THE COTTINGLEY SECRET is the first book I have read by Hazel
Gaynor. I was intrigued by the idea of the book, about the
cousins that took the Cottingley photographs of fairies (you
can google Cottingley fairies to see the photographs
yourself, they are added at the end of the book).
Personally, from a modern perspective, I have a hard time to
see how anyone can take them for real. But, it was another
time back then.
The book has two storylines, in 1917 we meet cousins Frances
Griffiths and Elsie Wright whose photographs of fairies at
the bottom of the garden at first are something private in
the family until the rumors spread and even Sir Arthur Conan
Doyle hears of them and he is convinced that the photographs
are real. But, what is the real story behind the
photographs? Are the faires real?
In the book's other storyline we move to the present time,
to Olivia Kavanagh. Olivia finds after the death of her
grandfather an old manuscript written by Frances Griffiths
that tells the real story about the fairies. Olivia is a bit
lost in life with an upcoming marriage to a man she isn't
sure she wants to marry to her recent loss of her
grandfather and not to mention her grandmother who has
Alzheimer's and is in a nursing home. Through the
manuscript, she gets to know the true story of the fairies,
and she also finds a link to her own family's history.
THE COTTINGLEY SECRET is a book that I eagerly waited to
read. I found the description of the book to be enchanting,
and the cover is stunning. I have to admit that it took some
time for me to appreciate Flora. Don't take me wrong, I
liked her storyline, but I just found it was hard to really
warm up to her. It wasn't until the end of the book, when I
found myself appreciating her because I started to
understand her motives, why for instance she agreed to the
proposal, despite not being sure. Her losses in life and the
situation she is now really made her take a step back to
reevaluate her life and I found that the "real" Flora is a
I was curious to see Gaynor take on Frances Griffiths and
Elsie Wright photographs of the fairies. Back then the
photographs caused quite a sensation and they would for
decades stand by their story that it was real fairies that
they had photographed. I liked Gaynor's version of what
happened, and I liked the connection between Olivia's story
and the girls.
THE COTTINGLEY SECRET is a book that I enjoyed reading. The
writing is really good, and I was intrigued by the story.
I'm looking forward to reading Gaynor's other books.
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