The Cottingley Secret
“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 DressmakerOne 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? 

The Cottingley Secret Details

TitleThe Cottingley Secret
Author
FormatPaperback
ReleaseAug 1st, 2017
PublisherWilliam Morrow Paperbacks
ISBN006249984X
ISBN-139780062499844
Number of pages416 pages
Rating
GenreHistorical, Fantasy, Fiction, Magical Realism, Adult

The Cottingley Secret Review

  • Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews
    July 2, 2017
    FULL REVIEW WILL BE ON AUGUST 1.An excerpt from my review is below:"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."
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  • Heather Webb
    February 21, 2017
    With lyrical prose, Gaynor captures the vivid imagination of two young girls, their journey through a world of lush forest and glittering streams and the magic that lies therein--an escape from the difficult realities of family life and WWI era England. I was utterly transported to the enchanting countryside of 1917 Yorkshire, and then again to Olivia's world in a quaint village in contemporary Ireland. In The Cottingley Secret, Gaynor asks us the question we all have buried somewhere in our hea With lyrical prose, Gaynor captures the vivid imagination of two young girls, their journey through a world of lush forest and glittering streams and the magic that lies therein--an escape from the difficult realities of family life and WWI era England. I was utterly transported to the enchanting countryside of 1917 Yorkshire, and then again to Olivia's world in a quaint village in contemporary Ireland. In The Cottingley Secret, Gaynor asks us the question we all have buried somewhere in our hearts-- is believing in ourselves, perhaps, the most important magic of all?
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  • Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
    June 28, 2017
    To be reviewed over at Fresh Fiction!
  • Angie
    June 1, 2017
    4.5 starsThis was a delightful read, drawing me in instantly and keeping me hooked the whole time! Frances was an enchanting narrator, I loved hearing things through her and seeing it as she did. My knowledge of the Cottingley fairies & pictures was very minimal previous to this. I, like any fairy-loving human, loved the way Hazel Gaynor wrote this book, making all the descriptions so vivid and lifelike, yet still giving us the ability to use our own imagination. There is also a contemporary 4.5 starsThis was a delightful read, drawing me in instantly and keeping me hooked the whole time! Frances was an enchanting narrator, I loved hearing things through her and seeing it as she did. My knowledge of the Cottingley fairies & pictures was very minimal previous to this. I, like any fairy-loving human, loved the way Hazel Gaynor wrote this book, making all the descriptions so vivid and lifelike, yet still giving us the ability to use our own imagination. There is also a contemporary storyline, involving Olivia who is at a crossroads in her life. She has some hard decisions to make and her grandpa's old bookshop is a safe haven for her. Her story is also compelling and how hers intersects with Frances & Elsie's is heartwarming. Again, Frances was the key to this success of this novel! She evoked sympathy & empathy the whole time. You could imagine yourself in her shoes and what you would do. The author did an awesome job of laying out the facts without any "blame" or ill will. I enjoyed the bonus material at the end, and even did a little research of my own after finishing it. I'm so enthused with it, I plan to do additional reading. Highly recommended to historical fiction fans!**Many thanks to the GoodReads FirstReads program for a copy to read and honestly review!**
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  • Nancy Baker
    June 28, 2017
    This was my second book by this author (the first being The Girl Who Came Home). They bear a striking resemblance but perhaps it is her style of writing. They are both historical fiction stories, both tie together a story from the past (one from 1912 and this one from 1917) with a present day person and both have female protagonists who are crying out for absolution. The main difference is that in The Girl Who Came Home her difficulty was the realization that due to an international disaster tha This was my second book by this author (the first being The Girl Who Came Home). They bear a striking resemblance but perhaps it is her style of writing. They are both historical fiction stories, both tie together a story from the past (one from 1912 and this one from 1917) with a present day person and both have female protagonists who are crying out for absolution. The main difference is that in The Girl Who Came Home her difficulty was the realization that due to an international disaster that she had no control over, she survived while others did not. But in The Cottingley Secret, two girls created a controversy that hung over their heads and in the air for nearly 70 years - a situation they could have resolved but didn't. Two girls, one camera, artistically drawn fairies and what started as an innocent prank sparks intrigue, accusations, lies and guilt to create a storm cloud over the heads of young Elsie and Frances that steadily rain down no matter how far they try to separate themselves from its path. One of the worlds greatest mystery writers, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, even got swept up in the mystic of the photographs vowing them authentic and wrote articles about them in the "Strand". I loved the stories of old with Elsie and Frances and recommend that future readers of the story do a bit of research about the fairy pictures before starting the book. I was impressed how two young girls were able to pull off such a story for so many years and my heart ached for the torture their souls must have endured for continually having to keep up with the lie. And yet there is a part of me that was enchanted by the possibility of a magical world unknown to us and I can only imagine what hope it must have instilled to those so affected by the war back then. I can only compare it to our beliefs and infatuation with Santa as children. While it was earth shattering to finally uncover the truth, you can never escape the many years of joy, anticipation, excitement and sheer pleasure we received by the image of this mythical man. If it created joyful memories of our childhood, how bad could the deceit have been? In the end, for Elsie and Frances, if it brought a day of pleasure for others, a day that redirected sorrow into the light of happiness, if it instilled hope of greater things to come then how wrong could it be? But for the creators of the lie, the perpetrators of the scam was the burden of the truth worth the publicity it created? I suppose one just has to ask, "What price glory?"I received this book free of charge for an honest review. I'm glad I had the opportunity to read the story that lay within.
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  • Susan Peterson
    July 7, 2017
    There is nothing better than finishing a book with a smile on my face, filled with the warmth and heart of a wonderful story. The Cottingley Secret is a beautifully written book, filled with captivating images and ideas. This is a story that you can totally immerse yourself in, a fairy tale of sorts, where you can shake off the pressures of the day and escape in a world of magic. This book is enchanting, filled with love, and truly delightful. I received an advance review copy of this book from There is nothing better than finishing a book with a smile on my face, filled with the warmth and heart of a wonderful story. The Cottingley Secret is a beautifully written book, filled with captivating images and ideas. This is a story that you can totally immerse yourself in, a fairy tale of sorts, where you can shake off the pressures of the day and escape in a world of magic. This book is enchanting, filled with love, and truly delightful. I received an advance review copy of this book from the Great Thought's Ninja Review Team. All opinions are my own.
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  • Letty
    July 5, 2017
    I have to admit that I did not know anything about the Cottingley Fairies until I started reading The Cottingley Secret and realized it is actually a true story. This book is beautifully written and so magical! Knowing that the characters of Frances and Elsie were real made it so much more charming. I loved how it was written in dual times--during 1917-1920 to the present. I imagined myself being in the Cottingley Beck listening to the sound of the waterfall, reading a book and waiting for somet I have to admit that I did not know anything about the Cottingley Fairies until I started reading The Cottingley Secret and realized it is actually a true story. This book is beautifully written and so magical! Knowing that the characters of Frances and Elsie were real made it so much more charming. I loved how it was written in dual times--during 1917-1920 to the present. I imagined myself being in the Cottingley Beck listening to the sound of the waterfall, reading a book and waiting for something magical to happen, like fairies appearing. Not only did I love Frances and Elsie but I also enjoyed Olivia's story of inheriting her grandfather's bookstore in current day Ireland (what a dream to inherit a bookstore), struggling a bit on whether she should marry her fiance, Jack, or stay in Ireland to run her grandfather's bookstore, and actually finding Frances' written story about her time with Elsie and the fairies in Yorkshire. I adored this book and will be recommending it to as many people as I can.I received an advance review copy of this book from the Great Thought's Ninja Review Team. All opinions are my own.
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  • Mary
    May 28, 2017
    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 hom 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.
