Alice I Have Been

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Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin

“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.

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 picked this book up on a whim in Target because I liked the cover.(I do that a lot.) Then I read the story premise and I was pretty much sold. Then, I read the first page. I got about halfway through the first page, closed the book and dropped it in my cart! I knew right then that it was going to be a great read. While I was reading this, I kept forgetting that the book I was reading was fiction. It was very well written and extremely plausible. Benjamin brought the characters to life and added new dimensions to them all. I became even more interested in the Victorian era after reading Alice as well. I am very much looking forward to Benjamin’s next book, The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb: A Novel, which will be released later this summer. I’d also like to see Alice translated to the big screen if it could be done well.

368 pages
Published December 28th 2010 by Bantam (first published December 9th 2009)
ISBN13: 9780385344142

4 stars