Heartless by Marissa Meyer

This Alice in Wonderland spin-off is set in the peaceful, magical land of Hearts which is ruled by a buffoon-of-a-king who has his eyes on the regal Lady Catherine Pinkerton. “Cath” is the daughter of wealthy land owners who fall over themselves in an attempt to put their daughter on the throne. Cath isn’t interested in becoming a queen, however; instead, she wants to start her own bakery with her best friend and maid, Mary Anne. When Cath meets the king’s newest court jester, appropriately named Jest, their attraction is magnetic, and she is immediately swept up by his charm and mystique. Unbeknownst to Cath, Jest is on a mission from Chess, sent to steal the heart of a queen to save his homeland from the grips of war. To further complicate matters, a murderous jabberwock is terrorizing Hearts, its origins a mystery. Cath learns that once her fate is written in ink, she is powerless to stop it.

This book kept me guessing until the end. In fact, its conclusion was so unexpected to me that I checked to see if it was part of a series! It’s not, by the way. . . I loved Meyer’s cast of characters, many borrowed from Lewis Caroll’s book including the Cheshire Cat, the smoking caterpillar and the Mad “Hatta.” This is memorable, high fantasy fun, and I look forward to the release of Meyer’s new novel, Renegades on November 7 and her upcoming visit to the Spencer Road branch of the St. Charles City-County Public Library to promote it. Click here for event details. It’s free to attend!

A Fascinating Afternoon

Like Lewis Carroll’s, Alice in Wonderland, Marissa Meyer’s Heartless includes a quirky and memorable tea party. In Heartless, the party is hosted by the Mad Hatta who is known for his unusual and magical hats. These hats play a crucial role in the action of the story. As soon as I read the tea party scene, I knew that it would be the inspiration for this week’s #plotdrivenlife experience. One of my favorite special things to do with several of my girlfriends is to get dressed up and enjoy high tea together. My friend Katie met Jane Muscroft, also known as “The Scone Lady” at a cooking class once upon a time, and learned that Jane, a Brit, also served high tea once a month in a rented space in St. Louis. So, my friends made it a tradition to get together for tea a few times a year, and we once drove to St. Louis in an ice storm, determined to keep our reservation! Recently, Jane opened her own cafe in Edwardsville, Illinois, called Queen’s Cuisine, and she continues to serve high tea on one Sunday each month. Checking our calendars, Katie, our friend Kris and I made plans to drive an hour to enjoy Jane’s delicious sandwiches, scones desserts and tea.

This was to be no typical tea party, however. We had to have hats! I have always loved the elegant and sometimes ridiculous nature of a fascinator hat, often worn by English royalty at fancy events, and I’ve wanted to make my own for years. I dug around on Pinterest for an evening and found two separate DIY tutorials for fascinators and decided I’d combine them. Click here and here for the tutorials.

With a vision of the final product, I took a field trip to Hobby Lobby to purchase supplies. An hour later, I was heating up my new glue gun, feeling like a giddy contestant on Project Runway.

My Hobby Lobby haul!
I used a piece of black felt as the base of the fascinator and cut holes in it to thread it through a simple plastic headband.
To create the finished product, I hot-glued tulle, a feather and a large flower onto the felt base.

The hats are pretty tame, but I’m proud of how they turned out, and I think Kris and Katie looked beautiful in them.


At Queen’s Cuisine, we filled our bellies with divine treats and just enjoyed each other’s company. High tea is a rare splurge for us which is why we packed Tupperware so we could take home the leftovers!

Cheers, Katie! Doesn’t the three-tiered tray of treats look AH-MAZING?
Fancy and full!

What special traditions do you have with your own friends? Post in the comments.

Thanks for reading,



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