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Alice I Have Been

Have you ever wondered about the little girl who inspired Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland? Melanie Benjamin has given us a beautifully written fictional novel based on facts pieced together of Alice Liddell's life as both a child and an adult.

Publisher's synopsis (longish but so worth it): Few works of literature are as universally beloved as Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Now, in this spellbinding historical novel, we meet the young girl whose bright spirit sent her on an unforgettable trip down the rabbit hole–and the grown woman whose story is no less enthralling.

But oh my dear, I am tired of being Alice in Wonderland. Does it sound ungrateful?

Alice Liddell Hargreaves’s life has been a richly woven tapestry: As a young woman, wife, mother, and widow, she’s experienced intense passion, great privilege, and greater tragedy. But as she nears her eighty-first birthday, she knows that, to the world around her, she is and will always be only “Alice.” Her life was permanently dog-eared at one fateful moment in her tenth year–the golden summer day she urged a grown-up friend to write down one of his fanciful stories.

That story, a wild tale of rabbits, queens, and a precocious young child, becomes a sensation the world over. Its author, a shy, stuttering Oxford professor, does more than immortalize Alice–he changes her life forever. But even he cannot stop time, as much as he might like to. And as Alice’s childhood slips away, a peacetime of glittering balls and royal romances gives way to the urgent tide of war.

For Alice, the stakes could not be higher, for she is the mother of three grown sons, soldiers all. Yet even as she stands to lose everything she treasures, one part of her will always be the determined, undaunted Alice of the story, who discovered that life beyond the rabbit hole was an astonishing journey.

A love story and a literary mystery, Alice I Have Been brilliantly blends fact and fiction to capture the passionate spirit of a woman who was truly worthy of her fictional alter ego, in a world as captivating as the Wonderland only she could inspire.

I couldn't tear myself away from this book, and I knew nothing of the heavily dramatic rumors surrounding Alice in Wonderland, and the people behind the book. Ms. Benjamin has woven a story that enticed me from beginning to end. The story is not that of Mr. Dodgson, the man behind the pen name Lewis Carroll, but that of Alice Liddell, the little girl that inspired the story that has been cherished for well over 100 years. It follows her through her childhood as a friend of Mr. Dodgson, a man both her sister and her nanny seem to covet, but who seems enraptured by Alice through the fallout of their friendship when she is 11. When Alice is 23, she meets Prince Leopold and they fall in love, only to be torn apart by the rumors of what happened the fateful day she and Dodgson's friendship fractured beyond repair. After the heartbreak of losing Leo, she meets her future husband with whom she has three boys. The loss in Alice's life is overwhelmingly sad and the writing conveys tragedy after tragedy endured by Alice in a captivating manner. Don't miss this book released at the end of this month! I received my galley through Shelf Awareness

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inthehammockblog said...

Wow!! This looks so good! Thanks for the review!

Angela said...

This is one I have been eagerly anticipating! Glad to hear that you found it so interesting.

S. Krishna said...

I just finished this book yesterday and absolutely loved it. Great review.

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