This is a very gritty, dark, re-imagining of Alice in Wonderland. 17-year-old Alysa is the great great great granddaughter of Alice Liddell—yes the Alice. Ever since Alice told her story to Lewis Carroll, all of the women in Alyssa's family have been cursed with madness. In order to protect herself and save her own mother (who has been in an institution since Alyssa was 5) Alyssa goes down the rabbit hole. Once there, she is faced with the choice between Jeb who has known her since childhood, and the mysterious Morpheus who seems to have known her since before she was born...Reality and fantasy—both have a claim to her but which will Alyssa choose?
This book really resonated with me because the idea of a beautiful world you can escape into would have meant the world to me when I was a teenager. Actually, it still does! And normally love triangles bother me, but these two men literally represented two different parts of her. And what teenager doesn't feel like two people in one? This book inspired me not only to reread both the Alice books (twice), but also to change my Halloween costume and force my partner and my best friends to dress as characters from the books too. --Reviewed by Katherine, of Books Inc. Laurel Village
I was always dressing a bit odd compared to my classmates, although there weren’t really any vintage stores in the small CT town I grew up in. I spent a lot of time combing through the racks at the local Salvation Army and Goodwill stores looking for discarded treasures, which ended up being more from Ann Taylor than Anna Sui. I have to admit that ½ the reason I love living in NY is that there are so many great vintage shops to explore!
Do you bear
any resemblance to your main character, Louise Lambert?
Louise definitely reminds me of myself at 12. Like Louise, I grew up an only child, with frizzy hair, braces, and an overactive imagination in a suburban Connecticut town. I was also on a swim team. But Louise has far more exciting adventures than I did!
3.) What kind of research did you do for the various historical locations you depict in your series?
Because I tried to be as historically accurate as possible, these books required a lot of research, which ended up being so much fun! For T-TF At the Palace of Marie Antoinette my grandmother, who immediately volunteered to be my research assistant, and I went on a trip to Paris! We took the train out to the palace of Versailles to see what it is actually like in person. It’s really hard to appreciate the scale and grandeur of the place from photographs- although I hope I was able to capture it in this story. We ate lots of French pastries (for research purposes of course!) and wandered around the grounds and gardens where Marie Antoinette lived hundreds of years ago. My main character is actually named after my grandma, so it was pretty cool to be seeing Versailles for the first time with the original Louise Lambert.
Choosing one is hard, there’s so many I’d love to visit! The roaring 20s seemed fabulous with the bedazzled Flapper dresses, and t-strap tap shoes. The Great Gatsby is one of my all time favorite books, so I’ve always been a bit obsessed with that period of Jazz Age glamour. Now that I think of it, this would be a good Time-Traveling Fashionista novel!
5.) What does it mean to you to write for a young audience?
Even though I find it really fun, I also take it extremely seriously. So many of the books I read when I was young really affected and changed me and have stuck with me for my whole life. It’s a huge responsibility that I don’t take lightly. Reading great books by Judy Blume, Louisa May Alcott, and Madeleine L’Engle as a kid created a lifelong reading habit, inspired me to write my own books, and to this day, a free afternoon and a good book is my idea of bliss.
6.) If we were to snoop in your closet, what would we find that we may not expect?
When I was in Spain writing the second T-TF book, I went to this amazing vintage store and found a gorgeous long white tiered dress with handmade lace trim that looked like something Dolce and Gabbana made for last spring’s collection. The dress probably dates back to around 1910- just the period I wrote about in The Time-Traveling Fashionista on Board the Titanic. The fabric is so delicate that I’m afraid to wear it out of my apartment, but I love it.