Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Summer Blog Break

Hi all!

Abby and I are taking a blog break for the rest of August and will return after Labor Day.  Hope you have a great rest of the Summer!


Book Review - The Cottingley Secret by Hazel Gaynor

Book Synopsis
The New York Times bestselling 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 story. 

1917… 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 told. 

One 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?

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

My Review
The Cottingley Secret is a historical novel with a dual storyline.  In the present, Olivia Kavanagh inherits her grandfather's bookstore and discovers a mysterious manuscript related to the Cottingley fairies.  Olivia wants to learn the link between this manuscript and her family.  The book flashes back to two young cousins who made the fairy photographs in 1917, Frances and Elsie.

This was a fascinating read.  I have heard of the Cottingley fairies before, and seen the most famous photo of Frances with the fairies.  That is what initially intrigued me about this novel.

But there was so much more to this story.  I loved Olivia's story, with the antiquarian bookstore and her past that she discovers there.   I found the story of how she works to move past loss and discover what truly brings her joy.  Although I wanted to read this book initially because of the Cottingley fairies, I found Olivia's story even more compelling.  She is such a warm, kind character, deserving of true happiness.  I love the words her grandfather wrote, words she learns to live by:  "You don't need anybody's permission to live the life you desire, Olivia.  You need only the permission of your heart" (p. 11).

This was a book that kept me up long after my usual bedtime. I just could not put it down.  There are so many things in The Cottingley Secret that I am particularly fond of:  a dual storyline, historical fiction, well drawn and sympathetic characters, family history, and a bookstore setting.  (I sell vintage books, so particularly liked the book and bookbinding details in this novel.)

The writing by Hazel Gaynor is just lovely.  The characters are well drawn, the dual storyline is handled beautifully, and the descriptions add so much to the story.

I cannot recommend The Cottingley Secret highly enough for fans of historical fiction.  It is truly an enchanting read.  

Author Bio
HAZEL GAYNOR is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of A Memory of Violets and The Girl Who Came Home, for which she received the 2015 RNA Historical Novel of the Year award. Her third novel The Girl from the Savoy was an Irish Times and Globe & Mail Canada bestseller, and was shortlisted for the BGE Irish Book Awards Popular Fiction Book of the Year. The Cottingley Secret and Last Christmas in Paris will be published in 2017.

Hazel was selected by US Library Journal as one of ‘Ten Big Breakout Authors’ for 2015 and her work has been translated into several languages.

Originally from Yorkshire, England, Hazel now lives in Ireland.

Find out more about Hazel at her website, and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

I received a copy of this book from HarperCollins and TLC Book Tours.