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The 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 story1917 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 toldOne 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?


10 thoughts on “The Cottingley Secret

  1. says:

    This book is so very magical 💕 It was my feel good book and let me give justice to the amazing cover I want to go thereThis story is about Frances and Elsie from the past and Olivia from present day Olivia has come home to Ireland to get her grandparents nana pappy things in order Olivia's sweet grandfather has died and he left her his bookshop Something Old He sold old books as you can figure from the title Olivia is trying to decide if she wants to go back to London and get married or stay in Ireland and run the bookshop Olivia's grandmother is in a home because she has the horrible disease of Alzheimer's Olivia has to go through all the things in her grandparents cottage and look into selling it which she doesn't want to do Meanwhile Olivia is finding out some things about a little girl from the past that she was related to Frances was the girl who saw fairies and had the picture to prove it Little did Frances know her and Elsie would be known worldwide because Sir Arthur Conan Doyle took an interest in the picture and believed them The girls didn't want to be famous they just wanted to show their family Be careful of what you do Like I said before this is a magical book There are so many wonderful things in the book that you need to find out for yourself The book is about finding out who you really are and setting out for your own dreams This book is about Hope Love Fairies ♥ Don't stop believing Mel ♥MY BLOG Melissa Martin's Reading List


  2. says:

    Whimsical lyrical a pure delight and I fell into this magical story just like Alice falling into the rabbit hole It is 1917 and Nine year old Frances and her mother leave South Africa for Cottingley England to stay with family while her father fights in the war There she find a cousin Elsie 16 who introduces Frances to the Beck Despite their age difference the girls become fast friends it is here there are said to be fairies Here they will take pictures that seem to prove it pictures that will haunt the girls for many years even bringing Arthur Conan Doyle into their sphere This is of course all true historical happenings and the two girls were very real peopleThe made up portion of the story 2017 Oivias beloved grandfather has died leaving her a dusty old bookstore in Ireland I wish someone would leave me a dusty old bookstore anywhere In the bookshop she finds the pages of the girls story but how are they connected to her? Beautiful beautiful words passages fairies and magical happenings such as this I think the books come alive at night when the shop is closed and the lights are turned out I think they open their covers and fan out their pages like wings and start to fly Imagine it Hundreds of books flapping their pages soaring and swooping because they're so alive with stories they can't possibly sit still on the shelfHow can one not find that magical? Makes me smile Plus this is one of only a few with dual story lines where I enjoyed and liked them both Took me back to a time of childhood imagination and play when time was meaningless The authors note is so special includes the facts and the photographs Also something that surprised but is a fantastic addition Loved everything about this oneARC from edelweiss


  3. says:

    The Cottingley Secret by Hazel Gaynor is a 2017 William Morrow Paperbacks publication Charming and magical This novel is based on the real events surrounding a group of photographs taken by sixteen year old Elsie Wright and her nine year old cousin Frances Griffiths in Cottingley England in 1917 The photographs allegedly captured images of fairies at the Cottingley Beck a stream where the two girls often played The photos garnered the attention of Sherlock Holmes author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle who featured the story in ‘The Strand Magazine’ in 1920 For years the public debated whether or not the photos were genuine or if it was all a big hoax This novel tells a fictional account of Elsie and Frances and their adventures alongside the current day story of Olivia Kavanagh a woman who has come to set her grandparents affairs in order after the death of her grandfather Olivia is engaged with a life back in London but after inheriting her grandfather’s bookstore she begins to reassess her life and decides to stay and manage the bookstore unable to bring herself to sell it But along with the bookshop Olivia’s grandfather left behind a manuscript written by Frances Griffiths in which she details what really happened back in 1917 and puts to rest the uestion regarding the one photo Frances insists is the real deal This is a delightful and fanciful accounting of Elsie and Frances' life story and how they gave the gift of hope and a little bit of magic to people during the dark and bleak days of world war one It is fascinating to me how people seized hold of the possibility that the fairies did indeed exist and could be captured on film I think there is a bit of psychology behind that with world war one raging in the background I also enjoyed the way the story unfolded bit by bit through the eyes of Olivia who has found the courage to rediscover her true self and in so doing finds that maybe just maybe believing in fairies and magic might not be a bad thing after all For me this story occasionally had a sad and bittersweet tone but mostly it was sweet and whimsical and I enjoyed immersing myself in the dual time lines allowing myself to be swept away by the history and even felt a slight tingle of magic along the way so much so I might have become a bit of a believer myself Although this novel is mostly conjecture I think the author captured the atmosphere perfectly and built an interesting story around true events I have since done a few Google searches on the Cottingley fairies It’s an amazing story that captured the public’s imagination for decades I think the time and place had a lot to do with why those pictures became such a phenomenon but that the the myth persisted as long as it did is what makes the story so captivating Overall I think what makes the story work is the reminder that sometimes believing in something gives it a certain power regardless of how fantastical and sometimes something fantastical can give people real hope and that magic comes in many forms4 stars


