historical events and the story of 2 young girls and fairies, was it real or a hoax? Even the famous Sir Arthur Conan Doyle got involved (though only with cameos throughout).
I loved the quaint little villages, the easy way of life but with these smaller places everyone knows everyone and their story.
The current story is a journey for Olivia as she comes to grip with her future while discovering a past she knew nothing about. I enjoyed taking this journey with her as she came into her own.
The Cottingley Secret is a story of self-discovery, of secrets and friendship, it isn't filled with insta- love which I really appreciated.
Though I went with the audiobook I followed along with my print copy and is part of my 2019 reading off my shelf challenge: