The Cottingley Secret Book review

Do you believe in fairies?

Blurb

In 1917

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

Genre:  general fiction

Publisher: Harper Collins Publishers

I stumbled on this book on Twitter and was instantly drawn to it because I remember being fascinated by these photographs of fairies as a child. The book captivated me from the first page and is as gentle, serene and magical as the fairies themselves. The descriptions are atmospheric and made me believe I was in Yorkshire playing in the beck or browsing the shelves of the Irish book shop which has a character of its own. I enjoyed how the two stories entwined and the relationship between the characters past and present.

 It is a perfect book to read on a crisp Autumn day and may inspire you to connect with nature and hunt for fairies yourself.  

Have you read it? I would love to hear what you thought in the comments below.

Happy reading.

Book review: Oh! What a pavlova by Isabella May

oh pavlova book

Title: Oh! What a Pavlova by Isabella May

Genre: Women’s fiction, contemporary  fiction

This book requires a warning;   your tastebuds will tingle and tins full of baked goods should be sourced before you grab a cup of tea to read. Within a few chapters, I fancied focaccia, coconut macaroons and more. My diet went out of the window while reading this book.

In this debut, Isabella May has incorporated cake, travel, affairs and domestic abuse in this story following Kate Clothier. Like the initial impression of a well made pavlova, her life is perfect. She has a good job, travels to many different cites, has the ability to buy good clothes and foreign holidays as well as a secure relationship but when the dessert is sliced, its many layers are revealed. Some of these are rather messy. In one layer of Kate’s life, she is the confident professional, another she is looking for a boost of self esteem while in the other she is trapped in an abusive relationship.

It is easy to relate to Kate, who is not perfect and approaches her life with humour, flings and cake. She is either eating it or thinking about it.  She could easily be your friend, collegue or sister. This connection I felt made me eager to see if she could accept the situation she finds herself in, build strength and break free. Isabella May’s book shows relationships are not simple and abuse does not have to be constant but can ebb and flow over time,  adding to the confusion for the abused. This books highlights how domestic abuse can occur without friends and family knowing as well as showing things can change.

The only disappointment I had was the lack of recipes for all the cakes discussed at the back of the book.

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Thank you, Isabella May for an ARC in exchange for a fair review. I look forward to your next book next year.