The Cottingley Secret

The Cottingley Secret

A Novel

Book - 2017
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Reimagines the early 20th-century story of cousins Frances Griffiths and Elsie Wright, who became a national sensation when they claimed they photographed fairies in their garden, winning the support of novelist Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Publisher: New York, N.Y. : William Morrow, 2017
ISBN: 9780062690487
0062690485
Branch Call Number: F Gay

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SPL_Robyn Oct 02, 2017

reviewed in the Stratford Gazette, October, 2017

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SPL_Robyn Oct 02, 2017

It is 1917 and the Great War wages on. Frances Griffiths’ father is fighting somewhere in France, and she and her mother are forced to move to Cottingley in Yorkshire to live in with Frances’ aunt, uncle and cousin Elsie. Elsie is much older than Frances but she has a playful spirit, and tells Frances enchanting tales of the “little people”, the fairies who are thought to dwell near the little brook by her home. As a joke on the unbelieving adults, Elsie takes photographs of Frances and the “fairies”, an innocent prank until the photographs are brought to the attention of a celebrated novelist – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle –who is convinced they are authentic and proof of the spiritual world. They keep their secret for decades, though it makes Frances quite uncomfortable, because she has found that she can actually see, or at least sense the little people, especially if she is still, and very, very patient.

One hundred years later in Ireland, Olivia Kavanaugh finds she has inherited her beloved grandfather’s bookstore, Something Old. As she struggles with his loss, her Nana’s fading memory, an unwanted and impending wedding and attempts to help the little store thrive, she discovers an old manuscript telling Frances story from her own perspective that contains links to her own life in 21st century Ireland. She also finds some new friends, and ties to her past that give her new courage in the present. She also finds evidence – she thinks – that the little people are not wholly gone from the Irish landscape…

An introspective novel only just touched by magic that gives the very real Cottingley Fairies Hoax a new and thoughtful back-story, this newest novel from Hazel Gaynor with parallel narratives is sure to please fans of Cynthia-Harrod Eagles and Sarah Addison Allen alike. ~RLG

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