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Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland and a favorite of the unmarried King, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, she wants to open a shop and create delectable pastries. But for her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for a woman who could be a queen.
At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the King’s marriage proposal, she meets handsome and mysterious Jest. 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 a secret courtship.
Cath is determined to choose her own destiny. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.
“I do not want his generosity, or his kindness, or any other favors!”
Her mother sneered. “Then you are a fool.”
“Good. I’ve become rather fond of fools.”
I know it has been a while since I promised a ‘review to come’ on this one, but I feel like I’d be letting myself down if I don’t get at least a tiny review posted for this one. This was supposed to be an epic buddy read…but it turns out, like many buddy reads, I was alone on this one. I absolutely ADORED it. From Catherine to the Cheshire Cat, all the way to Jest, I truly found lots of enjoyment from this one.
She swallowed, hard, a twitch starting in her cheek. “What do you mean by that, anyway? Calling me different.”
“It’s true. I knew it from the moment I saw you twirling at the ball, your arms raised as if you hadn’t a care in all the world.”
“Of all those ladies and all those gentlemen, you were the only one who twirled.”
“You saw that?”
“In that gown, it would have been difficult not to.”
I think there were a few things that rubbed me the wrong way, at least a little bit, but nothing that really deterred me from loving this. And, whenever I think back to this book, it’s always a fond memory-no matter the outcome.
“That’s not what I said at all,” she breathed.
“I know, but I’m hoping it’s what you meant.” He licked his lips—a small, cruel movement that made her own lips tingle. “I can’t stop thinking about you, Lady Catherine Pinkerton of Rock Turtle Cove. I’ve been trying, but it’s useless. You’ve had me mesmerized from the first moment I saw you in that red dress, and I don’t know what to do about it, other than to use every skill at my disposal to try and mesmerize you back.”
I mean, come on, there was no happy ending to be had here. I do agree with my good friend, Anna, that Meyer seemed to really be paving her own wonderful path, but somewhere along the way it felt like she wanted to back to that inevitable outline. I do wish there was a way for her to have tweaked it a bit, made it more of a play on the Queen of Hearts instead of the rule, but, in the end, we were left with what we have come to know already.
“I have a personal rule about not entering into business with spineless creatures. No snakes. No slippery eels. And worst of all, no fickle women. Play coy all you like, Lady Pinkerton. Cling to your belief in your own innocence. You know as well as I that you’re going to break at least one heart before this is over, and I want nothing more to do with you.”
But, really, that’s my only sad thought concerning this book. OH! And I hate animal deaths…they bother me a lot-so that wasn’t something I enjoyed. But, again, all small things.
“It wasn’t meant to be, but if it’s a compliment you want…” His gaze softened. “You are stunning in that absurd hat. Absolutely, undeniably stunning. I trust that was Hatta’s goal, but he can’t know how well he accomplished it, else he would have deemed it improper to let you leave his hat shop so adorned.” He hesitated and cleared his throat, looking almost shy. “That’s what I wanted to say before.”
Let’s get to the parts that made it so I couldn’t ignore a review for this book-Jest. Jest and Catherine. Jest adoring Catherine. I. LOVE. JEST. Is that much clear? And I loved Catherine, too. Jest was mysterious, snarky, funny, and, most of all, loyal. Though, in the end, his loyalty broke my heart. Damn this book. Oh, and if it isn’t obvious, I’m running on two hours of sleep, most likely bordering on hysteria, so I assume this won’t be my best review to date.
“Far be it for me to intrude upon a lady’s untarnished reputation. But to be clear, which part of our encounter should remain undisclosed?” Jest watched her from the corner of his eye. “The part when you fainted in the grass and I heroically revived you? The part where we took an unchaperoned stroll through the gardens?” He clucked his tongue in mock disapproval. “Or perhaps the part where you confessed to having had a dream about me, and that I must be quite the rake to hope it wasn’t as boring as you’ve suggested?”
Jest and Catherine’s journey was unexpected and something I couldn’t help but to fall in love with, even if every little thing didn’t happen as I wanted them to. The vivid imagery and descriptions of all food related things and the world surrounding them more than made up for any shortcomings, and I was fully engrossed from the first page.
“It is a dangerous thing to unbelieve something only because it frightens you.”
^^My actual favorite non lovey-dovey quote. I love it.
And I know people were pretty hard on this book, and hey, I thought I would be too, but I don’t 100% see why. I’d say that if you’re on the fence about reading this, just think about what your heart is willing to go through, and whether you want a HEA or not…because, come on, I won’t say it, but we all know how this ends, right?? So, even though I didn’t say even half of what I wanted to say or word it right, at least I know I put all my thoughts on the table. An unexpected gem of a read from an author I really have never fallen in love with or followed, I am more than pleased I was coaxed into reading this. I hope anyone that sees this review will look at both sides of the spectrum and make an informed decision, then I’ll have succeeded in what I wanted to do with this review.
PS. Chesire reminded me so much of Grim from the Iron Fey series. LOVED that. 😛