Do You Believe in Magic, in a Young Girl’s Heart?
Do little girls still believe in magic at all? After reading The Cottingley Secret, this not-so-young-girl believed!
In 1917, the Big War had just broken out when Frances Griffiths’ father joined up to “do his part.” Frances and her mother were whisked off to England to stay with relatives, including her cousin, Elsie. Obviously, Frances was young, bored, worried and sad and she often spent time alone in the beck, a clearing by the pond. It is there that she first saw the faeries. Of course, no one believed her at first, not even Elsie, perhaps not even you. But after a time she decided she should photograph these faeries to convince her family that they were, in fact, real. The rest, as they say, is history. The very real Sir Arthur Conan Doyle saw the photographs, examined them thoroughly and declared them “authentically true.” Yes, he really did.
In an alternate timeline set in the present, the reader is told of Olivia who has inherited her grandfather’s bookstore and with it a manuscript entitled, “Notes on a Fairy Tale.” Inside is the very story of Frances, Elsie, the faeries and the photographs.
Told from alternating points of view, Hazel Gaynor, has spun her fairy tale of beauty, magic and love that spans throughout time for over a century. While the narrative goes from Frances to Olivia and back, the reader is never lost or distracted. In fact, with snippets of factual journal entries, there is just enough truth in this piece of historical fiction to suspend belief and allow the reader to enter a land of magic where imagination reigns and innocence still exists. At the end of the story, the reader, will be amazed to find the actual photos of the faeries that Conan-Doyle inspected. Yes, they are real. The photographs. You will have to decide for yourself if you believe Frances’ story. I know that I do. Very much.
There are few books that I recommend without hesitation to all; this book is one of them. I had not read other reviews and had not seen spoilers and I have not given you any here. This is a tale that should be enjoyed without any preconceived notions of good or bad, reality or fiction… just read and enjoy. I know you will.
Hazel Gaynor, author of The Cottingley Secret
(Lyrics “Do You Believe in Magic” by The Lovin’ Spoonful.)