This is a novel any book lover will fall in love with. The old bookshop that Olivia inherits upon her grandfather's death is a reader's dream.
Summary taken from Amazon:
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?
I loved so many things about this novel. I loved Olivia's story - her quest to learn more about her grandmother's life, her realization that her relationship with her fiancee was not working, her desire to hang on to her grandfather's bookstore.
And then I loved the portion of this novel set in 1917 as two girls staged pictures of themselves with fairies that the rest of the world believed were authentic. The manuscript that Olivia finds explaining all of this was so entertaining.
Of course reading Gaynor's notes at the book's end added to my love of The Cottingly Secret. I was happily surprised to learn that the photographs the novel centers around really were in the news in 1917 as people questioned their authenticity. I have been busily reading more about them online. (This is one of my favorite aspects of historical fiction: learning of little known events in the past).
I can think of many readers who will enjoy this book and reviews I've seen are also singing it's praises.
Thanks to TLC Book Tours for providing a copy of this book for my review. All opinions expressed are, as always, my own.
Visit the HarperCollins website to learn more about The Cottingly Secret.