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  • Emily
    June 24, 2017
    [Disclaimer: I received this book for free after winning a giveaway from Goodreads through the book's publishers, and in exchange am writing an honest and fair review. All thoughts and opinions are my own]I had heard of the Cottingley fairy photographs when I was younger, and I remember being so intrigued by the photograph of Frances, posing with her chin in her hand, staring slightly off camera while small fairies danced in the foreground. The idea to a young little girl that fairies could poss [Disclaimer: I received this book for free after winning a giveaway from Goodreads through the book's publishers, and in exchange am writing an honest and fair review. All thoughts and opinions are my own]I had heard of the Cottingley fairy photographs when I was younger, and I remember being so intrigued by the photograph of Frances, posing with her chin in her hand, staring slightly off camera while small fairies danced in the foreground. The idea to a young little girl that fairies could possibly be real was the most magical thought I could ever imagine and I wished with all my heart that it was true. Then I learned it wasn't true and I remember being so disappointed when I found out it was all just a hoax by two girls (but I wasn't the only one who was fooled!). But when I learned that author Hazel Gaynor wrote a historical fiction account of the girls behind the (in)famous photographs, I knew I had to read it and review it. Would it be a fictional account of two girls and their rationale behind one of the biggest hoaxes ever? Or would the book have us believe that the girls were telling the truth and fairies were/are -gasp- real? For those who don't know, the tale of Frances Griffith and her cousin Elsie's photographs of supposed real fairies back in 1917 (and also took a few more pictures of the fairies and gnomes over the years) in the English countryside actually happened. Those series of photographs taken by the two young girls took the world by storm, and made believers of even famed author and spiritualist Sir Arthur Conan Doyle during the dire days after World War I. After years of Frances and Elsie sticking to their story of the fairy photographs being real, they finally revealed in the 1970's that the photos were faked (they used cut out pictures of fairies and gnomes and used hat pins to pin them to the ground). All except for the last photo which they've claimed was the only real photograph out of all of the pictures they took over the years.The story is told through two seemingly unconnected stories, told one hundred years apart. In 2017 Olivia, a lost in life 30-something year old who works as a bookbinder in London and is unhappily engaged to a man she knows she doesn't want to spend the rest of her life with. After her mother died when Olivia was young, she was raised by her grandparents in Ireland where her grandfather owned a secondhand bookstore, Something Old. Now her beloved grandfather has died, and she heads back home to check on her grandmother, who's suffering from Alzheimer's and living in an assisted care living house, and to see to Something Old, which her grandfather left her. Going back to Ireland seems like the perfect excuse to get away from her approaching marriage and the left she knows deep down she doesn't want, but when she reads a typed, hand-bound manuscript of Frances Griffith's "Notes On a Fairy Tale," a family heirloom that has been handed down from the women in her family over the years and something her grandfather sent her before he passed, Olivia soon discovers a magical piece of history that connects the Cottingley fairy photographs and Frances to her family and to the mother she lost when she was so young- possibly with a hint of fairy magic.The book then switches to Frances' unpublished written account starting in 1917, of Frances' move with her mother from South Africa to Cottingley, England, to live with her aunt, uncle, and cousin, after her father leaves to fight in World War I. There, while she misses her father and South Africa, she bonds with her older cousin Elsie, and discovers a small hidden garden in the woods, with a flowing stream. Drawn to that lush, green garden and beck, one warm afternoon she discovers some tiny, creatures flying in the garden from the corner of her eye. Frances is determined to keep it all a secret, her little secret, even from her beloved cousin Elsie. But as Frances is reminded by her favorite teacher Mrs. Hogan, secrets have a way of coming out, and with the gloom and depression that hangs over the families worried about their loved ones during the first World War, the idea of fairies seems like such a light in the unbelievable darkness and soon enchants the world- whether Frances wants it to or not.Both stories were interconnected, emotional, and incredibly moving and relatable, and completely swept me away in the most unexpected, wonderful way. Hazel Gaynor's writing is simple and easy to read, which keeps the story moving between Frances and Olivia at a steady pace but lush and emotional when it needs to be. The descriptions of the English countryside were lovely, and I could perfectly envision the green garden and woods where the fairies supposedly flew. The historical events and figures combined with Gaynor's own interpretation of what Frances and Elsie felt when members of the Theosophical Society in London and photography experts come to investigate these intriguing Yorkshire fairy photographs, were combined with realistic ease, as two frustrated young girls just wanted to live their lives and keep a secret, while the whole world searched and prodded for an answer only Frances ultimately knew. And Olivia's very real struggles, of being lost in love and in life, is incredibly relatable, and unlike a lot of other main characters in other modern fiction novels, you aren't annoyed or frustrated with her decisions or lack there of. You want her to succeed, to find out what she wants in life, and to be happy, and are grateful for the discovery of Frances' hand-written memoir that sets a series of events into motion for Olivia and ultimately changes her life.Though there were only two main characters in the book, Olivia and Frances, who were both compelling and very relatable, it was the secondary characters for me that really made the book. Frances' cousin Elsie, aunt, uncle, and her teacher Mrs. Hogan, to Olivia's grandparents, her grandparent's old friend and now Olivia's mentor, Henry Blake, and handsome local writer and frequent bookstore customer Ross and his young daughter Iris all made the book come alive and bloom, adding even more depth and heart to it's already two charming protagonists. Even the bookstore, Something Old, brings along it's own rustic charm, filled with books that hold so many stories, through their old typed word and past lives of their old owners, to the large storefront window where some seemingly magical flowers start to bloom around a fairy door Iris places there and draws customers to the store. All of these elements- human characters, secret family history, romance, the lush English and Irish countryside, and the idea of fairies- all blend together to make one of the most charming and captivating stories I've read in a long, long time. It's not very often a book literally encapsulates the word "enchanting," without actually being a sweeping fantasy novel, but The Cottingley Secret pulls it off and then some.Should You Read It: In my honest opinion, if you love historical fiction with a hint of fantasy (aka the idea of fairies, not some grandiose novel set in another land with human/dragon shapeshifters), I think you'll love The Cottingley Secret. I seriously could not put it down and was swept away with the story and imagery and characters. This will probably be the book that I recommend the most to people this year, so do yourself a favor and read it so I won't bother you about reading it! (You're welcome in advance!) Because we all need the idea of fairies and magic in our lives, don't we? (I'll answer for you: we do!)Review originally posted on: www.thatweirdgirllife.blogspot.com
