The Cottingley Secret by Hazel Gaynor
Hazel Gaynor photographed at her home in Kilcullen, Co Kildare. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times
The Cottingley Secret
In the age of virtual reality, scientific innovation and myth-busting, it can be hard to understand how people might have believed in the existence of fairy folk - enchanted locations in Kerry notwithstanding.
But this year marks the centenary of the true events that inspired this book , as told by two young girls, Frances Griffith and Elsie Wright, of fairies photographed in Yorkshire. The claims gained further public attention when Sir Arthur Conan Doyle used the pictures to illustrate an article he wrote for Strand Magazine in Christmas 1920. Into her own tale, Gaynor weaves a contemporary story of Olivia Kavanagh, whose life takes a very different direction when she inherits a ramshackle bookshop from her beloved grandfather in a small Irish coastal town. In both tales, Gaynor sympathetically weaves the loss of a parent or parental figure into how the characters deal with the reality in which they find themselves. The result is an enchanting, charming story.