Exclusive: Stephanie Garber Reveals a Big Clue on the Cover of ‘A Curse for True Love’

Exclusive: Stephanie Garber Reveals a Big Clue on the Cover of ‘A Curse for True Love’

All good things must come to an end. And if we could take the stones from the Valory Arch to back in time and relive the entire Once Upon a Broken Heart series, we definitely would. But at least there’s still one more book left before we officially say goodbye to Jacks, Evangeline, and the Magnificent North, and based on what went down in The Ballad of a Broken Heart, we’re counting down the days to see what happens next.

The final book in the series, A Curse for True Love, will be released on September 12, 2023, and Cosmopolitan has the first big glimpse at the final book, including the book cover reveal (which you can check out above). It matches the rest of the trilogy and features a mysterious red tree.

In an exclusive interview below, author Stephanie Garber revealed the cover alludes to the biggest surprise she has for fans. “I don’t want to spoil anything, so I am just going to cryptically say, ‘The tree.’ And yes, I’m talking about the tree that’s on the cover,” she said. “But I can’t say more without spoiling things.” So yes, the tree is going to be a big deal.


While Stephanie has been keeping the book a secret, her publisher Flatiron Books gave us a little bit of a hint about what to expect in the book’s official description:

“Two villains, one girl, and a deadly battle for happily ever after.Evangeline Fox ventured to the Magnificent North in search of her happy ending, and it seems as if she has it. She’s married to a handsome prince and lives in a legendary castle. But Evangeline has no idea of the devastating price she’s paid for this fairytale. She doesn’t know what she has lost, and her husband is determined to make sure she never finds out . . . but first he must kill Jacks, the Prince of Hearts.

Blood will be shed, hearts will be stolen, and true love will be put to the test in ‘A Curse for True Love,’ the breathlessly anticipated conclusion to the Once Upon A Broken Heart trilogy.”

Before you run off and pre-order the new book (or dive into the series again), you’re going to want to read Cosmo‘s interview with Stephanie looking back on the Once Upon A Broken Heart trilogy, discussing what fans should expect, and exploring what’s next for our favorite characters.

First, I have to say this for myself and other readers: Our hearts are breaking! How could you leave us with that ending?

    I’d say I’m sorry, but I’m really not. I had been writing toward that ending for a couple of years, ever since I first started working on Once Upon a Broken Heart. I really wasn’t trying to break the hearts of readers, so much as I was trying to break a particular character, who I felt really needed to be broken.

    It’s been a bit since The Ballad of Never After, how has it been seeing everyone’s reactions to it?

      I feel a little guilty for saying this, but it’s been incredibly fun! I’ve never experienced anything quite like the reaction readers have had to the end of Ballad. In the past, I’ve always been scared of writing intense cliffhangers because I’ve feared the phenomenon where readers tell each other not to pick up a book because of the cliffhanger. However, thankfully, with this book I’ve seen a lot of readers tell other people to read so that they could either talk about the ending or have someone to experience the pain with them. Seeing that has been tremendous.

      ‘The Ballad of Never After’

      'The Ballad of Never After'

      ‘The Ballad of Never After’

      Credit: Bookshop

      You’ve already confirmed A Curse for True Love will be the final book. Did you know going into the series that it would be a trilogy? Or did it come to you at a certain point while writing it?

        This series originally sold as a duology, but I knew early into writing the first book that it needed to be a trilogy. However I also knew that in order to sell a third book, I would have to nail the ending of Ballad and prove it was necessary to continue the story. I think that’s another reason the end of that book is a little traumatic. I wasn’t just writing it for readers, I was also writing it for my editor, in order to convince her that a third book was essential.

        What is it like knowing this is the end? What are you going to miss the most?

          I never feel as if a story is really ending when I finish a book. I think that’s one of the wonderful things about writing YA. Characters in YA are younger, and for some of the characters in this series in particular, I feel as if the end of this book is just the end of their origin story and they will go on to have many more stories and adventures. Currently, I don’t have any plans to revisit any of these characters, but at the same time I have built in a few back doors in case I ever want to come back.

          As we’ve seen, this ties into the Caraval universe. Is this the last we’ll be seeing of this world, or are there plans for more?

            I love writing in the Caraval universe. I can’t say for certain if I’ll return, but I can tell you that I would love to visit this world again. I don’t know if I would revisit any of these characters because I feel as if all of them have been tortured enough (at least for now), but I think there are endless story possibilities in the world of Caraval and the Magnificent North and I would love to explore some of them.




            Credit: Bookshop

            Is there anything you can reveal about the new book? Any little thing you can share with us while we wait?

              This book has been really challenging for me to write. I feel as if part of this might be punishment for how I hurt so many readers with the end of Ballad, because writing this book has been unlike writing the rest of the series. With Once Upon A Broken Heart and The Ballad of Never After, I knew where I was going and it was fairly easy to get there, but with this book, even though I’ve known where I was going, it’s been really difficult. I feel as if all my characters are mad at me for some of the things I’ve written, and none of them are doing exactly what I want.

              What surprised you the most about writing this book?

                I don’t want to spoil anything, so I am just going to cryptically say, “The tree.” And yes, I’m talking about the tree that’s on the cover. But I can’t say more without spoiling things.

                What’s been the part you are most proud of after doing this? Either career-wise or even book-wise?

                  I still haven’t finished writing A Curse for True Love, but I’m really hoping that once I finish, the ending of this book will be my favorite part—and by ending, I’m talking about the last half of this book, which I’m really hoping that I’m able to pull off.

                  How has this book challenged you as a writer?

                  I feel every book I write challenges me, but I actually feel as if writing this series was much easier than writing the Caraval series. That was my first experience with a trilogy and I learned a lot from it—such as always start writing the sequel before you publish the first book. That alone made working on this series so much easier.

                  I don’t know if I was surprised by the process of writing this series, but I was a little surprised by how much I loved writing the ending of The Ballad of Never After. I love reading happily ever afters, but this series taught me that I love writing endings that give readers more of a shock.

                  What three words would you use to describe A Curse for True Love?

                    This is so tough! I feel as if third books do not lend themselves to simple words, so I did a little hyphenating: Heart-stealing, emotionally-devastating, and painfully-romantic.

                    If you could tell your characters anything as they reach this final chapter, what would you say to them?

                      This is such a fun question. I feel like I would probably tell Evangeline I’m sorry.

                      Now that you’re almost done working on this novel, what’s next? Do you already have plans or are you just seeing what happens next?

                        I do have plans—I actually have lots of plans and projects that are already in the works. I’m particularly excited about my next big project because I’m working on something totally different. This project has given me the chance to exercise writing muscles that I haven’t gotten the opportunity to use while working in the Caraval universe. Although I don’t want readers to worry, even though this project is quite different, it still has romance, magic, and lots of highly motivated morally-gray characters.

                          What would you like to say to the fans and readers?

                            Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I’ll admit, sometimes I write books for myself rather than for readers, but this book I wrote for the readers—I wrote some scenes in the hopes of upsetting them, some in the hopes of delighting them, and overall, I wrote A Curse For True Love in the hopes of entertaining.

                            The Ballad of Never After, by Stephanie Garber, will be released on September 12, 2023. To preorder the book, click on the retailer of your choice:


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