Do you believe in fairies? In 1917, in the midst of World War I, two girls from Cottingley, England believed in fairies and had the whole world believing with them. Cousins Frances Griffiths and Elsie Wright loved to play in the beck at the bottom of their garden and Frances began to see the magical creatures that have been rumored to live there. Fueled by the need for her family to believe, Elsie takes a staged picture with Frances and the fairies. The picture soon spreads and grabs the interest of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, making the girls and their fairies an international sensation. The two girl stuck to their stories of the pictures being real for decades. When the truth finally comes out, Frances shares her side of the story in a manuscript. One hundred years later, Olivia Kavanaugh finds Frances' manuscript at a turning point in her life. Olivia's grandfather has died, leaving her his antique bookstore, Something Old. When Olivia goes to the bookstore to get everything in order, she discovers the manuscript and begins reading Frances's story. Olivia also finds an interesting connection to Frances and her fairies in the manuscript along with the courage to make an important change in her life.
I have always loved a good fairy tale, and The Cottingley Secret provides one that very well might be real! This was a perfect mix of history with a dash of magic. I loved the dual story line and that as Olivia read Frances' tale of discovery. Olivia not only discovered strength within herself through Frances, but she was able to connect further with her grandmother and past generations of her family. I enjoyed that Frances and Olivia shared a connection, but not in an obvious way. The writing captured me and transported me back to Cottingley in 1917 in order to relive Frances' fairy tale, I had no trouble picturing the idyllic beck that Frances and Elsie played in or the glimpses of fairies that visited. I also had no trouble picturing the Something Old bookshop filled with stories waiting to be read or its mysterious fairy window. Most of all, I loved that this book was filled with women who changed people's minds and beliefs with their sense of wonder. Frances and Elsie managed to give the world hope at a time of despair while Olivia made strides for herself and began to revitalize her community. Overall, a wonderful story of hope, secrets and magic.
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.