Publisher's Note:  

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.

Alice I Have Been

by Melanie Benjamin

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Overall Review:  

Most of us are familiar with the story of Alice in Wonderland, but have you ever wondered what Alice's real story was? Melanie Benjamin does an outstanding job of weaving a beautiful prologue to Alice's adventure in this novel that chronicles the lives of Alice and her family and the man who was supposedly behind the authorship of Alice in Wonderland. The story begins with Alice replying to a letter from her son, one regarding the business of Lewis Carrol's upcoming birthday. Alice is no longer a young girl in a fantasy land, though. She is an eighty-year-old woman in sore need of a nap. And thus, we enter a chronicle of Alice's childhood and her fanciful dreams.


Written in Alice's own words and thoughts, this book is a wonderful journey to a past that would have been dry and boring, if not for Alice's friends and imagination. Throughout the book there are old-fashioned pictures of Alice that really help to bring this story to life. Part fairy tale, part fictional autobiography, this book is one you will have difficulty setting down once you begin.

Content Analysis:  

Profanity/Language:  3 derogatory names


Violence/Gore:  A young child becomes sick and dies; a man is accused of attempted assault of a woman, and it is implied in a sexual way.


Sex/Nudity: A young girl has an intimate, emotionally-based relationship with a middle-aged man, though she views it innocently; characters kiss; a man takes pictures of a young girl, it seems innocent enough but his intent is not clear and nothing transpires.

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Adults drink; adults smoke.

Reviewed By Lydia
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