Once Upon a Broken Heart

Once Upon a Broken Heart by Stephanie Garber
Stephanie Garber
Star Rating
Reviewer's Rating
Jan 26, 2023

Stephanie Garber’s Once Upon a Broken Heart stars Evangeline Fox, a young, optimistic,
hopeless romantic girl with rose gold hair. After learning of her step sister’s engagement to her
first and only love, Evangeline seeks out the assistance of the notorious Prince of Hearts, Jacks,
known for killing people with a single kiss. In exchange for stopping the wedding, she will owe
him three kisses of which he will choose the time, place, and person. After her plans go south,
she spends a few weeks turned to stone and a few months in solitude after her stepmother
closes her father’s shop and tries to marry Evangeline off for profit with Jacks nowhere to be
found. Eventually, by the orders of the Empress, Evangeline is sent off to the Magnificent North,
bringing along her step sister, to attend a party for the prince to find a wife. There, she reunites
with Jacks, who’s ready to cash in the first kiss: Prince Apollo of the Magnificent North. The
night after the kiss, the prince ends up proposing to Evangeline. At their wedding night, Apollo is
cursed into an endless sleep in which Evangeline is blamed for. Now on the run, she and Jacks
team up to prove their innocence. Together they escape vampires, learn secrets, and develop a
bond. After a certain secret is revealed, however, Evangeline is betrayed by those she thought
of as friends and now must face curing Apollo on her own.

This book is honestly one of my favorite books of all time. I had read the Caraval series where
Jacks is introduced. While I didn’t love it, I did love Jacks and hoped his story and the world
would be explored more. Lo and behold Stephanie Garber does just that in Once Upon a
Broken Heart. Although I started the series for Jacks in particular, what drew my attention and
kept it was the main character, Evangeline. She’s an amazing protagonist who pushed the
boundaries of female main characters. In my experience, female protagonists in fantasy are
usually either really tough and tom-boyish or “girly” and weak, needing someone else to fight
their battles. Evangeline, however, is a mix of both. She loves pink and flowers and romances,
all things thought to be “girly”, but she’s also extremely resilient. She learns to be more
independent throughout the story, no longer depending solely on Jacks. She also tries to see
the good in everyone and everything, which is both her greatest weakness and strength.

In terms of story, while it isn’t the strongest, it’s incredibly charming and magical, like an old
fairytale. After reading the second book, it’s obvious that this one was mostly setting up for the
events of the next. Still, it was thoroughly entertaining and addicting. I simply could not put the
book down. The characters were all unique and the mystery of what their backstory is keeps
them interesting. The cliffhanger at the end could be better, but it was enough to keep me
excited for the next installment. Overall, this book’s strengths overcomes its weaknesses and is
great for a nice cozy read with a bit of drama.


Written by
Maggie S.

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