Book Review: The Cottingley Secret by Hazel Gaynor

Brief Synopsis : A bit historical fiction, a bit children's fantasy, The Cottingley Secret  tells the story of Olivia Kavanaugh...

Brief Synopsis: A bit historical fiction, a bit children's fantasy, The Cottingley Secret tells the story of Olivia Kavanaugh and a memoir she reads about two little girls. When Olivia's grandfather passes away, she inherits his bookstore "Something New". As she cleans up her inheritance, she comes across a seeming memoir about Elsie and Frances - two little girls who convince the world fairies are real during wartime.

I didn't realize until after I read the book that this story is based on a somewhat "true" story. Just search "Cottingley fairies" and you'll find information on one of the great hoaxes of the last century, and has inspired many novels and a movie. Knowing that the basis of the story is something that happened really peaks my interest, so I wish I had known before reading the novel - so maybe it will inspire you to take more interest as you read.

The novel takes place in two time periods - present day and between 1917-1920s. The present-day story focuses on Olivia, a women who is engaged to a man she's not sure she loves, whose grandfather just passed away, and whose grandmother is battling Alzheimer's in a local nursing home. When she comes across a collection of notes written about a girl who believed she saw fairies.

The story from a hundred years earlier is told from the viewpoint of Frances Griffiths about her experience with the fairies and how that led her and her cousin to a bit of international fame.

While the story was wonderfully told, I found myself getting a little mixed up from time to time about which part of the story I was reading - present day or 1917. There were some parallels between Frances and Olivia, which is what was mostly causing my confusion - wondering who exactly was telling their story.

I did enjoy Olivia's story a little more, which reminded me a bit of Hunting Unicorns, though I'm not really sure why.

My favorite thing was the recurring theme that believing in magic makes hard times a little bit easier, because then we can truly believe in anything. I would definitely recommend checking out The Cottingley Secret.

Thanks to Booksparks for providing this book in-kind for review. As always, opinions are 100% my own. 

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