Thursday, January 21, 2010

Book Review- Alice I Have Been

I just finished reading Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin for a Pump Up Your Book Promotions Virtual Book Tour.


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.

First of all, let me say that the only thing I know about Alice in Wonderland is from Disney (and while I own the Disney movie, I haven't seen it yet.  I am also looking forward to the new movie coming out soon).  That said, who doesn't love the idea of Alice, and I wanted to read more about her. 

Melanie Benjamin wrote a fascinating historical fiction novel about the life of Alice Liddell, the little girl who inspired the Alice's Adventures in Wonderland story by Lewis Carroll (real name Charles Dodgson).  And while I found that the mysterious relationship between the Alice and Mr. Dodgson bothered me, I enjoyed the rest of the story.  I especially enjoyed the part of her life when she was in her young twenties and I could feel her pain about the way that part of her life turned out.

 I am glad that Melanie Benjamin wrote author's notes at the back of the book to let us know what was real and what she took liberties with.  If you like historical fiction and/or are a fan of Alice in Wonderland, then this book would be right up your alley!

I gave this book a rating of 3/5.

This book fulfills items in the following challenges:
A to Z Challenge: B
2010 100+ Reading Challenge: 9
TwentyTen Reading Challenge: Bad Blogger's #2
ARC Reading Challenge 2010: 8


Melanie Benjamin lives in the Chicago area with her husband and two sons, where she is working on her next historical novel. Visit her website at

View more stops on the blog tour here.

FTC Disclosure: I was sent this book a part of Pump Up Your Book Promotions for a honest review.


  1. Thanks for the nice review of Melanie's book. It's received several great reviews during the tour, so much so, that I've added it to my wish list.

    Your readers can see more of the blogs that hosted Melanie this month by visiting

    Thanks again.


  2. Oooh I actually really want to read this one, it sounds really good :)

  3. I am dying to read this one! The only other Alice related books I have read are The Looking Glass Wars and Seeing Redd by Frank Beddor. Interesting concept but not well written. Finally a good Alice book!