Book Review: The Cottingley Secret

Cottingley SecretI have always loved the story of the Cottingley fairies. Two young girls who had their photos taken with fairies captured my imagination as a child, and if I am being honest, they captured my imagination as an adult too. So, I was thrilled to be able to review this book in time for the one hundred year anniversary of the photos.

Our story starts in present-day Ireland where Olivia is having to pick up the pieces after the sudden death of her grandfather. All of a sudden she finds herself having to manage the care of her ailing grandmother and finish planning a wedding.  While all this is happening she finds a manuscript that tells the story behind the pictures as told by Frances.

In Frances’ timeline, as told through the manuscript, begins in 1917 when she and her mother arrive in Cottingley during WWI while her father serves. It’s through this manuscript that we get introduced to a lovely cast of characters as we find out more about the fairies in the beck.

I loved the way Gaynor switched back and forth between the two timelines. It was easy to adapt to Olivia and then to Frances and back. This book is just the right heartfelt story to explore the Cottingley history. Frances’s youthful wonder at fairies and her emotional struggles as a child missing her father during the war was touching. It captured the characters’ desire to have something good to believe in.Hazel

And can I just stop and say how much I loved Olivia’s timeline? Usually, the present day timelines are just modes to help push the historical timelines forward but Olivia’s story was so lovely. As she searches for her family’s connection to the Cottingley story we watch her gain her own sense of self. There is a romance but it is a refreshing not done everyday type of romance that had me cheering Bravo! in the end.

This book is perfect for this fall season. It has that end of summer/early fall, let me curl up with a nice cup of tea kind of vibe. Likewise, if you have an interest in fairy lore and/or the Cottingley fairies, this is the book to pick up.

(Not to give away any spoilers but don’t skip the PS at the end of the book!)


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