  4. says:

    Click here to watch a video review of this book on my channel From Beginning to Bookend Eual parts enchanting tale of childhood magic and bearable story of a woman wrestling with engagement to the wrong man Though Gaynor's prose sways from maladroit to radiant and the plot is wholly predictable The Cottingley Secret proves a pleasant read


  5. says:

    I read The Girl Who Came Home by Hazel Gaynor and deeply enjoyed it Gaynor's writing was beautiful and uplifting even in the midst of the Titanic tragedy The Cottingley Secret her fourth novel is one I want to hug and it's going to my favorites shelf Told in dual storylines; one story is of Olivia in present day Ireland who's inherited the most charming bookshop and the other is of Frances a young girl arriving in Yorkshire during the first World War The book was inspired by the real Frances who was in a famous group of pictures with fairies and written about by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle These pictures created uite the frenzy during war time England and around the world at a time when believing in magic may have had an important purpose Filled with love fairy magic I think fans who love the whimsy and ambience of Sarah Addison Allen and maybe even Alice Hoffman may enjoy this book family secrets beautiful descriptions of Yorkshire and Ireland books and the power of believing I adored The Cottingley Secret The ps section including Author's Note images of the famous photos and an interview with Frances' daughter is not to be missed I connected to the writing and found myself highlighting several uotes and here are a fewIt breaks my heart to know that she will grow up and have to try to understand the world with all its complications and uncertainties I hope she won't try to understand everything and that some of the magic she knows now will stay with her The friend and ally who took a photograph of me in a uiet sunlit moment in one of the most perfect places I have ever known and captured forever a young girl with wonder in her eyes and the belief in magical things in her heart as Nana always had said when she was winding a skein of wool finding the end was the hard part After that all it took was patience determination and plenty of fresh tea in the pot but because with the world still at war we needed to believe in something better In that moment and perhaps for much longer it seemed to me that the possibility of believing in fairies was important than one little girl telling the truthThese two uotes were deeply personal to me and I'm sure I will revisit them to reflectWhere once she had dreaded what lay ahead Olivia now relished the prospect of filling the empty page Hers was a narrative she would write in her own words in her own time She would be the mapmaker the storyteller the dreamer of dreams She had always been there watching waiting To find her all she'd had to do was believe in her I was ecstatic to win a copy of this book from Hazel Gaynor the author on Facebook The above is my unsolicited and honest reviewSummer 2017 Read #23


  6. says:

