Once Upon a Broken Heart (Once Upon A Broken Heart, Book 1) by Stephanie Garber


Fantasy | Fairytale | Young Adult | Romance

Reasons to Love

📚 Royalty
📚 Magic
📚 Fates
📚 Fairytales
📚 Pocket-sized dragons
📚 Potions
📚 Enchanted objects
📚 Enemies to lovers? (TBD) 
📚 Vampires
📚 Mystery
📚 Forbidden love

Main Themes

Trust | Forgiveness | Adventure | Innocence | True Love


Inception meets fairytale in this exquisite adventure of Fates and Foxes and story curses and tiny pocket-sized dragons who just want to make sure your food is cooked well. And maybe sit on your shoulder. (So, where can I get one?)

A bell over a shop door introduces the story—because of course there are enchanted objects, and our soon-to-be beloved heroine works there. This is just the first of many inanimate objects or even curses that Garber gives a perspective, which felt fresh and fun in a market laden with fairytales and retellings. 

The book was slow in all the right places (cue the romance!), but Garber kept the story moving along nicely through Evangeline embarking on an adventure to The Magnificent North (where her mother grew up) and meeting new friends like Ariel “LaLa” Lagrimas and even meeting up with a few old ones (but I won’t spoil your adventure by mentioning them here). 

Spells and questions and curses and loves abound as Evangeline searches for answers in a land that’s cursed with the inability to give them all while fulfilling a deal she made with a curious Fate — The Prince of Hearts. He is also known as Jacks. And you, my dear reader friend, will probably love and hate him at different times. I ended up loving him, realizing that like most of us humans, he simply has his flaws. (Admittedly, he does some pretty awful things. But he’s a Fate after all.) But over the course of the book, we watch both Evangeline and Jacks become brave—in very different ways. 

There are princes and ballgowns and jealous ladies in the palace; there’s a questionable stepsister and a downright evil stepmother. This book has everything you’re looking for in a fairytale and gifts those things in ways that just might surprise you.

The inclusion of the beautifully rendered map of The Magnificent North at the beginning of the book certainly helped me get a good grasp on Evangeline’s travels and envision some of the places she visited while on her way. As the magic originated in the North, the setting was absolutely vital to the story and Garber didn’t disappoint. 

All that to say, this story was delightful — from the vivid descriptions of setting and wardrobe to the fun of mini dragons and fluffy foxes befriending flummoxed Fates. (Yes, I did have to do that.) In a magical land where bells talk and arches whisper and blood opens doors, I believe you’ll be enchanted, right along with Evangeline. (And me, of course, because I immediately bought book two. More on that later.)

Ridiculously Quotable

Evangeline p. 29

The Fates weren’t dangerous because they were evil; the Fates were dangerous because they couldn’t tell the difference between evil and good.

Evangeline’s Mom p. 60

I believe there are far more possibilities than happily ever after or tragedy. Every story has the potential for infinite endings.

Evangeline p. 311

She knew there were downsides to feeling deeply; it could get in the way of logic and reason. But shutting off emotions was just as treacherous.

My Take

Everyone has secrets. Sometimes it’s hard to know who to trust and easy to become jaded or cynical. But there is still beauty to be found, even in the wandering and waiting for people to show who they really are. Maybe that’s part of the fun of the adventure after all. And people might just surprise you.



(None | Mild | Medium | Harsh)

No foul language in this book.


⚔️ ⚔️ ⚔️ 

There are vampires and other devious mythical creatures; there’s a lot of backstabbing and potion mixing and lying to get what you want. Blood and death are no strangers in this tale either.


🌶️ 🌶️ 🌶️

There were a few near kisses, lots of “lusty” embraces, lots of sexual tension, and some passionate physical touch (though not inappropriate). 

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

Other Reviews On this Series

The Ballad of Neverafter (Once Upon a Broken Heart Series, Book Two) by Stephanie Garner

Publisher’s Summary 

For as long as she can remember, Evangeline Fox has believed in true love and happy endings . . . until she learns that the love of her life will marry another. 

Desperate to stop the wedding and to 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’d pledged. He has plans for Evangeline, plans that will either end in the greatest happily ever after, or the most exquisite tragedy.

About the Author

Stephanie Garber is the #1 New York Times and internationally bestselling author of Once Upon a Broken Heart, The Ballad of Never After, and the Caraval trilogy. Her books have been translated into thirty languages.

I’d like to check out Once Upon a Broken Heart—where can I buy it?


Barnes and Noble

Macmillan Publishers



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