Monday, August 7, 2017

Do You Believe in Fairies?

"You don't need anybody's permission to live the life you desire, Olivia.
You need only the permission of your heart."
--Hazel Gaynor
Genre: Adult Contemporary & Historical Fiction
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Pages: 364168
Publication Date: August 1st, 2017
Source: ARC provided by publisher
Find on: Goodreads | Amazon

My Thoughts

The Belle
This being my first Hazel Gaynor novel, I didn't know what to expect. But when I started reading the prologue I knew I was in for a captivating story of fairies, magic, and growing up. This story is a dual timeline with the past component taking place from 1917-1920 and is about an actual historical event known as the Cottingley Fairies when two young girls seemed to capture real fairies while playing in the beck behind their house. The present day story is about a woman who inherits her grandfather's bookshop after his death and finds one of the little girl's from 1917 story about those events.
What I loved most about this book was the theme of believing in magic, believing in something that cannot be explained by science, and believing in something more. In a world so ugly and unkind at times, I always love stories that bring a magical element to it. Gaynor did this by introducing a young girl, Frances, who moves to her mother's hometown of Cottingley while her father is at war and who sees fairies in the woods near the house. From there we get a practical joke that turns into a nationwide phenomena but I won't ruin the story for you.

I didn't realize until about 70 pages in that this actually happened. Two girls in 1917 took photos with fairies and was a story that was covered by Arthur Conan Doyle. It was so exciting to read about something that actually happened that dealt with something magical. I loved reading the past story which was told in Frances' own words and how it all happened. My one complaint about this part of the book was there were parts in the middle that felt a little long and drawn out. But that also could be because I was so excited to get back to the present day.

The present day story is about Olivia, who is back in Ireland settling the estate of her grandfather who also left her his bookshop. I LOVE reading about bookshops and owners and everything about it! Olivia is engaged to a man back in London where she was living previously and doesn't really have a desire to go back. Her grandfather's death kind of catapulted her into a lot of self-reflection and what she wants out of life. My one reservation with this section was that it felt like the overall story and plot could have been a little tighter as well. I felt like I knew Olivia but didn't really know her. I would have loved a little bit deeper characterization about what she really wanted going forward.

What I really enjoyed about both storylines was that it was about growing up and identifying with yourself. Whether you're 9 or 35, there's always room to grow up and re-evaluate what we want out of life. Between that and the theme of believing in magic, this was a really enjoyable read!

Reserved Seating
If you love fairies, believing in magic, and stories about growing up and finding yourself...this book is for you.

3 comments:

  1. Oooh excellent! I love books involving faeries. Added to my TBR!

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  2. I'm a sucker for stories about growing up and finding yourself, so you know I'm in for that! I've never heard of this one, but definitely adding it to my list to check out :)

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  3. I definitely need to read this one. I've heard so many great things about it!

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