Before she was known as the wicked, devious Queen of Hearts who wanted the world's love, she was just a girl. She only dreams of having Wardley as her husband, and of the day her father finally treats her with love and adoration. But as the countdown begins for Dinah's coronation as the Queen of Hearts, when her father will have no choice but to accept her as the rightful queen of Wonderland, an illegitimate sibling shows up and garners the love and attention from her father and the whole of Wonderland, and a series of unfortunate events seem to have it in for the royal family, and now it looks like the next blood to be spilled is hers.
What I love about this retelling of the Queen of Hearts is that it gives her a character that we cannot derive simply from either the Carroll books, or the Disney movie. Oakes writes Dinah in a way that one can't help but want to comfort her when she is feeling down, especially since her own father seems to disdain her. Dinah's brother Charles, who is also known as the brilliant, but dangerously erratic Mad Hatter, is the only one of her family she can turn to for comfort, even when it's hard to watch him when he's having one of his days. Charles is one of the most fascinating characters, and it did sadden me that he was misunderstood, simply because the people did not even bother to understand him. Her illegitimate sibling, Vittoire, is the newest addition to their "family". While Vittoire is only trying to fit in and get along with Dinah, even I couldn't help but dislike her because she almost always ended up showing Dinah up, albeit purely unintentionally. And I do want Dinah to be loved and cherished, because it's something that she's lived without for almost all her life, save for the very kindly Harris, her butler.
Oakes' Queen of Hearts is lovely, lovely, lovely, because it has an interesting and varied slew of characters, and she makes them come alive with their own personalities. I did wonder why it took quite a bit of time to get to the story itself, so impatient readers might not do so well with this one - that is if you aren't almost immediately sucked in to the story, of course! I did shave off half a rainbow, if only because the ending seriously tripped me up. It honestly like the music stopped in the middle of some pretty seriously awesome dancing, and I felt so bad I just had to take off points for that.
Colleen Oakes' Queen of Hearts is highly recommended to anyone and everyone - Alice and Wonderland fan or no. Now all that's left for me is to twiddle my thumbs until the next book is announced and released.