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  • Bridget Vollmer
    July 23, 2017
    This book was simply magical. The story behind the Cottingley Fairies has always fascinated me and I was so excited when I won the GR giveaway for this book. Hazel Gaynor did a superb job of weaving the past and present together into a beautiful story of finding hope in a hopeless time and one woman's journey to self discovery.If you are a fan of magical realism and historical fiction, I highly recommend reading this one.
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  • Kathryn
    March 21, 2017
    I am thrilled to win this book through the First Reads program. Like so many before me, I have been enthralled with the picture of the Cottingley fairies. Can't wait to read this book!
  • Linda Zagon
    July 10, 2017
     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 p  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.
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  • Michelegg
    July 31, 2017
    I have read a lot of books based on World War II lately. This book takes place in that time period as well, but it's a whole different creature, literally. It is magic and goodness and light and wonderful and I loved seeing this side of that very dark and bleak time period.I fell in love with the characters in this book, especially Olivia. She was so well written and I came to adore her and the choices she made in her life. She made my heart happy in her little bookstore in Ireland. The writing I have read a lot of books based on World War II lately. This book takes place in that time period as well, but it's a whole different creature, literally. It is magic and goodness and light and wonderful and I loved seeing this side of that very dark and bleak time period.I fell in love with the characters in this book, especially Olivia. She was so well written and I came to adore her and the choices she made in her life. She made my heart happy in her little bookstore in Ireland. The writing is just brilliant, the descriptions of time and place were perfection and placed me right in England and Ireland in both time periods, past and present.I highly recommend this book to lovers of magic and fairies and those who love a brilliantly written book that transports you to the past and helps you appreciate the magic of the present as well. This is a fabulous one.
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  • Stacie (MagicOfBooks)
    June 8, 2017
    I will also do a video review here at my channel: http://www.youtube.com/magicofbooksStarting in 1917, "The Cottingley Secret" by Hazel Gaynor tells the story of cousins Frances Griffiths and Elsie Wright who claim to have photographed fairies in their garden. At first it is a harmless prank to trick their parents, but once the photographs become a national sensation, the girls dare not reveal the truth of the photos. "The Cottingley Secret" is a novel about the power of stories and the blurring I will also do a video review here at my channel: http://www.youtube.com/magicofbooksStarting in 1917, "The Cottingley Secret" by Hazel Gaynor tells the story of cousins Frances Griffiths and Elsie Wright who claim to have photographed fairies in their garden. At first it is a harmless prank to trick their parents, but once the photographs become a national sensation, the girls dare not reveal the truth of the photos. "The Cottingley Secret" is a novel about the power of stories and the blurring of lines between imagination and reality.First, I won this book from Goodreads.This was a charming novel. I think most people are familiar on some level about the Cottingley fairies and have most likely seen the photos. I think what most people don't know about is the details, which is what this novel does. I have seen the photos, and I was always of the opinion, "jeez, these spoiled girls were just screaming for attention." But this novel gave me a whole new perspective that I didn't think about. The novel starts in 1917, World War I is raging, and England is coping with the death toll. The world has lost it's belief in fairytales and happy-ever-afters. And that's the role these photos play during this time: it inspired belief and the hope that maybe there is something else out there, another realm, that maybe our departed loved ones reside somewhere. At first, cousins Frances and Elsie want to trick their parents, and the trick works. Frances and Elsie keep up the lie, even once their photos become national sensations, even sparking the interest of "Sherlock Holmes" creator, Arthur Conan Doyle. I really enjoyed what this novel was doing, especially living in a time where we as a human race have become so cynical and we don't believe believe in fairytales anymore. This novel is about the power of storytelling, the joy and hope that a story can provoke, even if that story is a little white lie. And it's also a novel about self-discovery, and self-belief, which is seen through Frances as she ages, but also seen in the character of Olivia who is a modern character living in Ireland as she comes back to take over her deceased grandfather's bookshop. Olivia has a connection to the Cottingley fairies that gets explored over the course of the novel in interesting ways. Her journey parallels nicely to the cousins in some ways because, since she is a modern woman, Olivia can be rather cynical, she lacks belief and hope, may be suffering from depression, and as she learns more and more about the fairies and Elsie and Frances, she gathers inspiration and belief in herself and the things she never thought she was capable of. Though I did prefer the historical setting with Frances/Elsie, I did find myself enjoying (and relating) to Olivia's story as well and how that connected to Frances/Elsie. At first I didn't understand the point of Olivia's story, because everytime it went to her, I always wanted it to go back to the girls, but I eventually understood Olivia's story and it's placement in the narrative.Overall, I recommend this book, especially for lovers of books and lovers of fairytales. There's something so charming and magical about this book that I think many readers can appreciate.
