The Looking Glass House

by Vanessa Tait

Books with reviews by our Reader Review Panel eBooks of the Month Family Drama Historical Fiction Modern and Classic Literary Fiction

LoveReading View on The Looking Glass House

‘The Looking Glass House’ is a bright, bold work of fiction, simply told yet holding a complicated ring of truth. Alice Liddell, the young inspiration for Lewis Caroll is the great-grandmother of the author of this novel. Alice’s keepsakes have travelled down the years and encouraged a fascinating read, touching on the relationship between Charles Dodgson and his muse, as seen through the eyes of the governess. While there is now uncertainty surrounding Dodgson’s love of children, the author does not judge or moralise, there is a candid honesty to the writing; Alice is precocious, Mr Dodgson socially awkward and the Oxford of 1862 somewhat sanctimonious. With a captivating blend of history, diaries, letters and fiction, Vanessa Tait has created a treat for all lovers of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’. ~ Liz Robinson

Liz Robinson

The Looking Glass House Synopsis

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-turvey in pursuit of her obsession.

The Looking Glass House Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can click here to read the full reviews.

  • Vanessa Wild - 'An imaginative and cleverly written glimpse into the topsy turvy world of Alice Liddell and Lewis Carroll.'
  • Judith Sharp - 'Fascinating look at the Alice Liddell story as seen by her governess.  Fact and fiction are blended effortlessly as Mary Pickett becomes obsessed with Charles Dodgson.'
  • Lynne Rapson - 'A book which will fascinate lovers of Alice written by her great-granddaughter. Her access to personal papers gives an authentic touch to the novel.'
  • Jennifer Moville - 'This is one of those books that draws you into the characters and like them or loathe them as you will, you find a certain fondness for Mary and her life.'
  • Beth Kemp - '‘The Looking Glass House’ is an interesting depiction of a famous relationship from a new angle. Likely to appeal to Lewis Carroll/Alice in Wonderland fans, but also to those who enjoy quiet literary novels about Victorian society and manners.'
  • Lesley Mumbray-Williams - 'All the ingredients for a good book are here: an interesting period in Oxford history, fascinating characters, romance, the intricacies of social class.'
  • Kath Martin - 'I absolutely loved all the little references to the 'Alice in Wonderland' story and have great admiration for the author. It is a remarkable first book.'  
  • Zarina de Ruiter - 'A marvellous treasure hunt through Victorian England and Dodgson's imagination. As the story progressed it took a more bizarre turn ... and it really wasn't something I felt interested in reading.' 
  • Laura Delve - 'A readable book, but not quite what you expect. Would not recommend to those who have innocent views on Alice in Wonderland.'
  • Emily Curnow - 'An enjoyable novel gives a great, interesting, and believable insight into the world of Dodgson and of the Victorians, making it easy to feel the moral claustrophobia.'
  • Edel Waugh - 'There is the same dreamy quality to the story at times as there was when I read Alice in Wonderland... I would recommend this to any fan of the Lewis Carroll's books.'
  • Angie Rhodes - 'Oh wow!! Being a huge fan of Alice in Wonderland, this was a joy to read... Vanessa has written a beautiful dream style novel...I loved it, and learnt a lot about the real Alice.'
  • Sarah Musk - 'A fascinating book giving a different fresh insight into the nature of the friendship between Charles Dodgson and Alice Liddell - his Alice in Wonderland muse.'
  • Carolyn Huckfield - 'This is a fascinating story beautifully told by Tait. She makes us feel as if we are in Victorian England with all its rules and constraints.'
  • Kathryn Whitfield - 'A beautifully written and wonderful story about the inspiration for Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.'

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781782396543
Publication date: 02/07/2015
Publisher: Atlantic Books
Format: Hardback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781782396543
Publication date: 2nd July 2015
Author: Vanessa Tait
Publisher: Atlantic Books
Format: Hardback
Genres: Alice 150th, Reader Reviewed Books, eBook Favourites, Family Drama, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, Reading Groups,
Categories:

About Vanessa Tait

Vanessa Tait grew up in Gloucestershire. She went to the University of Manchester and completed a Master's degree in Creative and Life Writing at Goldsmiths College. She is the great-granddaughter of Alice Liddell, the little girl who inspired Lewis Carroll to write Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. The Looking Glass House is her first novel, inspired by family treasures and stories of the 'original' Alice.   Click here to read an 'Ask the Author' interview with Vanessa Tait.   Author photo © Gareth Iwan Jones

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