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Publisher's Summary

The New York Times best-selling author of The Girl Who Came Home turns the clock back 100 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 best seller 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?

©2017 Hazel Gaynor (P)2017 HarperCollins Publishers

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Lovely listen!

Lovely listen...great narration for an intriguing story - I really didn't want it to end!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Heartwarming

This book was perfect. I loved everything about it. Did not want it to end. A magical tale with amazing female characters. Empowering, mystical, moving. I will be recommending this ti many!!!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Just lovely

What a sweet book! Loved the characters and the whole story. Have loved the fairy stories for years having seen the movie. The book is just great. Narration very good. Loved her accents and characterization. Made it come to life.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Enchanting

What did you love best about The Cottingley Secret?

Everything... I loved how magical the story was. As I kid I was obsessed with the film "Fairy Tale a True Story". My best friend and I would search for fairies in my backyard (even though we lived in Florida...) and I loved the story of the Cottingley Fairies. I stumbled on this book when I was searching to see if Francis or Elsie has written more about their story. I listened to the book on my road trip this weekend- and it captured me. The narration was perfect and I loved Olivia's character. I loved her little bookshop and the magic of the store window. The descriptions were amazing- I feel like I could visualize Cottingley and the little bookshop in Ireland.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Cottingley Secret?

Ooo... it is difficult to pick just one... Probably the first time Francis sees the Beck and how she described it felt to be around the fairies. Anything in the Beck actually...

Have you listened to any of Karen Cass and Billie Fullford-Brown ’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No- but I truly enjoyed their performance.

If you could take any character from The Cottingley Secret out to dinner, who would it be and why?

Another difficult question- so many great characters. I would love to talk to Francis. She has this amazing ability to believe in the impossible and hates lying to the people she cares about. I would love to hear the story from her and also about all the other interesting parts of living in the UK unrelated to those photos that followed her around.

Any additional comments?

Read this book- it will bring you back to your childhood. Olivia's journey is relatable and her connection to the photos is pretty unexpected, but perfectly weaved into the plot. It is a nice balance of fiction and history.

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I always wanted to see Faeries

The Cuttingly Secret, a novel by Hazel Gaynor was such a lovely surprise. Parts of this story are based on true events, yet what little girl hasn't hoped to see their own Faeries? This book made that wish quite within reach. Some bubbling water, a setting sun and a still of the air, who can deny the possibilities?

This author is new to me but I'll be looking for more of her work. I absolutely loved this book.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Mrs. Nicola Jemphrey
  • 10-14-17

The original story is better

The story of the Cottingley fairy hoax is endlessly fascinating and was the best part of the book. The other story, set in a modern day Ireland of balmy summer nights and perfect autumn days I don't recognise, was too formulaic and contrived and didn't add anything to the original story; if anything it confused it.

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  • tristan
  • 09-09-17

Magical

A beautiful and thoughtful fairytale written with all the complicated emotions of adulthood, a joy to listen to