You’ve probably already heard, or you will have if you are about my age (*cough* 40) about the story of the two young girls back in 1917 who claim to have seen fairies and took photographs of them. There have been numerous tv programmes about it, and so many articles in the newspaper, so I have grown up knowing about this. If you google Cottingley Fairies you will find a huge amount of information on the story.
The two young girls who photographed the fairies are cousins, Frances Griffiths and Elsie Wright. Frances left her home in Cape Town to return to Cottingley in Yorkshire when her father is drafted into the army, and meets her elder cousin Elsie who first shows her the small beck at the bottom of the garden. Frances becomes enamoured with the beck and spends every moment she can there. One summer day she sees the fairies, but promises to herself not to tell anyone, however Elsie notices something is wrong with Frances and gets her secret out of her.
The girls then go on in search of the fairies, and what follows is the famous “is is true, did they fake it” tale which we all know well.
As this is a re-imagining of the story, there is another half to the tale. Enter Olivia Kavanagh – the granddaughter of one of the characters in the main story. Her life is not going particularly well and she brings a different dimension to the story when she finds newspaper cuttings, photographs, etc relating to the story.
I have to admit that I wasn’t overly keen on Olivia and I would have preferred just to stay with the two girls – but this is of course, a fictional book, which I did very much enjoy reading, and I did at times struggle to put down.
After reading this book I asked myself if I believe in the Cottingley Fairies? Yes, actually, I do.
My thanks to Netgalley & HarperCollins UK for this copy.