Etta

Audiobook Review: Once Upon a Broken Heart (OUABH #1)

Published September 28th 2021

Author: Stephanie Garber

Narrator: Rebecca Soler

Audiobook Length: 10 hours 3 minutes

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….

[Caraval Series: Caraval (#1) / Legendary (#2) / Finale (#3) Reviews]

Once Upon a Broken Heart is the first installment in a series of the same name. This series features some characters from the Caraval trilogy and takes place afterward. While it is not a requirement to read the first trilogy, it is recommended if you want additional background on some of the characters, especially Jacks, the Prince of Hearts. If you are the type of reader that prefers to start fresh, you can easily read this series as a standalone and still understand everything. For me, I wanted to try out both series, which meant holding off on this novel until I had the chance to finish the first. While the wait was very difficult, it was well worth it as I am fully in love with this series, so far.

This story follows Evangeline Fox who is heartbroken after she discovered that her first love, Luc, is marrying her stepsister, Marisol. To stop the wedding she ends up striking a deal with Jacks, a Fate, and the Prince of Hearts. After greatly enjoying his character in the Caraval series, I loved that he made an appearance. As Evangeline is a hopeless romantic who dreams of her happy ending, she jumps headfirst into certain decisions without thinking them through. This is very evident with her initial deal with Jacks where he will stop the wedding in exchange for three kisses of his choosing. She agrees, as she is desperate to stop the wedding and does not question the details. It was a great set-up for her character as this thought process is explored throughout this novel.

I can see why Evangeline could come off as a semi-unlikable character to some readers. She wavers between decisions or makes one and then wants to change directions. I enjoyed this part of her character as she tried to learn from each mistake and faced all the unknowns bravely. For me, it was difficult to understand why Evangeline was set to be with Luc. I think a flashback or something that described their happy times together would have made me connect more to her drive to be with him. Jacks does not make many appearances, but I loved his interactions with Evangeline and hope there are more in the next installment. While Jacks is the potential love interest, in theory, there are others in this story that I am curious about the next steps.

Overall, this was an addictive and easy read. There is nothing overly complicated about the story while still having some twists along the way. I loved that the Fates are further explored in this story after briefly learning of them in Caraval. There is a lot of romance in this story without a clear-cut ending in sight. I have my thoughts about how this part of the series will end, but it is still uncertain. In Caraval, it was very clear to me who each sister would end up, but this series leaves some uncertainty and I am all here for it! As much as I loved this story, the cliffhanger ending is frustrating in a good way. As this is a series, I see it as a good sign that the author left me wanting more. There are many questions left to be answered with not a lot of resolution.  Waiting for the next novel will be difficult, but I have faith that it will be worth it!

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