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  • Melanie Coombes
    June 21, 2017
    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 E 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.
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  • Morgan
    May 27, 2017
    Firstly, I have to say this is my third Hazel Gaynor novel--my first, and still favorite being The Girl Who Came Home. The Cottingley Secret is Gaynor's fourth novel, and is based in part on real events in a small village in Yorkshire during World War I. At that time, 2 young girls photographed themselves with "fairies" and became somewhat famous, even getting Arthur Conan Doyle in on it (as a staunch believer in fairies!). The novel goes back and forth between 2 time periods--present day Irelan Firstly, I have to say this is my third Hazel Gaynor novel--my first, and still favorite being The Girl Who Came Home. The Cottingley Secret is Gaynor's fourth novel, and is based in part on real events in a small village in Yorkshire during World War I. At that time, 2 young girls photographed themselves with "fairies" and became somewhat famous, even getting Arthur Conan Doyle in on it (as a staunch believer in fairies!). The novel goes back and forth between 2 time periods--present day Ireland, with the fictional character of Olivia as protagonist, and WWI via a manuscript written by Frances, one of the 2 girls involved in the fairy photographs. I will say it was not entirely clear to me whether Frances wrote some of the journal during the events, as it was written in present tense, or whether it was written later as a story from her perspective. You get Frances' story from Olivia reading the manuscript, so that doesn't make it any more clear. As the novel progresses, you get hints as to how Olivia's life and family intersects with Frances' and why that is important to Olivia as she navigates her new reality after her grandfather's death, finding out she gets his bookshop, and her desire to end her engagement to her fiance all while caring for her Nana, who has Alzheimer's. I'm not going to say a whole lot more about the plot as I think it would end up spoiling any surprises, and I'm not entirely sure the best way to summarize it in the first place. I will say, however, that I thought it was a pleasant ending, the story was entertaining, Olivia's conflict relatively engaging, and the backstory quite fascinating. The extra notes in the back of the book include copies of the photographs made famous in 1917, as well as information about the Cottingley Fairies. The blending of fictional characters with real people (fictionally written however) was fun, but got to be a little bit too wordy in places (sort of like I feel this review will be if I don't stop). Overall the novel was fun, but not my favorite. I'll probably read the next Hazel Gaynor novel, but if I were to recommend just one of her books it would more likely be The Girl Who Came Home or The Girl From the Savoy instead.
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  • Sally Lindsay-briggs
    June 4, 2017
    This lovely, free Goodreads Giveaway was kind of slow in the beginning but soon it enchanted me. There were two stories here, a present day one of Olivia, who is about to marry. She has to go to Ireland where she has inheirited her grandfather's book shop. There, she finds a manuscript of two cousins, Frances and Elsie who claim to have seen and photographed fairies, 100 years ago. Did the girls really see them at the beck (brook)? Some of this really happened and was written about by Sir Arthur This lovely, free Goodreads Giveaway was kind of slow in the beginning but soon it enchanted me. There were two stories here, a present day one of Olivia, who is about to marry. She has to go to Ireland where she has inheirited her grandfather's book shop. There, she finds a manuscript of two cousins, Frances and Elsie who claim to have seen and photographed fairies, 100 years ago. Did the girls really see them at the beck (brook)? Some of this really happened and was written about by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. There are pictures and lots of places for fascination and hope. It is a book of faith and intriguing dreams.
