#BookReview: ONCE UPON A BROKEN HEART by Stephanie Garber @hodderscape @HodderBooks

Publication: 30th September 2021 – Hodder & Stoughton

From the #1 Sunday Times bestselling author of the Caraval series, the first book in a new series about love, curses, and the lengths that people will go to for happily ever after.

For as long as she can remember, Evangeline Fox has believed in happily ever after. Until she learns that the love of her life is about to marry another, and her dreams are shattered.

Desperate to stop the wedding, and heal her wounded heart, Evangeline strikes a deal with the charismatic, but wicked, Prince of Hearts. In exchange for his help, he asks for three kisses, to be given at the time and place of his choosing.

But after Evangeline’s first promised kiss, she learns that bargaining with an immortal is a dangerous game – and that the Prince of Hearts wants far more from her than she pledged. He has plans for Evangeline, plans that will either end in the greatest happily ever after, or the most exquisite tragedy…



Stephanie Garber is the reason I read so many fantasy novels. Until a few years ago, I read mostly crime and women’s fiction and then I stumbled upon the Caraval series and I fell in love with this magic world of games and fantasy, bargains and fates and I became addicted to Stephanie’s writing style. Since then, I started reading more and more fantasy books, often because of Stephanie Garber’s recommendations on Instagram.

Once Upon A Broken Heart is her new novel after the Caraval series, set in the same world (although, you can still easily read it if you haven’t read Caraval), with new characters and a couple of old acquaintances, most notably Jacks, the Prince of Hearts.

“He looked like a bad decision some unfortunate person was about to make. His midnight-blue hair was unruly, and his sable half cape was rakishly crooked, hanging over one shoulder to reveal a partially buttoned, smoke-gray doublet.”

The protagonist of Once Upon A Broken Heart is Evangeline Fox. She and Luc are in love, about to announce their engagement when, instead, he announces his wedding to another woman. She knows that Luc loves her, but he refuses to see her. The only way to stop the wedding is to make a bargain with the Prince of Hearts, even though she knows that you should never make a bargain with a Fate, especially when that Fate is Jacks.

“Even if you never want to see Jacks again, you’ll gravitate toward him until you fulfill the deal you’ve made with him. But if you desire a chance to happiness, fight the pull – Jacks will only lead to your destruction.”

Evangeline stops the wedding, but at a cost, and then she travels to the mysterious and magnificent North her mother used to tell her about as the ambassador for the Meridian Empire where, once again, her life becomes entangled with Jacks.

We had to wait two years for a new novel by Stephanie Garber, but it was worth it. Addictive, intriguing, and hard to put down, Once Upon A Broken Heart proves, once again, that Stephanie Garber is a master storyteller. The characters are incredible and engaging and I am delighted that Jacks finally got his own story to tell. Evangeline is a fantastic, smart, and witty heroine and I can’t wait to see what is coming up next for her in the sequel.

Once Upon A Broken Heart is a must-read, an enchanting and riveting story set in a fantastic world of fairytales, curses, bargains, elixirs, and romance that I couldn’t put down!

A huge thank you to Hodder & Stoughton and NetGalley for providing me with a proof of this engrossing novel.

P. S.: how beautiful is the UK edition with its secret covers???

Stephanie Garber wanted to be an explorer until she realised most of the world had already been discovered. So she started creating her own worlds, which is why she now writes imaginative fiction. When she’s not writing, Stephanie teaches creative writing at a private college in northern California.

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