I said my story had many beginnings, and the day the camera arrived was one of them. After all, without the camera, there wouldn’t have been any photographs. Without the camera, I wouldn’t have a story to tell…
1917…. In a world torn apart by war, Frances Griffiths arrives in Cottingley, England where her cousin, Elsie Wright, becomes her friend and playmate. But Frances soon discovers other, secret friends … When the cousins claim to have photographed real fairies at the bottom of the garden their parents are sceptical, but the photos come to the attention of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle who declares them a marvel and entirely authentic. The ‘Cottingley Fairies’ – and the girls – become a national sensation. Afraid to tell the truth, Frances and Elsie will keep their secret for decades …
Present day . . . When Olivia Kavanagh inherits her grandfather’s bookshop in a small Irish harbor town, she discovers far more than dusty old books. An old manuscript tells an enchanting story of a nation gripped by fairy fever, and a hauntingly familiar photograph stirs painful memories of the past. Olivia begins to understand how Frances’s story intertwines with hers, connecting past to present . . . often blurring what is real, and what is imagined, along the way. While little girls might easily believe in fairies, can Olivia believe in herself?
Read the story behind The Cottingley Secret here.
Praise for The Cottingley Secret
“Beautiful lyrical prose …” – Image magazine
“Enchanting, magical, gentle, lyrical, fascinating, relatable. This book reminds us that we are never too old to believe in magic.” – Carmel Harrington, bestselling author of The Woman at 72 Derry Lane
“This is a gorgeous, uplifting, magical book that will have you hooked from the start. I highly recommend it – whether you are a believer or not.” – Gill Paul, bestselling author of The Secret Wife
“A mystery, a love story, and an enchanting and surprising journey of self-discovery, ‘The Cottingley Secret’ unwraps the true story behind one of the great hoaxes of the 19th century while still allowing the possibility of the magical.” – Kate Forsyth, bestselling author of Bitter Greens and Beauty in Thorns
“I adored The Cottingley Secret … Gaynor has penned, in majestic prose, an enchanting and enthralling tale of childhood magic, forgotten dreams, and finding the parts of ourselves we thought were lost forever.” — Pam Jenoff, New York Times bestselling author of The Orphan’s Tale
“There is real magic in these pages. And beauty. And heart.” – Nicole Mary Kelby, author of The Pink Suit
“The Cottingley Secret tells the tale of two girls who somehow convince the world that magic exists. An artful weaving of old legends with new realities, this tale invites the reader to wonder: could it be true?” – Kate Alcott, author of The Dressmaker
“Richly imagined and terrifically enchanting, Hazel Gaynor’s The Cottingley Secret is an enthralling tale where memories serve as lifelines for the living, and the unseen is made real. Reading this novel is akin to finding hidden treasure – each character, a friend; each chapter, a revelation.” – Ami McKay, author of The Witches of New York
“In The Cottingley Secret, Gaynor asks us the question we all have buried somewhere in our hearts– is believing in ourselves, perhaps, the most important magic of all?” – Heather Webb, author of Rodin’s Lover
“Gaynor once again takes readers deep into the lives of her characters, making history come alive. Beautifully written and expertly researched, Gaynor’s latest is a look at one of history’s most intriguing mysteries and an important reminder of the power of belief.” Booklist, Starred review