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  • Mary C
    May 20, 2017
    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 nic 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!
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  • Alyssa
    February 14, 2017
  • Jennifer
    July 29, 2017
    I knew absolutely nothing about the Cottingley Fairies before reading this novel, so I loved learning about their history and the role the photographs of the fairies played in England during the first world war. This is why historical fiction holds such a special place in my heart. Novels like The Cottingley Secret transport me to another place and time and I am able to learn more about that era.The Cottingely Secret was also my first Hazel Gaynor novel. I loved her beautiful prose, her characte I knew absolutely nothing about the Cottingley Fairies before reading this novel, so I loved learning about their history and the role the photographs of the fairies played in England during the first world war. This is why historical fiction holds such a special place in my heart. Novels like The Cottingley Secret transport me to another place and time and I am able to learn more about that era.The Cottingely Secret was also my first Hazel Gaynor novel. I loved her beautiful prose, her characters, and the pace of the story. I also enjoyed the creative use of a found memoir as a vehicle for the flashbacks to 1917. A true story within a story.I did find it a bit helpful to draw myself a family tree for Olivia so I could more clearly see how she ended up connected to the Cottingley fairies.Though a century apart, Olivia and Frances were both in situations where they didn't feel fully in control of what was happening around them. Frances felt locked into the secret she was keeping with Elsie, and Olivia was torn between dealing with her grandfather's death or her rocky engagement. While reading, it jumped out at me that the feeling of choice was important to both girls, and I think one message for the reader is about choice, especially when it is connected to our reactions to what is happening around us. We can choose the path of negativity, or we can choose the path of hope. Of faith. Maybe even of magic.The Cottingley Secret is a must-read not only for those who enjoy historical fiction, but also for fans of Sarah Addison Allen and those who remember to keep their eyes open for the magic in the everyday.
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  • Amanda
    July 3, 2017
    I had seen the photos of the Cottingley fairies but never knew the story behind them. This book was a lovely way to blend fact with fiction and tell the sweet tale of two young cousins who just wanted their families to believe in fairies. They had no way of knowing that the world would see their photographs and they would become so popular and the subject of great debate. The story alternates between the present and the past as Olivia, a fictional modern day character, tries to piece together th I had seen the photos of the Cottingley fairies but never knew the story behind them. This book was a lovely way to blend fact with fiction and tell the sweet tale of two young cousins who just wanted their families to believe in fairies. They had no way of knowing that the world would see their photographs and they would become so popular and the subject of great debate. The story alternates between the present and the past as Olivia, a fictional modern day character, tries to piece together the connection between her Nana and these famous girls. Olivia has just inherited her grandfather's bookshop, a treasure trove of antique books and memories, many of them to do with fairies and Cottingley. This project is the last chance she has to learn about her family's past, as her Nana is very ill. It's a very pleasant read with wonderful locations that make you long to be there. The pace is slow and steady but worth the time. Very heartwarming.
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  • Patrycja
    July 1, 2017
    I received this book through GoodReads giveaway.If you love fairies and bookstores, especially old ones, with a soul, you will fall in love with "The Cottingley Secret."This is delightful, charming story. I didn't know about the existence of photographs mentioned in the novel. I didn't know this novel was inspired by a real story. But I absolutely adore the novel and their characters. "It is only by believing in magic that we can ever hope to find it".The novel tells a story of two girls Frances I received this book through GoodReads giveaway.If you love fairies and bookstores, especially old ones, with a soul, you will fall in love with "The Cottingley Secret."This is delightful, charming story. I didn't know about the existence of photographs mentioned in the novel. I didn't know this novel was inspired by a real story. But I absolutely adore the novel and their characters. "It is only by believing in magic that we can ever hope to find it".The novel tells a story of two girls Frances and Elsie, who become the center of attention after taking a picture with fairies. "There are fairies at the bottom of our garden!/ It's not so very, very far away;/"The story goes to present days and to other character Olivia, who reads the story of girls. Between past and present reader gets familiarized with the secrets behind the famous photographs. "But remember always, as I told at first, that this is all a fairy tale, and fun and pretence; and, therefore, you are not believe a word of it, even if it is true"
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  • Sheena Lambert
    July 31, 2017
    Another super book from this writer. You know what you get from her, and you always get a great story set in some little part of history that you might not have known about before - I certainly had never heard of The Cottingley Fairies before (I bet not many Irish people had) but it's a fascinating hook to another great historical/contemporary read. Highly recc. I loved The Girl from The Savoy too and if you liked that, you will love this.
