The world of Lewis Carroll is familiar to so many of us from our childhood and over the last few years there has been a desire to develop this world and its characters. The 150th anniversary of its publication gave a definite boost to the number of titles set in the magical, mythical world of Alice in Wonderland. This story by Marissa Meyer follows the story of Catherine, who just wants to bake, have a shop and enjoy life. But in the kingdom of hearts this is easier said than done if you are a member of the aristocracy; especially if the King of Hearts loves your baking and has become smitten by you. Add a handsome jester into the plot and a cast of some very unusual support characters and there is a fascinating story to be told.
I was not sure about this concept at the start of my reading but it did not take me long to become totally hooked. The main character Catherine is not a great realist and she is full of dreams for the future. The problem is that no one seems to be telling her what is practical. There are lots of characters from the Lewis Carroll stories and they are blended seamlessly into this tale. The only niggle I had were several instances of American terminology and creatures, but given the mythical nature of the world the latter could have found their way there.
The author seems totally at home with the world she has taken on and her manipulation of the characters is superb. The changing circumstances and some very nasty occurrences lead Catherine to suffer some profound changes to her character. There are shocks galore and a real sense of sadness and even horror as we witness these changes. This really did become a complete page-turner and I was totally caught in the tale that was unfolding. The linked minor stories add elements of horror and pathos; making this a story that plays on the emotions. A really great addition to Alice inspired books.