- Paperback: 416 pages
- Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (Aug. 1 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 006249984X
- ISBN-13: 978-0062499844
- Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2.4 x 20.3 cm
- Shipping Weight: 295 g
- Average Customer Review: 5 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #184,329 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Cottingley Secret: A Novel Paperback – Aug 1 2017
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“Beautifully written and expertly researched, Gaynor’s latest is a look at one of history’s most intriguing mysteries and an important reminder of the power of belief.” (Booklist (starred review))
“There is real magic in these pages. And beauty. And heart.” (Nicole Mary Kelby, author of The Pink Suit)
“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 )
“I adored The Cottingley Secret [...] Gaynor has penned in majestic prose an enchanting and enthralling tale of childhood magic, forgotten dreams, and finding the parts of ourselves we thought were lost forever.” (Pam Jenoff, New York Times bestselling author of The Orphan's Tale)
“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?” (Heather Webb, author of Rodin’s Lover)
“Richly imagined and terrifically enchanting, Hazel Gaynor’s The Cottingley Secret is an enthralling tale where memories serve as lifelines for the living, and the unseen is made real. Reading this novel is akin to finding hidden treasure - each character, a friend; each chapter, a revelation.” (Ami McKay, author of The Witches of New York )
“Gaynor (The Girl from the Savoy, 2016, etc.) creates a lovely meditation on the power of belief and hope.” (Kirkus Reviews)
“Hazel Gaynor brings the mystery of the Cottingley Fairies thrillingly to life…A mystery, a love story, and an enchanting and surprising journey of self-discovery, The Cottingley Secret unwraps the true story behind one of the great hoaxes of the 19th century while still allowing the possibility of the magical.” (Kate Forsyth, author of Bitter Greens)
From the Back Cover
I said my story had many beginnings, and the day the camera arrived was one of them. After all, without the camera, there wouldn’t have been any photographs. Without the camera, I wouldn’t have a story to tell. . . .
1917 . . . In a world torn apart by war, two young Yorkshire cousins, Frances Griffiths and Elsie Wright, announce that something marvelous has happened. They’ve photographed actual fairies, those ethereal creatures of mischief, living in their Cottingley, England, garden. The girls become a national sensation. The photos are declared real by none other than Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. And a nation torn apart by tragedy embraces this amazing event. Together, the cousins keep their secret about the photos for decades, until they decide it’s time to tell the truth.
One hundred years later . . . Olivia Kavanagh inherits her grandfather’s bookshop, and is amazed to find a manuscript that has been hidden away for decades. She becomes fascinated by the tale it tells. But it’s the discovery of an old photograph that leads her to realize how the story of Frances and Elsie intertwines with hers, connecting past to present . . . and blurring what is real and what is imagined.See all Product description
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A hundred years later, Olivia Kavanaugh finds a manuscript written by Frances. As she reads it, she starts to realize how Frances's story intertwines with her own.
This is the best book I've read in a long time. The two storylines are interwoven seamlessly. As Olivia (and, by extension, the reader) becomes entranced with the story of the girls behind the photographs, a little bit of the magic of the wee folk seeps into her own life, giving her the fresh start she needs.
The mystery of how the two storylines intersect is beautifully maintained. Just the right amount of doubt is sprinkled throughout to keep the reader guessing whether the fairies are real or not. Even the romantic subplot is expertly handled - it's realistic without being maudlin.
This is a lovely, well written story that is captivating and touching. It dances between the past and present easily and delivers a complete and satisfying story that will remain on my bookshelf to be read again.
The story is told via dual narratives - Frances Griffiths in 1917 and Olivia Kavanagh one hundred years later - and I had mixed feelings about both. Olivia's story was overly saccharine at times and predictable, especially with her fiancé who was a one-dimensional caricature of a shallow guy. What saved her part of the story for me was the used bookshop setting (swoon!) and how her story line connected with the fairy plot. Frances' side of things had an interesting premise, but I don't feel the fairies aspect and how easily everyone believed in the story was explored enough. Overall, I found the telling of both sides of the story long-winded.
I was initially interested in the magical aspect of this book, but I was also eager for a historical mystery surrounding the alleged sighting of fairies. Unfortunately, readers are privy to the real story from the beginning so the 'mystery' aspect fell flat.
This is a hard book to rate. I liked the premise but didn't love this book nearly as much as other readers. It had a lot of promise but I wasn't fond of the execution of the story, nor did I feel as engaged in either the story or characters as I thought I would be. This story is about the magic people needed to believe in during and after the devastation of WWI and while I liked that it was based in fact and well researched, overall this was just an okay read for me.
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