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  • A.
    June 13, 2017
    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 deba 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.
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  • Bekka
    June 17, 2017
    Thanks to Edelweiss and William Morrow for early access to this title.This was utterly delightful! I wish I had had the time to read this in one sitting, I found it so charming! I had known a bit about the Cottingley Fairies, mostly because of the movie "A Fairy Tale," and found Gaynor's take on this story to be sweet and sensitive. This is a book told from the perspective of the past and the present, and I did enjoy the historical parts more, but the modern story was well done and kept me readi Thanks to Edelweiss and William Morrow for early access to this title.This was utterly delightful! I wish I had had the time to read this in one sitting, I found it so charming! I had known a bit about the Cottingley Fairies, mostly because of the movie "A Fairy Tale," and found Gaynor's take on this story to be sweet and sensitive. This is a book told from the perspective of the past and the present, and I did enjoy the historical parts more, but the modern story was well done and kept me reading as well. I very much liked how the author eventually ties the two storylines together, and, while the ending leaves some things unresolved, I found this to be more satisfying and realistic than a more typical "romance" type novel. This is a sweet and satisfying read without being too cloying, and a great escape novel.
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  • Megan Garbe
    July 3, 2017
    This book was delightful. The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Society meets Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore meets a literal fairy tale (no really). I didn't know much about the story of the Cottingley fairies and this book wove that story together beautifully with one of a young women finding her way back to herself after a death in the family. Every word was beautiful. Thank you to the publishers for sending me a complementary copy!
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  • Duckytwit
    May 17, 2017
    "The Cottingley Secret" shares the true story of England's "Yorkshire Fairies" that peeked the interests of many during World War I, including Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The story is now entering into it's 100th year which has prompted Hazel Gaynor to research and share through the fictional eyes of Olivia. Olivia begins the story after her Grandfather passes and receives the story of Frances Griffiths. As Olivia struggles to find herself, she begins to gain hope from Frances' account of the fairi "The Cottingley Secret" shares the true story of England's "Yorkshire Fairies" that peeked the interests of many during World War I, including Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The story is now entering into it's 100th year which has prompted Hazel Gaynor to research and share through the fictional eyes of Olivia. Olivia begins the story after her Grandfather passes and receives the story of Frances Griffiths. As Olivia struggles to find herself, she begins to gain hope from Frances' account of the fairies in Cottingley. I struggled to continue reading the story in the beginning due to the seemingly excessive descriptions but began to appreciate it as the story progressed. It was also difficult to overcome the ridiculous 21st century-ism "went missing" in a story supposedly written in the early 20th century which would have used the correct word "disappeared." Overall, Olivia's discovery of herself and how her life entwines with Frances' gives readers continued hope in life, explained or not. The frequent mention of Frances' favorite book, "Water Babies", and it's conclusion is what truly brings this story to life as it explains the true story behind as "only fun and pretense." My opinion is solely my own, but I do want to thank Goodreads, William Morrow Imprint, and Hazel Gaynor for a copy of such an amazing book. Had I not received this copy, I never would have read such an amazing book, but I will certainly be researching the "Yorkshire Fairies" and reading more of Hazel Gaynor's books.
