Melanie Benjamin weaves fact and fiction together to bring a cohesive story about Alice Liddell Hargreaves who inspired Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. I think this book captures the mores of the Victorian era perfectly. This will be in my top ten for the year.I really needed a book like this right now. I was going to try and wait until closer to the release date for my review of this book, but I want to tell everyone about this book, NOW. It combines the best of historical fiction with romance and intrigue. I really felt like I knew Alice after reading this story and I need to go back and reread Alice in Wonderland. It is also fortuitous that this novel is coming out right before Tim Burton's film about Alice is to be released in March, 2010.Anyone who has read any Victorian fiction like The Dress Lodger by Sheri Holman or Michel Faber's The Crimson Petal and the White understands the peculiarities of Victorian sexuality, but whether Alice and Lewis Carroll had an illicit relationship with Alice can only be speculation. The whole era of Victorian culture is a difficult one to capture and the use of Alice's real diary shows emphasizes the restraint placed on women during this time period. Alice comes off as a real person and whatever really happened between her and Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) could well be explained by the author's theory. I received this copy from the publisher.Don't miss this one!