• Hardcover: 416 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow (August 1, 2017)
“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
One of BookBub’s Most-Anticipated Books of Summer 2017!
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?
HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
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.
HAZEL GAYNOR is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of A Memory of Violets and The Girl Who Came Home, for which she received the 2015 RNA Historical Novel of the Year award. Her third novel The Girl from the Savoy was an Irish Times and Globe & Mail Canada bestseller, and was shortlisted for the BGE Irish Book Awards Popular Fiction Book of the Year. The Cottingley Secret and Last Christmas in Paris will be published in 2017.
Hazel was selected by US Library Journal as one of ‘Ten Big Breakout Authors’ for 2015 and her work has been translated into several languages.
Originally from Yorkshire, England, Hazel now lives in Ireland.
Find out more about Hazel at her website, and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.