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  • Jo Dervan
    May 16, 2017
    Olivia Kavanaugh was engaged to marry when she left London to attend her grandfather's funeral in a small Irish hamlet. She soon discovered that her grandfather had left her his tiny used bookstore, Something Old as well as the charming house that he and her grandmother had shared for many years. The grandmother, Martha, was suffering from Alzheimer's and living in a local nursing home. One of the things Olivia found in the dusty bookstore was a manuscript chronicling a series of fairy sightings Olivia Kavanaugh was engaged to marry when she left London to attend her grandfather's funeral in a small Irish hamlet. She soon discovered that her grandfather had left her his tiny used bookstore, Something Old as well as the charming house that he and her grandmother had shared for many years. The grandmother, Martha, was suffering from Alzheimer's and living in a local nursing home. One of the things Olivia found in the dusty bookstore was a manuscript chronicling a series of fairy sightings that occurred in Cottingley, Yorkshire in 1917, 1918 and 1920. Olivia started reading the story and eventually shared it with her grandmother who had grown up in Cottingley.In 1917 nine year old Frances Griffith and her mother traveled from Cape Town in Africa to Cottingley to live with relatives after Frances' father was called up to war in Europe. Frances' 16 year old cousin, Elsie, shared her bed with Frances in the small house and the girls became close friends. Frances soon became convinced that she saw fairies in the mountain stream near Elsie's home. After Frances told Elsie about the fairy sighting, Elsie convinced her father to lend her his camera to photograph the fairies. What happens next is the secret that lasts for over 70 years. This book is based on a series of true events. The author researched many sources including a book about the fairies photos written by Arthur Conan Doyle. She even used Frances' autobiography which was provided by Frances' daughter, Christine Lynch. Some characters like Olivia, her fiancé, Martha and Ellen Hogan, a local Cottingley school teacher, are fictional but the author introduced them to enhance the tale. This book is an homage to fairies, small English towns as well as small independent bookstores. It will show the reader what life was life at home in England during World War I and why people were receptive to whimsical stories after the war ended.
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  • Trish
    July 31, 2017
    The Cottingley Secret is a historical novel with a dual storyline. In the present, Olivia Kavanagh inherits her grandfather's bookstore and discovers a mysterious manuscript related to the Cottingley fairies. Olivia wants to learn the link between this manuscript and her family. The book flashes back to two young cousins who made the fairy photographs in 1917, Frances and Elsie.This was a fascinating read. I have heard of the Cottingley fairies before, and seen the most famous photo of Frances w The Cottingley Secret is a historical novel with a dual storyline. In the present, Olivia Kavanagh inherits her grandfather's bookstore and discovers a mysterious manuscript related to the Cottingley fairies. Olivia wants to learn the link between this manuscript and her family. The book flashes back to two young cousins who made the fairy photographs in 1917, Frances and Elsie.This was a fascinating read. I have heard of the Cottingley fairies before, and seen the most famous photo of Frances with the fairies. That is what initially intrigued me about this novel.But there was so much more to this story. I loved Olivia's story, with the antiquarian bookstore and her past that she discovers there. I found the story of how she works to move past loss and discover what truly brings her joy. Although I wanted to read this book initially because of the Cottingley fairies, I found Olivia's story even more compelling. She is such a warm, kind character, deserving of true happiness. I love the words her grandfather wrote, words she learns to live by: "You don't need anybody's permission to live the life you desire, Olivia. You need only the permission of your heart" (p. 11).This was a book that kept me up long after my usual bedtime. I just could not put it down. There are so many things in The Cottingley Secret that I am particularly fond of: a dual storyline, historical fiction, well drawn and sympathetic characters, family history, and a bookstore setting. (I sell vintage books, so particularly liked the book and bookbinding details in this novel.)The writing by Hazel Gaynor is just lovely. The characters are well drawn, the dual storyline is handled beautifully, and the descriptions add so much to the story.I cannot recommend The Cottingley Secret highly enough for fans of historical fiction. It is truly an enchanting read.
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  • Stacy McCain
    July 19, 2017
    THE COTTINGLEY SECRET by Hazel Gaynor reminds you that you can believe in magic no matter how old you are. This historical fiction selection follows Frances and Elsie as they take photographs with fairies that ignites a passionate response from Arthur Conan Doyle and others around the world. Knowing nothing about this great hoax before this novel, I loved seeing the story unfold through Frances' own words and learning how something like this could happen in the bleak time of WWI when people need THE COTTINGLEY SECRET by Hazel Gaynor reminds you that you can believe in magic no matter how old you are. This historical fiction selection follows Frances and Elsie as they take photographs with fairies that ignites a passionate response from Arthur Conan Doyle and others around the world. Knowing nothing about this great hoax before this novel, I loved seeing the story unfold through Frances' own words and learning how something like this could happen in the bleak time of WWI when people needed to believe in something. I love that Gaynor worked with Frances' real daughter to ensure authenticity in her novel - that type of research and commitment stands out in the novel. I love that it's set against present day where a young Olivia is battling losing her family while discovering how magical her world still is. I love the bookstore Something Old in this book - it's so easy to imagine the setting with the beautiful writing in this novel. And I love that it made me look at my daughter in her fairy costume with just a little bigger smile yesterday because there is nothing more magical than fairies, children, and a really good story.I received an advance review copy of this book from the Great Thought's Ninja Review Team. All opinions are my own.
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