An enticing novel of beauty, fantasy and life in the Victorian era
A quite amazing semi-biographical tale of the real Alice in Wonderland, Alice Pleasance Liddell. This is a novel, therefore fiction, but I doubt there was much fiction involved. This book read as nearly to a biography as a book ever has. In fact, it had me eager to look up Alice Liddell as a curiosity. What an amazing story the author has wrought. It was so easy to fall into the rabbit hole with Alice. As she herself states on first hearing Mr. Charles Dodgson tell it, as he has told her and her sisters tales before, this is her story. I loved the way the characters in what came to be such a famous childrens book fell into place, each fitting a character from life so smoothly. This book has everything a person could want in the genre of Victorian history, a remarkable and famous children's story, romance, deceit, and above all giving life to Alice in Wonderland. This book flows beautifully with the showing the world from the eyes of a child, a young lady in love, and finally an elderly woman who finally comes to terms with her life.
Taken that this book, the story as perceived by Alice, took place in the Victorian era, we must take some of it as plausible, particularly the apparent demise of the relationship, because this has never been resolved in fact, only that something did happen. Something of great import in the days of Queen Victoria's reign. Alice seems not to remember what happened that long ago day, even into her eighties. It may seem odd in this day and age that after asking Charles Dodgson, who later as we know took the nom de plume of Lewis Carroll, to write down the story he had just told the three sisters, and claiming it was about her, she didn't read it for many decades, not even to her own children.
The book is so thorough, so much a sincere biography and so much a work of fiction but most certainly based on biographical material. Melanie Benjamin has done considerable research on the subject and has turned it into a work worthy of it's subject. It takes us into the life of Alice and the life of Alice in Wonderland equally. They are one and yet they are not. A very convincing historic novel.