Take a trip back to Wonderland
with H.J.Ramsay’s debut novel
a continuation of that wild drop
down the rabbit hole…..
• Hardcover: 356 pages
• Publisher: Red Rogue Press (August 1, 2019)
Alice’s stories of Wonderland did more than raise a few eyebrows—it landed her in an asylum. Now at 15 years of age, she’s willing to do anything to leave, which includes agreeing to an experimental procedure. When Alice decides at the last minute not to go through with it, she escapes with the White Rabbit to Wonderland and trades one mad house for another: the court of the Queen of Hearts. Only this time, she is under orders to take out the Queen. When love, scandal, and intrigue begin to muddle her mission, Alice finds herself on the wrong side of the chopping block.
In this historically relevant fantasy, Ramsay honors Lewis Carroll’s work while expanding how readers connect with Wonderland … This trip to Wonderland delivers a mature, lasting jolt. – Kirkus Review
The book is smart in its movements forward—maintaining its suspense, forwarding intriguing adventures, and even including additions like ghosts. The queen herself is a compelling villain, painted as unpredictable and surrounded by characters whom she cannot trust, including her maidservants and family. The tension around her heightens interest, particularly as cases of theft and death in the castle increase. The book’s revelations are continually surprising … Ever Alice is an enthralling take on a classic story. – Clarion Review
With whimsy and humor, H.J. Ramsay drops Alice—and readers—back down the rabbit hole to Wonderland for a new adventure in Ever Alice, an imaginative narrative continuing the adventures of Lewis Carroll’s young protagonist and the fantastically strange world she discovered … In all, this is a rabbit hole well worth tumbling into. – BlueInk Review
Intrigued? I bet!
Before we get to my review here is a little excerpt of the book just to wet your whistle….
The Riverbank, Oxford September 15, 1888
Alice blinked—once, twice. But no matter how many times she did so, he was still there. He jumped down from a decayed log and shook his hind legs, flinging clumps of mud. He checked his watch and slipped it into his breast pocket.
Alice brought her hands to her cheeks in surprise. “It’s you. It’s really you—the White Rabbit.”
“Is that what you call me?” He brought one paw to his coat. “Ah, that’s right. I don’t think we were ever properly introduced before. My name is Sir Ralph of Longshoot.”
Alice smoothed down the front of her hospital gown. If she’d known she was about to see the White Rabbit again, she would have made herself more presentable. “How do you do, Sir Ralph of Longshoot?” She tried to curtsy, but her foot slipped on the wet ground.
He came close to Alice, peering at her. “You look different than how I remember.”
“Yes, I suppose I do. I’m fifteen years old now.”
“Are you the same Alice?”
“I believe so. It’s hard to tell nowadays.” Alice wanted to reach out and touch his cottony ears to make sure he wasn’t a hallucination. “They told me,” she whispered, “that you weren’t real.”
His whiskers twitched. “I assure you, madam, I exist no more and no less than I already do.”
Alice clapped her hands, grabbed Ralph, and swung him around. “I knew it,” she cried. “I tried to tell them, but they wouldn’t listen, they wouldn’t.”
“PUT ME DOWN.”
Alice lowered the rabbit to his feet. “Oh, I’m so very sorry. I didn’t mean to offend you. I wanted so badly for you to be real, and you were real this whole time. My mum and dad will be so happy to see you.” She grabbed him by the paw and pulled him down the path. “You must come with me at once because, you see, you have to show them I’m not mad.”
“I will do no such thing,” Ralph said, and snatched his paw away.
Alice took a step back. “Why not?”
He checked his watch again. “Because, my dear, it is I who must take you somewhere and we haven’t much time.”
Alice bit her lip as she glanced toward the house. “Oh, I…I don’t know if I’m allowed to go anywhere. You see, I’ve just returned home, and Mum and Dad would be worried if I left again.”
“Stickfiddles,” he said. “You are to go with me at once. Wonderland is at stake.” “At stake?” Alice breathed. “How do you mean?”
“The Queen of Hearts has gone mad. Starkraving mad.”
“But wasn’t she already mad?”
