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The Looking Glass House by Vanessa Tait
  

The Looking Glass House

Family Drama   All Shortlists and Winners   Historical Fiction   Literary Fiction   Reading Groups   eBook Favourites   eBook Favourites   

RRP £7.99

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Longlisted for the HWA Goldsboro Debut Crown Award Longlist 2016.

‘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

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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Synopsis

The Looking Glass House by Vanessa Tait

Oxford, 1862. Poor, plain Mary Prickett takes up her post as governess to the daughters of the Dean of Christ Church. When Mary meets Charles Dodgson, a friend of the family, she is flattered by his attentions and becomes convinced he plans to propose marriage. But it is also clear that he is drawn to the little girls in Mary's care, and on a boating trip one sunny day Mr Dodgson tells the story of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland a curious tale about the precocious Alice LiddellAs Mary waits for her life to change, she becomes increasingly suspicious of Alice's friendship with Mr Dodgson. Before long, everything Mary believes is turned topsy-turvy, and her determination to get to the truth will have lasting consequences for all involved...

Reviews

As Alice Liddell's great-granddaughter, Vanessa Tait's insider information and access to letters and diaries give the familiar back-story a new slant. Her captivating book conjures up the topsy-turvy world of Alice - the factual and the fictional girl. It is a story that is both whimsical and disturbing. -- Lyndsy Spence * Lady * Tait's engaging novel peeps behind Carroll's story...Her style is sensuous and lyrical, her story neatly infused with Wonderland imagery and historically accurate dialogue... This story isn't about Alice. It runs, White Rabbit-like, away from childhood towards a more grown-up reflection on one of the greatest children's books. -- Rachel Hoyes * Sunday Telegraph * Moving and original. -- Kate Saunders * The Times *


About the Author

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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Book Info

Publication date

7th January 2016

Author

Vanessa Tait

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Author's Website

vanessatait.co.uk/
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Publisher

Corvus an imprint of Atlantic Books

Format

Paperback
304 pages

Categories

Family Drama
All Shortlists and Winners
Historical Fiction
Literary Fiction
Reading Groups
eBook Favourites
eBook Favourites

Historical fiction

ISBN

9781782396567

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