HomeReviewsFictionReview: The Cottingley Secret

Review: The Cottingley Secret

The Cottingley Secret

Title: The Cottingley Secret
Author: Hazel Gaynor
Genre: Historical Fiction
Page Count: 416
Published by: William Morrow & Company
Date Published: August 1, 2017
You can find it here: Bookshop.org

Synopsis

Olivia Kavanagh is living an average life in London. She has a job she likes … kind of. She has a finance she loves … maybe. When her beloved grandfather passes away and bequeaths his bookshop to her, Olivia takes a needed break and escapes to her childhood home of Cottingley to settle his estate and determine her next steps. It is here she uncovers both an ethereal photograph of a young girl with fairies dancing in front of her and the unpublished journal of Frances Griffths, the famous girl in the photograph.

100 years earlier Cottingley is struggling through WWI and two young girls, Frances Griffths and Elsie Wright, are about to become a national sensation. They have photographed magical fairies in a Cottingley garden in the summer of 1917. At first a harmless, magical secret, these photos are about to take the world by storm. Are they real? Are they a hoax? What starts as an innocent fascination, quickly becomes fraught with worry and unwanted fame.

As Olivia unwinds the mystery of the Cottingley fairies she discovers her own familial secrets connect her to these long ago girls, slowly revealing both the truth of the past and the direction of her future.

Based on the real Cottingley fairy photographs, Hazel Gaynor writes an enchanting tale combining parts magical realism and historical fiction.

Discussion

Let’s Talk Forgiveness of the Undemanding Book:

If I struggled at times with Olivia it wasn’t enough to fault the book on the whole. Honestly, sometimes I am just more forgiving of an undemanding, escapist read and hang up my picky bitch hat for a moment. I found myself whisked away in this audiobook and it genuinely was a calming, interesting, and heartfelt time spent. Maybe it was the right book at the right time, maybe it was the fact that I’m a sucker for books narrated by calm spoken, British women … whatever the reason, I found this to be a very enjoyable read.

Let’s Talk The Real Life Mystery and Belief in Fairies:

Discovering that these fairy photographs are actually real, and very much took the world by storm in the early 1900s, absolutely extended my enjoyment and enchantment. I argue the fascination with fairies is timeless, just as alive today, and I really enjoyed Hazel’s decision to leave the interpretation of the reality or existence of magic open for your own conclusion. While she wrapped up the “mystery” in an honest, logical way, she left the possibility that magic exists in whatever way you choose to see it.

Overall Thoughts:

This light, bright, and undemanding historical fiction combines magical realism, romance, and a clue hunting mystery to yield a pleasant, easy distraction. I didn’t always enjoy the current timeline story structure with Olivia and her waffling over a fiancé she doesn’t care for, but the past timeline, centring around Hazel Gaynor’s reimagining of the creation of the Cottingley photographs, was enchanting. Furthering this spell is the fact that these photographs exist and were included in the book for reference. Whisper light prose, a sprinkling of magic, and excellent narrators resulted in an overall hopeful read with heart.

TBR Ranking: High

For Fans Of:

The Forgotten GardenThe Forgotten Garden

Written by Kate Morton

Published by Washington Square Press

You can find it here: Bookshop.org

 

 

 

Once Upon a River book coverOnce Upon a River

Written by Diane Setterfield

Published by Atria Books

Full review HERE.

You can find it here: Bookshop.org

 

 

The Forbidden GardenThe Forbidden Garden

Written by Ellen Herrick

Published by William Morrow & Company

You can find it here: Bookshop.org

 

 

 

Any purchases made via retailer links provided in this article may result in this site receiving a share of that sale.

 

Cheryl
Cherylhttps://www.aotales.com
Welcome to And other tales. The little corner of the interweb where we don’t count cups of coffee, believe cancelling plans to stay home & read is just good life advice, refuse to acknowledge the calories in baked goods and will never judge you on the number of marshmallows in your hot chocolate or the size of your TBR piles. Curl up, get comfy and click through for book reviews, life chats, playlists, vegan & gluten free baking recipes, gift guides and more.
RELATED ARTICLES

Newest Articles

Holiday Reading Guide 2022

October 2022 Reading Wrap-Up

Fall Book Haul