Where Hell Cat lives.
A depth of meaning had been conveyed in that one word. Anger, disdain, even hate. Alice held her chin up, but her nails left crescent marks on her palm.
We all know I’m a sucker for fairy tales, right? We all know I’m in love with a Lovable Rogue named Hatter, right? Have you seen SyFy Alice? I wanted to do some naughty, naught things to Andrew Lee Potts’ Hatter. Very naughty. Darn near illegal in all 50 states. I even enjoyed Johnny Depp, for once, as Tim Burton’s Hatter. There’s something about a naughty fairy tale male that just revs me up. So I found Her Mad Hatter for free on Amazon, jumped like loon, because I needed a little more happy in my life. And Hall did not in any way disappoint me. Totally giddy over the care, the upside down, inside out perceptions of who and what Alice and her Hatter really are. (Giddy, I told you!)
In the end they’d all left, ripping out a piece of his soul. For a time, he’d grown excited knowing another Alice would come, dreaming the next one would be different.
Alice Hu is nothing like you’d expect for an Alice. For one thing, she’s a wizard in the bakery world. Well, not a real one, but she can make you wish she was because desserts and creativity are completely BFFs. And she’s just a tad obsessed with all things Wonderland. Did I mention there’s not a blonde curl in sight? And Hatter, oh, Hatter’s losing it all. Madness is seeping into his soul, controlling all things fantastic and right. His godmother Danika brings Alice to him, trying to keep Wonderland in beautiful chaos as it bends to all his thoughts. Alice and Hatter share a past, and not a past, at the same time. Life as a way of breaking, bending, and remaking those in need. More than attraction like calls to like, but to quote Ever After, “A bird may love a fish, signore, but where will they live?”
“I’d swear I was drunk as a skunk right now, except for the fact that I don’t feel in the least bit tipsy. I just cannot accept I’m in Wonderland, though. This is ridiculous.”
A loud snore, like the braying of a donkey, startled her. She yelped and Hatter pointed to a shadowy lump beside them. A huge skunk lay sprawled on its back, a glass bottle by its head. Its bushy black and white tail twitched back and forth, tiny feet jerking like a dog’s when asleep.
“Is that a-”
“Words have power.” His eyes narrowed and he was looking at her different now, not shocked or amazed exactly, but different. He turned. Alice hadn’t been aware he’d been standing so close until suddenly it seemed as if he took up all her space. She licked her lips, skin tingling with a rush of blood. He looked like he wanted to say more.
Hatter is a mad genius, a fan of Poe, of all things fantastically wonderful. Alice is a woman who knows the world depends on more than fantasy, that people don’t always believe, but she loves the fantastic anyway. Heartbreak and pain have shattered the already mad and his fairy godmother knows that time is running out for all her charges: the ‘bad boys’ of fairy tales. She has to help Hatter, out of duty, but also out of love. She chose these men because of who they are and would be instead of what was perceived. No simpering ninnies need apply. And she knows Alice is his match. Fate said so, but it’s hard to retrain and readjust feelings of despair. Add in the side characters, like Leonard the mouse and the quirky little realities, and the book is excellent at incorporating the Lewis lore with a modern reality of Earth.
“Ancient frog beneath the waves,” his deep voice rolled through the eerie blackness, “hiding treasures of olden days.”
The frog’s giant mouth opened a red yawning maw of death. Its pink tongue whipped out and wrapped around their bodies, the sticky wetness making her yelp. And then, it swallowed them.
The settings of the book make me want to see everything on screen. I imagine it to be a bit like SyFy Alice, the rooms where Wonderlandians left to come down from a high on the emotions of human emotions, combined with vivid splashes of color that could blind and give sight at the same time. And somewhere along the way, Hatter’s house reminds me of the TARDIS, the constantly transforming rooms and wish fulfillment. Honestly, I don’t have many critiques of the work. (I know, right? I’m just as shocked!) I loved everything. I say that very rarely. The romance build up was fantastic and I didn’t hate Hatter’s stream of consciousness. Alice’s empathy, obsession, and acceptance of all things odd really made me love her. And the last 1/4th of the book made me love and hate Hall all at once. I was so wrapped up in the true love story that I didn’t even notice the sex. And I love that not everything worked perfectly, and in a nice, neat bow. It’s Wonderland. Perfection exists only in the imperfections.
Easily recommend this book. It’s free on all the sites listed, so I’d invest in the time if you’re a fan of fairy retellings. I plan on reading the rest of the series soon.