"I have it on very good authority that a muse must have their heart broken six times before they can die."
Alice Liddell was the muse for Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland. But before the book was published, a rift opened between Carroll and the Liddell family. Also dubbed the "Liddell Riddle," historians still speculate as to what happened to separate the famous author and his muse. Michelle Rene has imagined a beautiful and heart-breaking story of a special friendship and its unfortunate end. Told from the viewpoint of Alice herself, The Dodo Knight will transport you to Victorian England... and into the heart of a very special little girl.
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About the Author
Michelle Rene is a creative advocate and the author of a number of published works of science fiction, historical fiction, humor and everything in between. You may have also seen her work under the pen names Olivia Rivard and Abigail Henry. She has won several indie awards for her historical fiction novel, I Once Knew Vincent.
Michelle’s favorite places in the world are museums, galleries, and libraries. Everyone who creates tells a story of some kind or another. Whether she’s painting, writing, or making a video game, Michelle is dedicated to her obsession with storytelling.
When not writing, she is a professional artist and all around odd person. She lives as the only female, writing in her little closet, with her husband, son, and ungrateful cat in Dallas, Texas.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions on this are my own. This book was...interesting to say the least. Don't get me wrong, I LOVED it, but was not expecting much from the novel. All that I knew going into it was that it was supposedly following the girl who became Lewis Caroll's Alice from Alice in Wonderland. I truly enjoyed the brevity of this story I think more than anything. It wasn't overtly fluffy, and wasn't feeling like it was someone trying to sell me their story with the man that would become of the most well-known authors in history. Each scene was purposeful and made sense why it was included. Going into that, the author seems to have done a lot of research regarding the life and relationship of Alice and Charles Dodgson (Lewis Caroll). At the end of the novel, there was a section that helped to answer a lot of questions that I had, so that made my enjoyment of the novel even higher than before. Most authors would not include this when writing on historical figures and people, so it was amazing to see that Rene decided to include it to provide authenticity to the story. I found no real flaws with it, due to the fact that it seemed true to the story of Alice and Charles. Therefore, I greatly enjoyed it and find it perfect for those that love the story of Alice in Wonderland and want to see where it started. Rating: 5/5 stars
Have you ever wanted to analyze Alice in Wonderland? It’s been picked apart by Freudians and other critics who look through its fantasy and fancy searching for deeper meanings Carroll likely didn’t intend. Still, there remains an aura of mystery surrounding Alice in Wonderland and its enigmatic author that compels us to dig into the story. In the Dodo Knight, Michelle Rene imagines the real Alice Lidell’s perspective on Lewis Carroll, known to her as Uncle Dodo. Mr. Dodgson, a math professor at Oxford University, stuttered, so his name often came out Do-do-dodgson. For short, his many child-friends called him Dodo. He was a frequent playmate at the Liddell household. Mr. Liddell, Alice’s father, was dean of Dodgson’s college. But after a boating trip on July 4, 1962, Alice and her beloved Dodo hardly saw each other. Oxford’s majestic setting and the subjects, whimsical Lewis Carroll and his young muse, Alice, make a perfect pairing for this imaginative tale. Oxford’s famous haunts and quirky characters are ripe with intrigue. Rene’s descriptions of places and people are pithy and clear, leaving room to picture and feel what’s going on without using too many words. “There is a space, however small, that provides a window to their mind. The tiny space behind Dodo’s eyes spoke of stress not discussed” (38). Such tantalizing hints at Dodo’s inner life, as detected by Alice, make the pages easy to turn. The most pleasurable parts of the read - scenes of Dodo making up games he and the children play, and stories for them to hear - render the rift between Dodo and the Liddells all the more heartbreaking. The book is in part a coming of age story, about the pain of putting away childhood and becoming an adult. In some ways, Lewis Carroll, in his writing, got to remain a child while Alice didn’t. The helpful author’s afterword sets fact apart from fiction. It invites further creative inquiry into other historic figures. Check out Michelle Rene’s other historical fiction. https://www.michellereneauthor.com/
Reviewed by Dawn Weaver for Readers' Favorite The Dodo Knight by Michelle Rene examines the young girl who was the inspiration behind Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, giving insight into the relationship between them, that of muse and author. It is told from her point of view and shows the confusion and pain that can result when young girls grow into young women, how harmful rumors cause painful confrontations, and beloved uncles are forced to withdraw their attention and support. It is a beautifully written novella embracing the style of writing of the time and replete with references and insight into Carroll’s popular story and the man behind it. If you’ve ever wondered about the mind behind the Mad Hatter, the Queen of Hearts, and the Cheshire Cat, this book is for you. Did you love Alice in Wonderland as much as I did? If so, you will love The Dodo Knight by Michelle Rene! It is historical fiction, but is told in such a way that you are compelled to believe that it just must be true. That is a mark of excellent storytelling and this novella is a perfect example. I loved her representation of Alice and especially appreciated her revealing insights into Uncle Dodo’s struggles of being a childlike adult in a very grown-up world. Rene intertwines innocence, humor, morality, and heartbreak into a compelling story for all who love children and the adults who delight them! We may never know the truth behind this story, but we can all love the Uncle Dodo of this tale. A wonderful book.