once upon a broken heart – stephanie garber | arc review

Once Upon a Broken Heart by Stephanie Garber

Series: Once Upon a Broken Heart #1
Expected publication: September 30th 2021 by Hodder & Stoughton 
Age Range: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy, Romance


Rating: 4 out of 5.


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… 


In exchange for three kisses, the Prince of Hearts will stop the wedding of the love of her life. Changing the course of fate demanded more from Evangeline than she expected. The Prince of Hearts isn’t as lovelorn as in the stories Evangeline grew up hearing. Growing up with the magical tales of the immortal Fates and her parents’s love at first sight story, Evangeline yearns for someone who will love her wholeheartedly. Out of desperation, she was willing to do anything including praying to the Fate with deadly kisses.

Set after the events of Finale in the Caraval trilogy, Once Upon a Broken Heart has references to the characters in the predecessor series. Although I still need to read Finale, I wasn’t too spoiled by starting this book. It’s nice to catch a glimpse of familiar characters, and whatever I read from Once Upon a Broken Heart is making me curious about what had happened in Finale. You don’t have to read Caraval to read Once Upon a Broken Heart. Though the book starts in the south, Evangeline gradually made her way towards the Magnificent North that has its own magic and history to unfold.

While helping Evangeline, Jacks has his own motives surrounding the mysterious prophecy of the Valors. He’s sarcastic, enigmatic, calculating, and distant. As the Fate that we know from the previous series, Jacks’s kisses are poisonous, and the only person who can kiss him and live is his one true love. There was no knowing whether he genuinely cared for Evangeline or using her as a pawn. I’m hoping it’s the former. Somehow, I just want him to finally have his happiness. Sometimes he feels more and more human than an immortal.

Though Evangeline entirely believes in love, she doesn’t view everything with rose-tinted glasses. Living under her stepmother’s roof has proven that some people can be bad but she still entirely believes in happily ever afters and one true loves. This characteristic of her is what propelled Evangeline’s future decision-making.

The Magnificent North was a splendid place. Magic surrounds the area with secrets. With dangerous kisses, mysterious whispering doors, and prophecies to fulfil, Once Upon a Broken Heart drew my attention right from the start. Whimsical and enchanting, Stephanie Garber layered the plot with a history that has multiple endings, a story with no proper resolution, and a fairytale-like setting. I absolutely fell in love with Stephanie Garber’s writing once again.

let’s chat:
how much are you looking forward to once upon a broken heart? i already need the second book!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s