The introduction to the eleven year old daughter of his friend and fellow clergyman Daniel Baxter sets John Jameson on the path to obsession. Years later Daisy ponders what transpired when she became his muse and their unusual friendship that blossomed within the propriety of the time.
Narrated by the different characters and with its dark undertones and carefully controlled tension, this is a psychologically fascinating and thought-provoking story.
Inspired by the much vaunted relationship between Lewis Carroll and Alice Liddell, this novel will especially appeal to Alice in Wonderland fans.
Strongly divided opinions re this book. "Grooming" was a perceived theme by some and found very offensive. Others saw beyond that and appreciated the characterisation and 'quaint' features of the writing. Some disliked the use of different characters per chapter. Others liked the approach.
This was an interesting read. None of us liked it or perhaps enjoyed it, but we all found it compulsive reading.
Two found it creepy/nasty, one loved it, the rest of us uncomfortable with subject matter but admired the writing. Summed up, " What a lot of trouble could be avoided if they had had the pill then".
Well written book - but most of us felt it was creepy and disturbing.
We weren't able to meet this month as too many were travelling. Personally I enjoyed this book. It was well-written, mainly because of the meticulous research that allowed it to resonate with authenticity. It was sympathetically paced, reflecting the community that was portrayed.
Most of our group had a very favourable response to this book, with only one dissenter. A story with several themes worth discussing.
Lots of lively discussion - we shared personal experiences of exposure.
After our previous book ' A History Of Loneliness', we all initially thought of child abuse again, and we didn't come to any conclusion after our discussion. There was appreciation of Arnold's writing skills - the way she uses different voices and says so much, but leaves so much unsaid. The 'Alice in Wonderland' inferences intrigued some members but irritated others. We all agreed it gave an insight into Victorian parenting.
It generated great discussion!
The group found this book very interesting and engaging even though it was a disturbing read. The structure is very effective as is the use of the various narrative voices. The research that has gone into the life and times of Lewis Carroll is impressive, and members found echoes of the Alice books very cleverly peppered right through the text. We recommend the book and suggest that readers look at the Alice books before reading it.