    45 Stars ”I know that the best time to see them is in that perfect hour before sunset when the sun sinks low on the horizon like a ripe peach and sends shafts of gold bursting through the trees The ‘in between’ I call it No longer day not yet night; some other place and time when magic hangs in the air and the light plays tricks on the eye You might easily miss the flash of violet and emerald but I—according to my teacher Mrs Hogan—am ‘a curiously observant child’ I see their misty forms among the flowers and leaves I know my patience will be rewarded if I watch and listen If I believe “ ”And thenThe lightest ringing at my ears The slightest movement of fern and leafMy heart flutters My eyes widen with excitementA flash of vibrant emerald Another of softest lavender blueI lean forward Draw in my breath Don’t make a soundThey are here”These stories of Olivia in the present in Ireland and Frances and Elsie from the past beginning in 1917 in Cottingley England weave together slowly; in the way life usually unfolds Day by day bit by bit Patience is reuired but for those who truly believe and seek it the truth will gradually be revealed Olivia’s grandmother has been in a home since her Alzheimer’s progressed past the point where she could live at home with Olivia’s grandfather When he was alive her grandfather had been busy trying to hold his bookshop “Something Old” together and he’s now passed and left his bookshop to Olivia She’s also making sure to spend time with her grandmother and to slowly get her grandparent’s home ready all the boxes of things to go through and decide what to keep and what to give away In the process she finds some things that lead her to a journey into her grandmother’s younger years the stories of Frances and Elsie and the years of the photographs of the two of them and the fairies Intertwined with this there is also the story of Frances and Elsie from the first summer Frances and her mother came to live with her Aunt Polly and her cousin Elsie The year her father went off to the war That year Frances saw the fairies for the first time and wasn’t believed so Elsie convinces her that they can prove it with photographs Arthur Conan Doyle best known for his Sherlock Holmes books makes an appearance taking an interest in these fairy photographs when word spreads far enough to reach him and he eventually publishes “The Coming of the Fairies” including photographs taken by young Frances and ElsieWhile much of this story revolves around the coming of age aspect of this story for young Frances and Elsie and fairies there is sufficient time spent in the present to ground this story so that it is not overly precious ”It was the smaller unexpected things that broke Olivia’s heart; an incomplete game of solitaire Pappy’s pipe resting on the edge of the ashtray a half finished jigsaw of the Titanic A uiet simple life on pause”A child Iris the daughter of a local writer enters the picture and through her small simple gestures Olivia’s heart begins to mend And through the magical draw of the bookshop Olivia is able to help Iris open back up to a life without her mother Because of Iris Olivia opens up to a new life and because of Olivia Iris begins to open up to others ”I tumbled her words around in my mind—‘If we can believe in fairies perhaps we can believe in anything’—and the I repeated them the I felt that perhaps believing in fairies was important than seeing them In belief there is hope and wonder In seeing there is often uestion and doubt”At its heart this is a feel good book a fairy tale of sorts but there is This is a story of Alzheimer’s of life and of death of love lost and love found the heartbreak of a parent whose child is missing; a story of discovery of fairies and those who believe and those who don’t; a story of believing in yourselfMany thanks once again to the Public Library system for the loan of this book


  7. says:

    Rating 45 What a fun whimsical magical story Initially the name drew me in then the cover and when I saw in the blurb it said 'fairies' I was hopelessly hooked I bugged my library to get a copy and they got both print and audioI naturally selected the audio and loved every minute of it I didn't want this one end One line in the book that I kept coming back to Those who don't believe in magic will never find it And that is key to this wonderful book And I for one believe and love to read about magicThe Cottingley Secret is a story that rotates between two timelines the early 1900's and present day In present day Olivia is lost getting ready to marry a man she really doesn't love Her grandfather has just died and gave to her his bookstore Something Old The other story in the early 1900's in Cottingley Yorkshire you learn of two young girls who photographed fairies and ultimately captivated the world In present day Olivia finds a book in the bookstore telling the story of these two young girls and is enthralled and entwined in this story I thoroughly enjoyed both of these stories and each had warmed my heart This historical fiction is another one of those stories where a small piece of history is plucked and a story is weaved around it The story of the girls two cousins who photographed the fairies in their garden is real The story became so widespread and popular that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was fascinated by it and used the photos and the story in an article that he was writing about fairies Everyone knew the story and believed in the fairies You see it was a time of war where families would constantly get messages that a son was lost in the war until there were no sons left So people wanted and needed to believe in somethingI am so glad that I finally read this oneeh listened to it The audio was fabulous I loved every minute of it And now I've just grabbed this authors latest book Thanks Jennifer for the tip A feel good story that brings hope fun and magic to the reader That isif you believe in magic


