- Hardcover: 384 pages
- Publisher: Tindal Street (5 July 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1906994374
- ISBN-13: 978-1906994372
- Product Dimensions: 14.3 x 3.5 x 22.2 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,230,037 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
After Such Kindness Hardcover – 5 Jul 2012
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As finely wrought as her 2008 debut, Girl in a Blue Dress - a literary gem --Independent
Charming and beautifully written, but with dark undertones --We Love This Book
The fascinating exploration of Victorian social mores climaxes in a totally unexpected ending that flips assumption on its head and shocks to the core. Gripping and unsettling --Easy Living
Novel based on the unconventional relationship between Lewis Carroll and Alice LiddellSee all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
Daniel Baxter is a vicar who meets John Jameson at Oxford, where they become friends. Over time, Jameson meets Baxter's family, including his three daughters, of whom Daisy is the youngest, and his baby son. During a birthday treat for Daisy, a picnic on the river, Mr Jameson averts a near disaster and is welcomed with even greater warmth into the family. Soon Daisy becomes his particular favourite and he arranges tea parties for her and her friends, as well as taking photographs of them, declaring, "girls, in my opinion, are the most delightful creatures in the world." Daisy obviously basks in the attention, but gradual disquiet is voiced about the relationship. The novel builds to a disconcerting and well written climax, as the author cleverly shows the point of view of all concerned, as well as the way behaviours which now seem very inappropriate were viewed in more innocent times.
If you enjoy this novel, and I am sure you will, you might like to read ...Read more ›
Or so I thought, but actually we are absorbed by the layers of known and unknown deceit; the concerns for propriety and appearance become real; the lightly-drawn back-stories of each of the characters offer an emotional drama far more significant than the individual players. At the heart of After Such Kindness is the early life of Daisy Baxter, who with the naivety of a Victorian child illuminates the inequality and extremism of a culture that considered itself rather civilised. And it is around her 'innocence' and what this might mean - how it might be traded into marriage, how it might be used as art, how adults might relate to it - that the story weaves. Revelations are offered to us, always with a certain uncertainty to remind us that appearance and reality were ever at odds. Characters form and re-form themselves; a telling phrase or disarming cameo often suggesting that there is more to be known.Read more ›
The novel is written from four perspectives: John Jameson (the fictionalised Carroll), an eccentric academic at Oxford; Margaret Constantine (the fictionalised Alice), a troubled newlywed looking back on the childhood diaries describing her friendship with Jameson; and Margaret's parents, Daniel and Evelina Baxter. At first Jameson seems a rather sinister character and it's difficult not to see his actions and emotions through modern eyes. Nowadays it would be seen as suspicious and even shocking if a grown man wished to spend time with a little girl he was not related to - even in Jameson's time no-one can quite understand why he wants to spend so much time with an 11-year-old child. This, along with hints at Daniel Baxter's breakdown and various fractures within the family, adds a dark current to the novel that contrasts the childish voice of the diaries.
Fans of Alice will love the nods to various Wonderland elements. Although this is a fictionalised account, it's a joy to spot the parallels between Jameson's life and that of the book and imagine how it all came together in his mind. The story moves along well and each scene is beautifully drawn. As layers of the story are peeled back and Margaret begins to remember more about Jameson, the novel builds to a brilliant climax.
The story is told through the eyes of the four main characters, Jameson, Daisy both as a child and young adult and each of Daisy's parents and latterly also through those of Daisy's husband. The themes are difficult but with so much of the tale related by the bright and innocent Daisy through her journal and thoughts, it never for a moment becomes bogged down. I raced through the book which is both serious and a page-turner all at the same time. A wonderful achievement, buy it and read it!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I have read versions of Alice in Wonderland, I remember reading the Ladybird book before I even started school. Still, somehow or other the story always left me cold. Read morePublished 11 months ago by girlwithherheadinabook
This is one of the most moving books I have read. It illustrates beautifully how it was impossible for women to report sexual abuse in a man's
world really throughout... Read more
I found this a thought-provoking book, although not a cosy read, when child abuse and insanity feature. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Philip Davies
Interesting take on the life of Lewis Carroll and his friendship with ALICE Liddell.Published on 2 Dec. 2014 by Patrick William O'Brien
I read this at a sitting into the night, held fast by the wit and the wonderful dialogue - not a single false expression - as well as the cleverness of the storyline. Read morePublished on 30 Sept. 2014 by Jill Lake
Gaynor Arnold's first novel, Girl In A Blue Dress, animated a fictional Dickens. In After Such Kindness, she bestows the same treatment on Lewis Carroll. Read morePublished on 14 Jan. 2014 by MisterHobgoblin
I gave up on this book half way through. Not that it wasn't well written but I could see where it was leading and didn't want to go there.Published on 6 Sept. 2013 by evelyn stocker
Passionate and charming. I would recommend to anyone who enjoys a thoughtful book and an emotional tale. Absorbing to the end.Published on 1 Sept. 2013 by ANTHONY C PLEDGER
The story is loosely based on the relationship between Lewis Carroll and the child who inspired the creation of "Alice" . Read morePublished on 4 Aug. 2013 by Robin