Book Club Review: Queen of Hearts: Volume One: The Crown – Colleen Oakes


As Princess of Wonderland Palace and the future Queen of Hearts, Dinah’s days are an endless monotony of tea, tarts, and a stream of vicious humiliations at the hands of her father, the King of Hearts. The only highlight of her days is visiting Wardley, her childhood best friend, the future Knave of Hearts – and the love of her life. When an enchanting stranger arrives at the Palace, Dinah watches as everything she’s ever wanted threatens to crumble. As her coronation date approaches, a series of suspicious and bloody events suggests that something sinister stirs in the whimsical halls of Wonderland. It’s up to Dinah to unravel the mysteries that lurk both inside and under the Palace before she loses her own head to a clever and faceless foe.

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I chose this book as, frankly, being the most miserable November since records began I felt the need for a little whimsy. I am so pleased that this book delivered it in bucket loads!
As a re-imagining of the well known story of Alice in Wonderland the author had quite a lot of material to work with, but instead of a same-old, same-old viewpoint we see Wonderland and all its subjects through the eyes of Dinah – the future Queen of Hearts.
Colleen Oakes manages to recreate Wonderland in a way that feels both familiar and fresh, with well loved characters popping up in new guises and new characters adding to the richness of the storytelling.
There is plenty of darkness, not unlike the original Adventures in Wonderland, and the scenes in the Towers were truly creepy which contrasted perfectly with the jam tarts and croquet at the castle (although I’ll never look at croquet the same way again!)

I absolutely loved this book, and there’s only one thing I can say to those who didn’t…

Off with their heads!!



I loved this book! I’m probably a bit biased as I really enjoy anything Alice in Wonderland, and find retellings fascinating, especially when they take place before or after the story we all know and love. One of the main things I like about the story is that while we all know how it will end, the plot twists in between are still surprising and you have to work to figure out what is going on. The world building was kept to a minimum, with just enough to sculpt Wonderland to fit the story, but leaving enough to the imagination to make it your own. The characters were definitely my favourite part of the story. Love them or hate them they all had an impact on me, and the fact that they were original characters that weren’t in their original ‘forms’ gave them a sense of familiarity and made them very easy to connect with. Dinah’s brother Charles also known as The Mad Hatter was easily my favourite. There was a hint of romance running throughout between Dinah and Wardley, and though it appears to be almost unrequited I really felt that Wardley’s actions spoke louder than his words. The romantic in me really hopes it’s something that will continue into the next book, though we will have to wait and see! This is a book I will be recommending to everyone.



I enjoyed the The Crown a little more than I anticipated. Alice in Wonderland isn’t my favourite fairy tale, I always found it a bit too eccentric for my tastes, which are definitely more the conventional types; Beauty and the Beast, Sleeping Beauty, Red Riding Hood etc. The story didn’t grab me until about halfway through, I think but even then I wasn’t swept up in it. The writing is great and most of the characters felt realistic with flaws and all. The world building wasn’t extensive but I could imagine my surroundings whilst reading the story. The romance felt a bit one sided to me, Wardley didn’t seem to be giving anything away and Dinah’s father; what a piece of work!  He was a bully and a tyrant and showed no love to his children but it didn’t feel, to me, clear why.



I thoroughly enjoyed The Crown! I love love love it! I’ve never been exposed much to Alice in Wonderland and have never seen either version of the film. After reading half of the book I had to watch the films. When reading I felt like the book sucked me right in and I was living it as Dinah was. The characters all stood out in their own way and although some weren’t very nice they all put the puzzle pieces together nicely. I really didn’t want the book to end… And then it did! I was left wanting more so have downloaded the second in the series and I can’t wait to get stuck in.

I would highly recommend this book :mrgreen:



I enjoyed reading this book more than I thought I would. I liked the main characters and their strengths and flaws but couldn’t quite connect with them enough to be emotionally committed to the story. But what I loved was the way the author wrote, it flowed very well and the descriptions of wonderland and its people and their fashion was detailed, quirky and sometimes disturbing without being over the top. To me the romance was one sided as I think Wardley is and will only ever be a friend to Dinah, but I like that about him, as he was one of the only ones to stick by her since their childhood. And like everyone I hated the king, Dinah’s father, but I didn’t understand his hatred for her or his reasons for blaming her.


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