But oh my dear, I am tired of being Alice in Wonderland. Does it sound ungrateful?
Alice Liddell Hargreavess life has been a richly woven tapestry: As a young woman, wife, mother, and widow, shes 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 Alices 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.
With 24 out of 28 members rating it 4 or 5 stars, Alice I Have Been is a clear winner with our readers, and inspired many to revisit Lewis Carroll's classic.
Masterfully written, this "Victorian" novel will satisfy not only those who have been charmed by "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" but any reader who enjoys history, mystery, and a journey through life's vagaries with a heroine whose admonition, borrowed from Lewis Carroll, is "May we be happy. (Carol C.)" Going back in time with the real Alice is like going down a new rabbit hole with experiences following one upon the other until the final page of the imaginative roller coaster ride. A very enjoyable and often poignant adventure story with a curious twist at the end (Therese X). (Reviewed by BookBrowse First Impression Reviewers).
[A] richly woven fictional account of the life of the girl who became Alice in Wonderland. It's a mystery, and a love story, that follows Alice into adulthood after both tragic and wonderful experiences. I loved this creative and well-written book.”
-- Doreen Pierson, Chapter One Book Store, Hamilton, MT
Historical fiction hampered by a 21st-century perspective on Victorian values.
Benjamin's characters tend to be one-dimensional types and behave accordingly, though there are some genuinely moving moments ... As for Benjamin’s deliciously melodramatic portrait of art historian John Ruskin, it's almost worth the price of admission.
This novel will have wide appeal as it includes history, romance, literature, and a great deal of suspense.
School Library Journal
This is a beautiful story for readers interested in the fictionalized life of a literary inspiration (Adult Books for Highschoolers).
Publishers Weekly (Pick of the Week)
Starred Review. [A] finely wrought portrait of Alice that seamlessly blends fact with fiction. This is book club gold.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by John Mark Reality Check If you want to know the real story behind the story, the book you need to read is The Real Alice in Wonderland by her descendants, C.M. Rubin and Gabriella Rubin. The book is available in Barnes and Noble stores nationally. It has received rave... Read More
Rated of 5
by Carol Byers Behind the Story I found Benjamin's 'Alice I Have Been' to be fascinating with many of life's experiences seamlessly expressed. To gain the most of this story, I needed to read a bit about the actual life of Lewis Carroll as well as the Liddell family (Alice was... Read More
Rated of 5
by mainlinebooker what a treat The best part of the book was the authentic voices used; I can just picture this as a wonderful audio book. The weakest part is the third section but I delighted in this book and am now back to reading Alice in Wonderland and will see Tim Burton's... Read More
Rated of 5
by sadie Where was the editor? I came to this book with a keen interest on how the author might create a historical memoir of sorts. I thought it would be a fascinating story. Instead, I found myself frustrated with the author's choice to sexualize 11 year old Alice. It didn't... Read More
Rated of 5
by A Bookshelf Monstrosity Meet the real Alice "But oh my dear, I am tired of being Alice in Wonderland. Does it sound ungrateful?"
I had some vague idea that Alice in Wonderland was indeed based on a real girl. What I didn't realize, however, was that Charles Dodgson, better known... Read More
Rated of 5
by Kimberli M. (Jessup, MD) Good Writing, not crazy about plot The author creates a vivid picture with her prose, mingling fact and fiction. The author is gifted, but I think she should have followed Alice a bit further down the rabbit hole. While the first half of the book held my attention, the second... Read More
The Origin of Lewis Carroll's classic
(From author Melanie Benjamin's website)
On the "golden afternoon" of July 4, 1862, Charles Dodgson and his friend Robinson
Duckworth rowed the three Liddell girls - Ina, Alice and Edith - down the Isis
(or the Thames, as it's known as it nears London)* for a picnic lunch. During the
trip, Dodgson began to tell the sisters the story of a little girl who followed
a rabbit down a rabbit hole.
Afterward, Alice Liddell begged him to write the
story down. It took him two years, but finally in November, 1864, he presented
Alice with a handwritten, leather-bound book titled Alice's Adventures Under Ground.
He illustrated the book himself, and pasted a photograph of Alice at the age of
seven in the back. By this time, however, he was estranged from the Liddell family,
Friends of Dodgson's read the book as he was preparing it,
A Man Called Intrepid author dies aged 89(Dec 03 2013) William Stevenson, a journalist and author who drew on his close ties with intelligence sources to write two best-selling books in the 1970s, A Man Called...