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The Cottingley Secret: A Novel by Hazel…
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The Cottingley Secret: A Novel (edition 2017)

by Hazel Gaynor (Author)

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2943765,651 (4.07)16
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?… (more)
Member:BCandice
Title:The Cottingley Secret: A Novel
Authors:Hazel Gaynor (Author)
Info:William Morrow Paperbacks (2017), 416 pages
Collections:Your library, To read
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The Cottingley Secret by Hazel Gaynor

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» See also 16 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 38 (next | show all)
I don’t have much to say about this book except that it felt flat. Gaynor’s good enough at all the technical writing things—characters, setting, plot, language—that I didn’t hate my time reading, but there was also nothing that really shone and the story, I hate to say, was just a tad too predictable in a lot of ways. It’s one of those “modern woman finds a manuscript that brings her in touch with her family history” novels, but it felt very by-the-books and without a lot of the parallels and realizations that I’d expect from that sort of story.

All in all, I’d call this “comfortable” and “unchallenging.” Nothing to recommend it but also nothing to turn you away. The historical research seems well-done and, if nothing else, there are brief glimpses of a bookshop cat.

Warnings: Not that I can think of, though Gaynor keeps the cast very white.

6/10 ( )
  NinjaMuse | Jul 26, 2020 |
I had NO IDEA there was "truth" in this story! I had never heard of the Cottingley fairies - a wonderful story that even Arthur Conan Doyle had some involvement in! When I first started reading I thought... UGH. Fairies... fantasy.. not for me. I LOVED THIS BOOK!
( )
  nwieme | Mar 19, 2020 |
Part fairy story, part historic drama, and part modern love story, this book is a delightful read. The writing is lovely and uplifting. ( )
  obtusata | Jan 9, 2020 |
This was a story filled with more magic than one can almost bare. We seamlessly flit between past and present, of childhood days gone by still brimming with the wonder trapped in memories and those moments becoming memories in the present through the choices made, obstacles tackled, and new pathways found. It cherishes the innocence of youth and encourages us to seek that same magic in new ways throughout our lives.

Meeting Frances and Elsie, following their wondrous adventures in the garden that seemed to attract more than its share of attention while learning how to deal with the world itself while at war, brought us back in time to those many many hours of uncertainty. The magic they captured, whether real or a work of serious artistic talent and a creative mind, gave people something to believe in when all else seemed so dark and treacherous...and really, where was the harm in that? Our present day introduction to Olivia was filled with heartbreak, heartache, and a feeling of both being lost and found all at the same time. She went on an unexpected journey of discovery and uncovered so many things that changed her in so many ways, and yet with all the changes, she honestly found her true self.

A magical tale filled with heart, the importance of connections, and just the right amount of fairy dust.


**copy received for review ( )
  GRgenius | Sep 15, 2019 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The Cottingley Secret is a clever fictional take on the famous true story of the Cottingley fairies. Back in 1917, when photography was still fairly basic and people were less cynical, two young girls took photos of fairies they claimed played at the bottom of their garden. The public was fascinated and divided on whether the photos were real or a hoax.
The Cottingley Secret is a book of imagination and make-believe made even more fascinating because it's based on the true tale behind two young girls and their fairy friends. At the end of the book, Ms. Gaynor shows us the actual photos with her own author narrative and there's even a letter from Frances Griffiths' daughter - delightful.
See full review at http://www.bookbarmy.com ( )
  BookBarmy | Aug 13, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 38 (next | show all)
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Epigraph
If the confidence of children can be gained, and they are led to speak freely, it is surprising how many claim to have seen fairies. -- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Those who don't believe in magic will never find it. -- Roald Dahl
Dedication
For Frances and Christine, and everyone who believes. And in memory of Nana Aelish Gaynor, who left us on January 13th, 2017.
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Fairies will not be rushed. I know this now; know I must be patient.
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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?

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