Review: Alice I have been

I bought this book initially as homework for an article I was going to write.  I also spent some time at my local bookstore glancing at 'all things' Alice before Alice in Wonderland opened last weekend.  Well I decided to write about something completely different (not because of this book... but that's another story for another day).

From author’s website: By incorporating her passion for history and biography, Melanie, now writing as Melanie Benjamin, has finally found her niche writing historical fiction, concentrating on the "stories behind the stories." ALICE I HAVE BEEN is her first historical novel; she is currently at work on her second, also to be published by Delacorte Press.

She and her family still live in the Chicago area; when she's not writing, she's gardening, taking long walks, rooting for the Cubs—

Synopsis: 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.

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.

Type: Fiction, 368 pages, Hardcover

Quick Take: I really wanted to read this book after reading a few reviews online from trusted sources.  I'm glad I read this book, it's well researched and very well written.  Like many of us, I didn't know Alice was a real person.  Did you know Peter Pan is a real person and that Alice and Peter meet (at least they do in the book, I wonder if this is true)?

What I didn't like:  I don't want to make more of this than needed but the reader is often left wondering if Alice had inappropriate relations with a grown man (she was seven) throughout over half of the book.  Sometimes it reads as a crush but I was often left unsettled.  Once she is grown this part of the story fades.  I will tell you Alice is happy and nothing horrible happens to her.

Read about the world of Alice: I encourage you to visit this link on the author's website - it provides Alice's background.  You might not be able to leave this site!

Source: Personal copy