Long before she was the Queen of Hearts, Catherine Pinkerton was just a girl who wanted to fall in love.
Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next queen.
Then Cath meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the king and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into an intense, secret courtship. Cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.
I award this novel 4.5 stars
It was the cover that first caught my attention. It’s simply beautiful and once I’d learnt that this was a rendition inspired by my favourite classic novel ‘Alice in Wonderland’ I was sold.
Having grown up knowing what a furious character the Queen of Heart’s was. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I loved Catherine. She’s sweet as the cakes she makes, whilst also being loyal, brave and an avid daydreamer – like me. I started the story knowing that Cath was once a girl in love. That her heartbreak would be the catalyst to becoming the heartless Queen. I was intrigued to learn how the journey transpired. All the while, the hopeless romantic in me desperately wanted her and Jest to make it.
It’s a tale of social standing, where Cath’s wishes are disregarded for her duty. It casts a light on the heavy burden of wanting to follow your heart, over what is expected of you. Even though this novel is inspired by the Edwardian period, it still holds weight in society today.
I loved meeting my favourite characters like Hatta and Mr Caterpillar again and seeing them in a slightly different light. And getting the world introduced to me from a slightly different angle. Whilst maintaining the whimsical elements that drew me to the original.
Marissa Meyer has an extraordinary gift for regaling the original characters, I heard their voices in the same manner as when reading Lewis Carroll’s novel. Marissa interwove the tiniest details and made them key players in her story, like the pocket watch, roses and maze. Every new character was worthy of the magical realm.
Jest is charismatic, magical and mysterious, an interesting cocktail for any reader. I just loved every delicate interaction between him and Cath. Their dialogue had me on the edge of my seat with anticipation.
This made the tale bitter-sweet and intoxicating. Knowing what the outcome must be but desperately wanting to believe in the impossible, like Alice herself.
I’m glad we got to see Cath’s fall from grace. Of how her heart shattered. Because reading the pain and sorrow shapes Cath into the Queen we love to hate. The satisfying transformation to a bitter, short tempered, cold mistress who governs the realm of Hearts.
The story is positively perfect in every way.
If you’re also a fan, stop by and say hello. Or if you loved this book and know of similar romance fantasies, then please let me know. I can’t get enough of them. Thanks for reading and have a great day.