Ralph nodded. “It’s become worse. Terribly, terribly worse. She has done the most unbelievable, unthinkable, unimaginable of all ‘un’ and ‘able’ sorts of things.”
“She beheaded the King of Hearts.”
Alice took a step backward. She remembered the King, an odd sort of fellow but pleasant in his own way. He had pardoned everyone the Queen ordered beheaded at the croquet game— everyone except the Cheshire Cat.
“The King? He’s…dead?” Alice gulped.
“Deader than a lobster in a hot spring.”
Without the King, there was no one to stop the Queen of Hearts. Alice had spent but a brief time with her, but discovered quickly that the Queen took immense pleasure in death and blood. “What will become of Wonderland?”
“I’m afraid,” Ralph said, “that heads are rolling faster than ever. Who knows? I might be next. She’d have my head for sure if she knew I sneaked away to come here. Not easy to do when there are guards everywhere.”
Alice furrowed her brow. “Sneaked away to be here with me, you mean?”
He waved his paw. “Here with you, there with her, there’s no need to be so particular. I try not to be. The real question anyone should ask is not ‘Where am I?’ but rather ‘When am I?’ or, ‘When am I not?’ or the most pressing question of all, ‘Am I late?’”
Alice shook her head. Her thoughts were muddling already. Maybe everyone was right, and the world of Wonderland was simply nonsense. “White Rabbit…err…Sir Ralph…I’m terribly sorry about the King, but what can I do? I’m not anybody important.”
“Actually”—Ralph moved toward her—“you’re most unimportant.” “Unimportant? I’m not sure that makes any sense.”
“It does. It does. You must come back to Wonderland.”
Go back to Wonderland? She had hoped to for so long, but now she wasn’t sure. It wouldn’t do to go rushing off when she’d so recently left the asylum. She missed her room. She missed her kitty, Dinah. What if she went and never came home? Or they put her back in the asylum and never let her out? Perhaps, this time, seeing the White Rabbit again would have to be enough.
Alice ran her hand along the tall grass. “Well, you see, it’s not a very good time, and—”
“You have to help us, Alice,” Ralph interrupted her. “If you don’t come back, then we’re doomed. The Queen will murder us all, one by one.”
Well if ever there was a time to go hide down a rabbit hole, I’d say this is it.
Then here we have poor Alice, who’s gone and gotten herself stuck in the booby hatch, just for apparently making up lies. (Hmm… that’s giving me some ideas…) But we all know Alice isn’t telling lies, and boy does she get herself into a kerfuffle in this continuation of Alice in Wonderland written by H.J. Ramsay.
If you like fantasy, and love Alice in Wonderland, this is definitely one for you. This amazing new adventure puts Alice back with her old friends, and some new ones, but this time she becomes “Assassin Alice” per se and has to take out the Queen. Once you reach Wonderland, its as if you never left, and this story takes you on a crazy ride much like the original, but this time with a different type of flare. The story is told in alternating perspective from Alice and the Queen, and gives a good flow to the book, and Ramsay gives the characters some decent evolution from the time Alice has seen them last.
There is some darkness to this story, so don’t expect to read this to your children before bedtime, but all in all it is an excellent telling of a potential continuation of Lewis Carroll’s weird world. There are plenty of twist and turns that you don’t see coming and the ending is just astonishing. I think Ramsay made a great attempt with her original ideas intermixing with Carroll’s peculiar and distinct creation, which is not easy to do. Depending on what kind of Alice fan you are, some may like this book, some may love it, and some may disapprove, but overall I enjoyed this read and would love to see where Ramsay takes us next.
Thank you to Red Rogue Press, @hjramsay and @mmbtours for my gifted copy of this book.
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About H. J. Ramsay
H.J. Ramsay has loved fantasy ever since she was a child. Growing up, she was influenced by movies such as the Labyrinth, The Dark Crystal, and Legendas well as books and short stories, such as The Collected Works of Brothers Grimm. As such, she is drawn to fantasy with a darker side to its glittery world and the idea that things are never what they seem. Ever Alice is her first published novel. Ever Alice is her first published novel.
Happy Reading and Be Nice!