Once Upon a Book Club is a uniquely engaging book subscription box. Instead of just sending along books and bookish items, this monthly subscription box sends you one book and a series of individually wrapped items, each with a numbered tag that corresponds to a page in the book.
As you read, you open the items that correspond to the page numbers, unwrapping gifts that help bring the story to life.
My Subscription Addiction paid for this box. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)
The Subscription Box: Once Upon a Book Club
The Cost: $34.99 a month. There is also a 3-month prepay ($100.99), 6-month prepay ($199.00), and 12-month prepay ($390.00) subscription options.
ACTIVE DEAL: Save 10% off your first box!
The Products: Women's fiction with an aspirational bent, plus gifts related to the story.
Ships to: Worldwide
Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!
The info card for the Once Upon a Book Club box features an artful print that incorporates a quote from the book of the month.
On the back of the card, there's a series of discussion questions and dates corresponding to when the "club" will be meeting on them. Once Upon a Book Club uses their Instagram account as a platform where members can connect and talk through these points. I really like when book subscriptions find ways to engage readers beyond the box!
Lost Among the Living by Simone St. James - Value on Amazon $8.92 (retail price: $15.00)
This novel blends suspense with history and mystery. There's so much unsettling despair surrounding the story—the loss of a husband, a thread of mental illness, the lingering clouds of war—that (and this sounds weird, but) I feel like I was drawn in by the sheer stress of it all.
Book Summary from Amazon:
England, 1921. Three years after her husband, Alex, disappeared, shot down over Germany, Jo Manders still mourns his loss. Working as a paid companion to Alex's wealthy, condescending aunt, Dottie Forsyth, Jo travels to the family’s estate in the Sussex countryside. But there is much she never knew about her husband’s origins…and the revelation of a mysterious death in the Forsyths’ past is just the beginning…
All is not well at Wych Elm House. Dottie's husband is distant, and her son was grievously injured in the war. Footsteps follow Jo down empty halls, and items in her bedroom are eerily rearranged. The locals say the family is cursed, and that a ghost in the woods has never rested. And when Jo discovers her husband’s darkest secrets, she wonders if she ever really knew him. Isolated in a place of deception and grief, she must find the truth or lose herself forever.
And then a familiar stranger arrives at Wych Elm House…
Here's the back cover with some info on the author, as well.
Okay, from here on in, I'll be looking at the items that correspond to different pages of the book. I'll try to avoid spoilers, but just FYI!
3 Fabric Leaves - Value $0.50?
These little leaves are soft and colorful, and I like that they come packaged in such a cute bag. They work in terms of bringing their related scene to life, but I wish they had a use beyond the context of the box. Maybe I'll turn them into a Thanksgiving craft project. I just hate to see items go to waste!
Spooky Picture - Value $1.00?
The second package in the box was also more of a prop than anything. One glance at this photo, and you'll understand the general feel of this book! It's haunting, mysterious, and downright spooky at times.
Speaking of spooky, look at the message on the back! Eek!
Small Hardcover Sketchbook - Value $5.00?
This gift was packaged really nicely in a cardboard sleeve tied with gold and ivory string. Filled with ivory pages, this small burgundy book feels rather refined to carry around in your bag. I like how the lettering on the front is pressed into the cover, too.
There's a neat drawing on the inside of the cover, too. It provides some great inspiration and helps this item echo the timeframe of the novel.
Crochet Knit Over the Knee Socks - Value $4.00
Packaged in this metallic polka dot bag are a pair of mint-green over the knee socks. They're super thin and have a somewhat open, almost lace-like knit to them. I'm only 5'3", and they did indeed come up with a few inches over my knee—the ivory part ended up starting right at my knee, and then the fluttery top sat comfortably over my thigh. I wore them around the house for a bit, and while they did start slipping down pretty easily, I appreciated that the tops of the socks were more forgiving than others I've tried—they didn't pinch in or anything like that.
Pearl and Crystal Necklace and Earring Set - Value $3.58
This set is unfortunately not very high quality, but it is very pretty. I really love how the rose gold accents the clean, pure white of the pearls. It adds a lot of visual interest and a romantic twist on the traditional strands of pearls.
The earrings also feature tiny rhinestones down their sides, and a few right above each pearl, too. Getting the necklace to lay flat takes some effort (it keeps wanting to twist around as if the pearls are strung a little too tightly together). But there's no doubt that these pieces would make a beautiful statement in a going-out ensemble!
Here's a look at everything outside their packaging.
Verdict: While I love the idea behind Once Upon a Book Club, I've said before that I wish the items were just a bit higher quality. You get a lot of items in the box, and I love how they relate to moments in the book. I really like that a lot of the items in this box had practical uses so that they don't just become another thing in my desk or craft drawer. I guessed the price on the simpler items (the postcard, the leaves), but the value I get for this box is about $23.00. That's a pretty significant difference from the box's $34.99 price. I appreciate the trouble they go to with presentation (the box itself is beautiful, all the packages were really carefully done, and of course the time it takes to find items that mirror the book in a compelling way), but I wish the items had more value.
Are you interested in Once Upon a Book Club box?