Friday, 3 July 2015

The looking glass house - Vanessa Tait

Vanessa Tait, great-granddaughter of the Alice who inspired Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, tells the fascinating story of the childhood classic's strange beginnings through the eyes of a naive and deceived governess.

What happened before Alice fell down the rabbit hole?

Oxford, 1862. As Mary Prickett takes up her post as governess to the daughters of the Dean of Christ Church, she is thrust into a strange new world. Mary is poor and plain and desperate for change but the little girls in her care see and understand far more than their naive new teacher. And there is another problem: Mary does not like children, especially the precocious Alice Liddell.

When Mary meets Charles Dodgson, the Christ Church mathematics tutor, at a party at the Deanery, she wonders if he may be the person to transform her life. Flattered by his attentions, Mary begins to believe that she could be more than just an overlooked, dowdy governess.

One sunny day, as Mary chaperones the Liddells on a punting trip, Mr Dodgson tells the story of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. But Mary is determined to become Mr Dodgson's muse ­ and will turn all the lives around her topsy-turvy in pursuit of her obsession. 

My thoughts:
The story of Alice, but not really, it was the story of Alice's governess, and in turn about Alice.

Mary is from a poor family, but finds herself lucky to become a governess to the Lidell children. Maybe she even can find a match for herself.

Fiction and history is mixed since we can't know everything for sure. Mary is pretty blind at times, but she was a woman of her time. She fell for Hodgson, and thought he liked her back. She also disliked Alice a lot since Alice stole the attention she wanted. Of course she never questioned why a grown man wants to spend so much time with a kid. So she was jealous, blind, but still yes I got that she wanted more from her life.

Alice then. We only see Alice through Mary's eyes, and Alice is a spoiled child who gets way too much attention and revels in it. I can't say I liked Alice, but then, would she have been liked that if she had not been told how special she was? Oh and sidenote, I found it so interesting to see what happened to Alice when she grow up. There is another story there!

Right, the elephant in the room. We can't know, but really, he took those pics, he wrote creepy letters. Yeah. And little by little he gets creepier and creepier. Just by things he says when you think about it.

I thought it was interesting, and so creepy, about the historical explanation why he could spend time with kids. He could not have spent time with a young woman, that would have been wrong. But little girls that was ok in those times. Cos yes, who would do anything wrong? No one is that weird..right.

Conclusion:
It was an fascinating look at the family. And I totally think there should be a book about Alice as a woman.

cover
nice

Hardcover, 304 pages
Published July 2nd 2015 by Corvus
Historical fiction
for review


30 comments:

  1. That IS really strange - he can hang around little girls but must be chaperoned with a woman his own age.

    That's why I have a hard time with historicals. I now it's accurate but I get so mad lol

    Karen @For What It's Worth

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    1. I know! So weird, no you can't hang out with that young woman, but do go play with her sister, eww

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  2. Well this sounds interesting and the dude sounds like such a creeper!

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  3. Oh this sounds interesting. I've heard he was quite creepy to Alice.

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    Replies
    1. It was disturbing, cos no one thought anything of it

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  4. That cover is GORGEOUS. And the book sounds interesting! Great review.

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  5. Amazing cover. And I'm still trying to close my mouth I'm so amazed by the concept. What a great idea, right? :) Hope your weekend is going well, Linda <3 Thank you for your birthday wishes yesterday!

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    Replies
    1. It's going well :)
      And I hope you are having an awesome bday weekend. You can never celebrate too long

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  6. This sounds interesting. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is one of my favorite children's books but Dodgson a.k.a Lewis Carroll was definitely kinda weird. I didn't realize his story until after I read and loved the book. But I do wonder what the heck was going on with him. He modeled Alice after a real little girl who he seemed to be obssesed with.

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    1. I never knew either, before I grew up. And then, ewwww: it made me wanna go back and anazlyse the book and see I could find anything in it

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  7. I really love how all these meta-inspiring books are coming out. The idea sounds so fascinating. It just breaks my heart to see Alice as a brat. :(

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    1. She thought she was special. I could not really see her another way

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  8. You should read 'Splintered'

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  9. This really sounds like a great take on the Alice theme. I like the sounds of this.

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  10. So I'm confused... is this based in reality? Or is it one of those "mock-umentary" style books that pretends to be real and historical, but is in fact, all fiction.

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    Replies
    1. Most of the people in this book have excisted. And the letters he is sending to Alice are real. Just letters he send to other children. So many things are real

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  11. Sounds interesting. The cover reminds me of The Night Circus.

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  12. I'm in love with this cover! I am slightly creeped out though and I don't know if this is one for me...

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