Once Upon A Book Club – February Review

Once Upon A Book Club is an original book subscription box that includes 1 novel (either paperback or hardback), a quote art print, and 3 – 5 items that correlate with a quote or item mentioned in the book.  Each item included is wrapped and labeled with a different page number to let the reader know that they shouldn’t open up the item until they reach that specific page.  Once Upon A Book Club is $34.99/monthly + shipping, and they do ship worldwide.  They also have the option to buy 3 months at a time ($100.99/month + shipping), 6 months at a time ($199.00/month + shipping), or 12 months at a time ($390.00/month + shipping) with a slight discount.  Their shipping prices are:

  • $8.50 within the US
  • $15 for Canada
  • $26 for Worldwide

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I received the February box to review, and I was so excited to dig in!  The originality of this box is amazing, and I adore the box design.

Once Upon A Book Club shows up in a gorgeous pink box that is designed to look like a book.  The box itself is something to savor, and I will be displaying it on my bookshelf!

When opening the box, you are presented with a lovely interior script design.  All of the items are also neatly packed with a friendly warning card:

Once Upon A Book Club comes with a card that links a discussion question to a date during March.  On each date, the subscriber can visit the box’s Instagram or Facebook page to discuss the questions with other subscribers.  I like how they based the questions in March because it allows time for subscribers to begin reading the book.

As promised, the box also includes a quote art print from the book of the month, From Sand and Ash.  I am always a sucker for quote art prints, so I absolutely love this one!  It sets a stage for the reading experience, and I like having a piece of the book to display in my room.

The book choice is a romantic historical fiction novel called From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon.  Once Upon A Bookclub sends out historical fiction, contemporary fiction or women’s fiction novels, and I love how this sets them apart from other book boxes.  This months’ book is a paperback, and it was released in 2016.

Here is the synopsis:

Italy, 1943—Germany occupies much of the country, placing the Jewish population in grave danger during World War II.

As children, Eva Rosselli and Angelo Bianco were raised like family but divided by circumstance and religion. As the years go by, the two find themselves falling in love. But the church calls to Angelo and, despite his deep feelings for Eva, he chooses the priesthood.

Now, more than a decade later, Angelo is a Catholic priest and Eva is a woman with nowhere to turn. With the Gestapo closing in, Angelo hides Eva within the walls of a convent, where Eva discovers she is just one of many Jews being sheltered by the Catholic Church.

But Eva can’t quietly hide, waiting for deliverance, while Angelo risks everything to keep her safe. With the world at war and so many in need, Angelo and Eva face trial after trial, choice after agonizing choice, until fate and fortune finally collide, leaving them with the most difficult decision of all.

I read this novel before reviewing the box, and I am IN LOVE with the story!  From Sand and Ash is a gorgeous portrayal of Italy during World War Two, and I am so happy to have been able to experience the novel along with the interactive items.

If you would like to see my full review of From Sand and Ash, please go here.

The first item that we open when reading the book begins on page 190.  The present includes a yellow purse with a national registration identity card that was created to go along with the main character, Eva Bianco.

I am amazed at the identity card because it is clear that Once Upon A Book Club had it made exclusively for their box!  I love having a visual for Eva, and the creativity that went into the item is wonderful.  These items also go perfectly with this quote from page 190 in the book:

“She fumbled in her pocketbook and rushed to set her fake pass in his hand.”

These items are ripped straight from the book, and I was amazed at the details that went into them.

The next item is derived from page 221 in the book.  It is a gorgeous gold ring with emerald and white stones, and it is of high quality.

The ring correlates with the following quote in the book:

“She picked up a dainty ring and realized that it was Giulia’s.  Giulia had given her ring to keep Rome’s Jews from being slaughtered.  But they’d been taken anyway, some of them reduced to ash, and Giulia’s ring sat in a closet at Via Tasso collecting dust – ignored, forgotten, and completely insignificant to the men who had extorted it.”

  I love how poetic and symbolic this ring is to the story, and I am so glad that it was included in the box.  Every time I wear this ring, I will think about everyone who was lost in the Holocaust.  The velvet pouch itself is also handy to keep the ring in, and to remind me of which page the ring correlates with.

The next items are also astoundingly connected to the book.  Included is a gray pocketbook with documents that were created from the novel, but even the newspaper that is wrapped around the items has been made exclusively for the box, and it is derived straight from the story as well.  Here is the corresponding quote:

“Eva kept her eyes on Aldo’s face.  His eyes were closed, mercifully so, and his glasses were slightly askew, making him look like a child who had fallen asleep reading.  She crouched beside him and felt for the newspaper he’d shoved inside his coat.  There.  It was fat with documents.”

 

This moment in the novel is heartbreaking, but the items give us a piece of one of the characters who does end up dying because he was Jewish.

Again, I am flabberghasted at the documents that Once Upon A Bookclub created to go along with From Sand and Ash.  They make the story leap off of the page, and it is like having pieces of the book with you to keep forever.

The last item correlates with the last page of the novel before the epilogue, page 368.

It is a candle decorated with musical notes, and after reading the book, I noticed how the musical notes and candle both tied up the novel well.  It was nice that they included an item to correlate with the last page of the book before the epilogue because it made me feel like I had closure after reading the story.

Here is the quote that goes along with the candle:

“Angelo watched Eva playing from an upstairs window in the apartment that overlooked the street, his son in his arms, his ears peeled, not wanting to miss a note.  It was a miracle.  There had been many, and before the war was over, there would be more.  He lit a candle and watched it flicker, its light reflected in the cross that hung on the wall.  And he listened to Eva play.”

Overall, I was more than please with Once Upon A Book Club!  The creators clearly put a lot of time and effort into creating items that correlated with the book, and you cannot find this experience elsewhere.  Once Upon A Book Club is perfect for those looking for a book club to discuss the book with, as well as a reading experience that will take the reader right into the book included.  If you love historical fiction, contemporary fiction, or women’s fiction, then it doesn’t’ get any better that Once Upon A Book Club!

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FOR BOX REVIEWS, EMAIL: peachykeenreviews@gmail.com

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