I'm a librarian who loves anime, manga, and reading a wide variety of genres.
This volume includes a summary (flashback) of Alice's arrival to the Country of Hearts, with some hand-waving as far as the move to Clover and then Joker went, because Alice has repressed her memories of Julian and Gowland disappearing when she was in the Country of Clover. Everyone is reluctant to remind her about what happened, just as they are reluctant to tell her too much about Joker, who is always smiling but seems to have a sinister streak. The Country of Joker is established as a place meant for Alice's entertainment, a place where she can spend time with all of the role-holders. The volume includes one extra: A flashback to the time when Alice had a crush on her tutor, and her heartbreak when he fell for her sister.
This volume felt super-condensed and a little confusing. It started off looking like Alice was remembering earlier events by reading her own diary (a clunky technique in general), but at some point it morphed into her present.
If you're looking for a good Country of Joker starting point, this would seem to be it. It covers a lot of basic stuff, like how the seasons work and the restrictions on Alice's movements. It also touches on the fact that all of Joker's employee's are toys (or Faceless who could be turned into toys?). Literally all of the role-holders are introduced, as well as most of their roles. In fact, so much time is spent introducing the characters and explaining how the world works that, at this point, it's unclear who, if anyone, Alice will be falling in love with in Circus and Liar's Game. (My initial guess was Joker. I was very wrong.)
(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)