Alice I Have Been

Alice I Have Been : A Novel

3.65 (14,288 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

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Part love story, part literary mystery, Melanie Benjamin's spellbinding historical novel leads readers on an unforgettable journey down the rabbit hole, to tell the story of a woman whose own life became the stuff of legend. Her name is Alice Liddell Hargreaves, but to the world she'll always be known simply as "Alice," the girl who followed the White Rabbit into a wonderland of Mad Hatters, Queens of Hearts, and Cheshire Cats. Now, nearing her eighty-first birthday, she looks back on a life of intense passion, great privilege, and greater tragedy. First as a young woman, then as a wife, mother, and widow, she'll experience adventures the likes of which not even her fictional counterpart could have imagined. Yet from glittering balls and royal romances to a world plunged into war, she'll always be the same determined, undaunted Alice who, at ten years old, urged a shy, stuttering Oxford professor to write down one of his fanciful stories, thus changing her life forever.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 400 pages
  • 132 x 203 x 23mm | 318g
  • Random House Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 400
  • 0385344147
  • 9780385344142
  • 187,515

Review quote

"This is magic!" --Diana Gabaldon "Excellent . . . a finely wrought portrait of Alice that seamlessly blends fact with fiction. This is book club gold."--Publishers Weekly (starred review) "A seamless tale of love, loss, and myth . . . storytelling at its finest."--Sarah Addison Allen, author of The Girl Who Chased the Moon
"A smashing tale--mostly true--of the overlap of childhood and womanhood, a compelling mystery, an exposé of Victorian mores, an exploration of love that came too soon and too late, an explosive trail of emotions and human foibles, a heartbreak--written with compassion and grace: I loved it!" --Susan Vreeland, author of Clara and Mr. Tiffany "The novel doesn't just fill in the blanks of a literary life, but tells the story of someone who was more than a muse; Alice may have been immortalized as a girl but, as Benjamin imagines, she grew up to be a great woman."--New York Post
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About Melanie Benjamin

Melanie Benjamin lives in Illinois, where she is at work on her next novel.
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Rating details

14,288 ratings
3.65 out of 5 stars
5 20% (2,826)
4 40% (5,651)
3 29% (4,112)
2 9% (1,318)
1 3% (381)

Our customer reviews

Everything about this book is beautiful. I didn't want it to end, but couldn't help turning the pages because it was, once again, so beautifully written, except for, maybe the last part (more on that later). I especially liked Alice's voice and seeing her change from an innocent, free-willed girl to a strong, confident young woman. Benjamin is excellent at capturing Alice's conflicts emotionally. (She managed to do the same with 'Mrs. Tom Thumb') My favorite is the 7-year-old Alice. She was exactly as depicted in Alice in Wonderland - vivacious, full of wonder and ever so vocal! Alice's love life was nothing but complicated. It's almost as though she was not meant for love. She attracted it for sure; men were drawn to her like moth to a flame, but maybe she was not meant to live it. Prince Leopold was the only man she ever professed her love to, but it ended up bitter. Mr Hargreaves claimed she was his love at first sight. But Alice never truly loved him, until it was too late. Mr Dodgson on the other hand, as much as she hated to admit it, had a special place in her heart. There was always that longing for him in her voice. '"Alice", the man in the hat said tenderly - only it was Leo. "Alice, be happy. Be happy with me." "Of course," I said with a contented sigh. "Of course. I'll always be happy with you, my love." But no - the man in the hat was not Leo, he was not Regi. He was Mr. Dodgson. I opened my eyes, my girl's eyes, clear and sharp, no need for spectacles, and saw only him. His soft brown hair curling at the ends, his kind blue eyes, no higher than the other.' That summer, that particular moment that started and ended it all, she was happy, 'I will always believe - the two of us were."' Ever since that day, she hated talking about him, too afraid the truth will tear her apart. They were both such romantics. Mr Dodgson, I think, was the only man who was capable of loving her as she was, accepting her eccentricities, her passion for life and intelligence. He was her equal. I think their relationship would have turned out differently if they had met at a different time. I admire Benjamin's ability to bring a character as enigmatic as Alice come to live. Like 'Mrs Tom Thumb', she created another poignant historical fiction based on research. It takes a very skillful writer to turn a novel of this genre into a keeper. In my opinion, to be able to write a historical fiction as good as this, one must let dream take over... 'Words, pictures, questions, and finally - dreams; it always begins with a dream, doesn't it? Alice's dream by the river, her head in her sister's lap, dreaming of a rabbit, a white rabbit; my dream also. My dreams.' (p. 338) For more reviews, go to hookedonbookz.comshow more
by A_Bookaholic
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