This book can easily be worth five stars to most people out there, it is, after all, a good read full of vivid imagery, great characters that will make you fall in love with them, and mouth-watering desciptions of food (more specifically, desserts). Warning: don't read this book on an empty stomach!
I enjoyed the book, but I found it took me forever to get through, and those mouth-watering descriptions were a little too much at times. Honestly, I got tired of the talk about food and bakeries pretty fast. I liked Cath well enough, but even before anything went wrong I could see glimpses of how selfish, immature and cowardly she was, and that made it hard for me to see things her way and sympathize. She wasn't even a character I could pity as I feel she got exactly the ending she deserved, no more, no less. It was, to be absolutely honest, the rest of the characters that moved me, that made me root for them and who ultimately broke my heart. Not Cath, never Cath.
What bothered me the most at the end was She mourned Jest as if he had been the most important person to her in the world, as if no one else in her life could possibly be of value to her if he wasn't around. She said she would have married anyone, would've done anything, sacrificed Mary Ann even, if it would bring Jest back to her, and yet... she willingly risked his life not one chapter earlier just to "try" and save Mary Ann, someone she didn't value enough to even keep as a friend afterwards. Let us also not forget she was going to leave Mary Ann and her parents behind (with the threat of the Jabberwock still around) never to see them again; so why, God, why did she suddenly feel the urge to play the noble hero for someone she ultimately didn't care about that much? She wasn't even talking to Mary Ann anymore when she left, their friendship wasn't that strong, at least not on Cath's side; the moments Mary Ann messed up Cath was quick to turn on her. So Cath's decision to risk it all for Mary Ann, lose Jest, and then stop giving a crap about everyone around her, infuriated me.
Cath went against all warnings and predictions, risked and lost the one person that supposedly truly mattered to her, for someone she willing to cast away anyway? Oh, give me a break.
I also hated how quick she was to blame others for her misfortunes, she hardly acknowledged her own screw ups and if somebody slipped and blame could be placed somewhere else then she'd eagerly jump at the opportunity (and shame them on top of it!). Basically, she was an awful person in that regard long before her heart was broken.
Literally everything that went wrong in Cath's life was her own doing, for being indecisive, impulsive, reckless, naïve, for not having the spine to go after what she wanted. Every.single.one. of her misfortunes could have been avoided, even the biggest tragedy in her life coud have been easily prevented as she already knew what would happen, she was even told what NOT to do to avoid it. Cath had the future she always hoped for handed to her on a silver platter more than a couple of times, all it would've taken was a little courage and follow through, and yet, in the end, she was more than happy to give anyone who tried to help her the finger only to shoot herself in the foot immediately after and then wonder who had dared pull the trigger.
In the end I couldn't sympathize... I was hoping, wishing I would, but it couldn't be done with a character like Cath. I was frustrated, angry and tired by the end of the book... but maybe, just maybe, that was the author's intention all along. Perhaps I was never supposed to feel for the Queen of Hearts.
Moral of the story: If you're going to have your cake and eat it too, at least make sure the pumpkin is good.
I'm obviously not as good at these as Lady Margaret...