Artist: Arthur Rackham (1867-1939)

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

'The Pressed Fairy Journal of Madeline Cottington' book review

'The Pressed Fairy Journal of Madeline Cottington' by Brian and Wendy Froud. Copyright 2016, Abrams Books.
Fairy artist Brian Froud says that he’s spent most of his life pursuing undeniable proof of the existence of fairies. Just after midnight of January 1, 1990 he received a mysterious envelope containing a scrap of paper with some pressed flowers and what appeared to be a squashed fairy. He soon received more of these fairy pressings, and his life has never been the same since. It turns out that the pressed images were actually psychic impressions left behind by the fairies, and no fairies were harmed in creating the images. In fact, the fairies enjoyed it, and began competing to see who could leave the most artistic or most outrageous impression. After receiving more and more documents about the creator of the pressed fairy images, Lady Angelica Cottington and her family, and their interactions with the fairies, Froud published “Lady Cottington’s Pressed Fairy Book” in 1994. The book became an international best seller, and is still in print.

Brian Froud has since published three other volumes about the Cottingtons, as well as a 10 ¾ anniversary edition of “Lady Cottington’s Pressed Fairy Book.” Now, Brian and his wife Wendy Froud present “The Pressed Fairy Journal of Madeline Cottington.” Madeline Cottington, or Maddie C., is a young descendant of the Cottingtons who grew up in the U.S. knowing nothing about her ancestors or their relationships with the fairies. She does see “floaty things” around her which also begin to appear in photos of her.

After her family moves to England she begins to find evidence of the family secret. Her search for the truth leads her to Cottington Hall, her ancestral home where the mystery of her family’s relationship with the fairies is gradually revealed to her. Eventually, she finds herself being drawn out of the mundane human world, and into the world of Faerie. In the end, she must make a difficult decision, but is she deciding for herself, or has her destiny been decided for her all along?

This new book features fairy art by Brian Froud, along with a foreword by the artist and text by Wendy Froud. It’s full of quirky dark humor, mystery, and even tragedy. The story is told through Maddie’s journal entries, old family notes and letters, photos, and pressed fairy images. It’s on the dark side, so it’s not for children. This ninety-six page hard cover volume is a coffee table book printed on heavy coated paper. It features ninety-six color illustrations and includes a bee tattoo and a paper hat.

Verdict: 4 stars. Diehard fans of Brian Froud will want to add this to their collection of his works. It’s not on the same order as his classic book “Faeries” from 1979, but those who enjoy his darker works and the previous books about the Cottingtons will like this one. This darker story is in keeping with the upcoming Halloween season. “The Pressed Fairy Journal of Madeline Cottington” is published by Abrams Books, and will be available in stores and online beginning September 27.

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