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Once Upon a Broken Heart by Stephanie Garber – Book Review.

Evangeline Fox was raised in her beloved father’s curiosity shop, where she grew up on legends about immortals, like the tragic Prince of Hearts. She knows his powers are mythic, his kiss is worth dying for, and that bargains with him rarely end well.

But when Evangeline learns that the love of her life is about to marry another, she becomes desperate enough to offer the Prince of Hearts whatever he wants in exchange for his help to stop the wedding. The prince only asks for three kisses. But after Evangeline’s first promised kiss, she learns that the Prince of Hearts wants far more from her than she’s pledged. And he has plans for Evangeline that will either end in the greatest happily ever after, or the most exquisite tragedy…

Thank you to Hodderscape for the review copy. I can confirm all thoughts and opinions are my own.

For once, I feel like not reading the prequel series was actually a good thing. You absolutely don’t need to have read the Caraval series to enjoy this book, and I’m glad that I didn’t. I had no preconceived ideas of the characters, their behaviours etc and enjoyed coming to this world with fresh eyes and with no pre thought out opinion on what would happen/ how people would act.

Evangeline Fox is a girl who has always believed in fairy tales. Raised by her mother from the north and her father from the south, she has always dreamt of a world where the stories she grew up on were real, and has always wanted a life like in one of the books she read. But fairy tales don’t always end well. When Evangeline finds out the boy she loves is set to marry her step sister she knows she will do anything to stop it, even if that means making a deal with one of the infamous and trickster fates, Jack of Hearts. Only, as the stories usually go things don’t quite go to plan, and Evangeline ends up making a deal for three kisses with Jacks deciding the who and the where. After the events of her step sisters wedding, Evangeline becomes something of a fairy tale herself, and is tasked by the Empress to travel to the Magnificent North and be their envoy for Nocte Neverending, the night the Prince will choose his bride to be. But Jacks has other plans for Evangeline, plans that might make her dream of a fairy tale life come true, or have it come burning down around her.

Evangeline is a girl who wants true love, something she thought she had found. She is a little naive, always seeing the best in people, and doesn’t always make the best decisions, as proved when she makes the deal with Jacks to stop her step-sisters wedding. Her journey and character growth through this book are one of the things I loved most, she is bold and brave and sometimes a little impulsive, but she is also just the quiet girl who grew up in her fathers curiosity shop, whose head was filled with happily ever afters. She quickly comes to realise that they don’t always exists, but there is a small part of her that hopes she is destined for one in the end.

Jacks possibly became one of my all time favourite characters when reading this. He is wondrously morally grey, and extremely untrustworthy, but there is also something a little broken about him. Having never read the Caraval series, I really enjoyed learning more about his past as the story unfolded. We’re never sure of his true intentions with Evangeline, can we trust him? Is he looking out for her, or using her for his own purposes? But good or bad I defy you not to fall a little in love with him page by page.

Once Upon a Broken Heart is reminiscent of old time fairy tales I used to read as a child, only with a little more danger and romance. Garber weaves in story lines from well known fairy tales such as Cinderella, Rumpelstiltskin, adding in the likes of Vampires and mini dragons as well as creating her own lore and mythology, such as the fates, to create a world that is incredibly rich and unique. I never got bored hearing the little fairy tales, and stories that she throws in throughout, and as well as adding to the world building, some of the stories almost prophesise the fates of our main character. Her writing is lush and really helped bring the world of the Magnificent North to life.

Though throughout the story Evangeline’s efforts and actions originated from her love for Luc, I adored the relationship between her and Jacks. It was hilarious, slow burn and filled with tension. We know Evangeline finds him attractive (who wouldn’t) but she constantly fights an inner battle, never trusting him or his actions. Though we don’t get Jacks POV, we can see through his actions that he is developing feelings for Evangeline and their relationship had me cackling in parts, especially at the bits where they both tried to deny their growing feelings for the other. I would say I’m not 100% sure they will end up together, there are a multitude of love interests in the book, but I did love their scenes together and I’m personally on team Jacks.

I honestly adored this book, it was fun and adventurous and just filled to the brim with magic and mayhem. Garber has created a world right out of the fairy tales of old, with unforgettable characters and a lore and mythology of it’s own. I absolutely flew through this story, with it’s well placed plot twists and mystery woven throughout there are no good places to put it down, and after the absolute shocker of an ending I am eagerly anticipating book two.

10 replies »

  1. I’d seen all the hype for this book but I actually never really felt pulled to read it until now! 😍 This sounds so good and I love a slow burn romance with lots of banter. I have read part of the Caraval series but it’s been so long ago I forgot a lot of details (especially about Jacks) but good to know that I don’t have to read that first before getting into this one—maybe it’s even better that I don’t. Fab review, Becky!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Dini! I’ve only read Caraval & didn’t love it, but i have heard the rest of the series is better, and with how much I’ve enjoyed this I might just go back & give it another try. I do think you will enjoy this one though, so can’t wait to see what you think if you give it a try 😊

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  2. Awesome review! Now that you’ve suggested that it’s not necessary to read the Caraval series in order to enjoy this one I might move it up on my TBR. I loved Caraval, but haven’t had a chance to read the rest of the series

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! I would say that it might spoil the ending to the Caraval series, because some characters do make an appearance, but you might be better checking with someone whose read the first series just in case 😊

      Liked by 1 person

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