Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Delacorte Press; First Edition edition (January 12, 2010)
From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Benjamin draws on one of the most enduring relationships in children's literature in her excellent debut, spinning out the heartbreaking story of Alice from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Her research into the lives of Charles Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll) and the family of Alice Liddell is apparent as she takes circumstances shrouded in mystery and colors in the spaces to reveal a vibrant and passionate Alice. Born into a Victorian family of privilege, free-spirited Alice catches the attention of family friend Dodgson and serves as the muse for both his photography and writing. Their bond, however, is misunderstood by Alice's family, and though she is forced to sever their friendship, she is forever haunted by their connection as her life becomes something of a chain of heartbreaks. As an adult, Alice tries to escape her past, but it is only when she finally embraces it that she truly finds the happiness that eluded her. Focusing on three eras in Alice's life, Benjamin offers a finely wrought portrait of Alice that seamlessly blends fact with fiction. This is book club gold. (Jan.)
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This is my review of ALICE I HAVE BEEN
Not only did I choose this book for a group read but also because I really enjoy a Victorian Atmosphere. This story is set in Oxford London in the 1800's when Alice Lindell was 7 years old. I thought Melanie Benjamin did a great job of describing the area. I could picture the beautiful grounds, the lakes, and even the house (Dreanery) that Alice and her family lived.
At first the story was a little unsettling. The way the author described the relationship between Alice and Mr. Dedgdon left me wondering --was this child abuse or just fantasy in the minds of both Alice and Mr Dodgdon????? As Ms Benjamin wrote this story is of " A man who fancies himself and a child who thought she was a women turned to each other on a hot summer day, mindful of nothing and no one, but each other " best describes the Alice of 7 years old.
Alice viewed her life as divided into 2 different parts of lands before and after. Sounds like Alice has past regrets. While reading this novel, I kept wondering what happens to Alice when she grows up. My Polly Anna ignorance told me that she would find true love and live happily ever after --- my belief came true but after much tragedy.
The novel takes us through Alice's relationships with not only with family, Mr Dodgdon, but also her love affair with Prince Leopold, the love of her life and her marriage to Reginald Hargreaves. She becomes a mother of 3 sons, at this point her life seems fulfilled with being a mother, wife and homemake, as she continues to put her past behind her.
At this point in the novel, I could not put the book down. I could not wait to see how this charming story was going to end. Even with my Polly Anna ignorance, I was not dissappointed, just the opposite.
I would definitely recommend this book to any who enjoys a little historical history, love affairs