  8. says:

    I chose this book purely based on its cover The Cottingley Secret by Hazel Gaynor looked gorgeous and after seeing it all over Goodreads and thinking about the Cotswolds I fell in love Then I learned it doesn't take place in England but in Ireland as well as that it's based on a true story Wow Knock me over with a feather all that said it was a good book and I enjoyed it very much I'd give it somewhere between a 35 and 4 stars rounded upTwo young girls take pictures of faeries in Ireland during World War 1 One of them is a transplant from South Africa returning because her father must fight in the war She bonds with her cousin they become somewhat famous for their pictures as everyone thinks it's real Was it? In current day a somewhat distant relative friend I'm being vague to not give it away returns to the village to take care of her aging grandmother after her grandfather passes away She's contemplating breaking off an engagement and starting life anew The stories intertwine and we learn what really happened with the photo of the faeriesIf this weren't based on a true story I'd have said the plot was too simple Knowing it comes from a real life experience it makes the book a bit better The author created a beautiful story The characters felt real I enjoyed the current story than the historical one tho I felt the book had some literary merit but at times it was repetitive and listless yet I also found it enchanting and vivid in many other places I think it's meant to be that way if you're not aware of or fully caught up in the true storyGaynor's writing is uite strong and made me keep reading I will definitely sample of her work in the future


  9. says:

    This is a rather clever fictional approach to the true story of the Cottingley fairies Back in 1917 when photography was still fairly basic and people were less cynical than today two young girls fooled the world with photos of paper fairies posed at the bottom of their garden This is the true part of the story to which Hazel Gaynor has added some fictional family members to link events to Olivia who lives in the current dayBoth stories that of the young girls and their fairies and of Olivia and her bookshop are charming and eually interesting The settings are beautifully described and of course I loved the bit about Leeds Library since I used to work there many years agoI appreciated the way the author handled the story of the fairies It is generally agreed today that it was a hoax and indeed the pictures are actually uite unrealistic but it was nice that she wrote it as though there was no intent to deceive at least not to deceive the general public So a small trick on the family turned into larger things And of course if you do believe in fairies Ms Gaynor leaves the possibility open


  10. says:

    Can Olivia have some connection to Elsie and Frances who lived 100 years ago? Can Olivia find it?Is the connection somewhere in the pages of the rare books in the bookshop SOMETHING OLD that Olivia's grandfather left her? Is it in the story she finds that leads her to believe in herself like Elsie and Frances believed in fairies?Olivia lives in present day and finds a manuscript in her grandfather's things that refers to fairies As she reads the manuscript and deals with her unhappy life at this time she believes her grandmother knew FrancesOlivia is excited that she inherited the bookshop but doesn't know what to do with it What decision will she make about the bookshop and her life? Will she decide to move to Ireland and run the bookshop and most importantly follow what will make her happy or marry the man that she realizes isn't the man she should marry?We move to 1917 and visit with Elsie and Frances who are cousins and live under the same roof since Frances moved there from South Africa while her father was called to serve in the warFrances is a precocious child and believes she sees fairies at the beck but no one believes her She and Elsie get together to prove the fairies are really there and their story becomes a sensationTHE COTTINGLEY SECRET took a few pages for me to connect but once I got hooked and also realized that this fairy story was famous I couldn't stop readingI loved how the book went back and forth from 1917 to present day and I truly enjoyed the secrets and connections between the characters from both time periods as they were revealedWho 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 Andher books are always filled with loveENJOY 55This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review