The Ballad of Never After by Stephanie Garber

The basics

Title: The Ballad of Never After


Series: Once Upon a Broken Heart #2

- Once Upon a Broken Heart (2021)
- The Ballad of Never After (2022)
- A Curse for True Love (2023)

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Goodreads Summary:

After Jacks, the Prince of Hearts, betrays her, Evangeline Fox swears she'll never trust him again. Now that she’s discovered her own magic, Evangeline believes she can use it to restore the chance at happily ever after that Jacks stole away.

But when a new terrifying curse is revealed, Evangeline finds herself entering into a tenuous partnership with the Prince of Hearts again. Only this time, the rules have changed. Jacks isn’t the only force Evangeline needs to be wary of. In fact, he might be the only one she can trust, despite her desire to despise him.

Instead of a love spell wreaking havoc on Evangeline’s life, a murderous spell has been cast. To break it, Evangeline and Jacks will have to do battle with old friends, new foes, and a magic that plays with heads and hearts. Evangeline has always trusted her heart, but this time she’s not sure she can. . . .

Here is a spoiler summary of what happened in The Ballad of Never After by Stephanie Garber to help refresh your memory before you read the sequel. If you need help remembering what happened in The Ballad of Never After, then you’re in the right place.

What happened in The Ballad of Never After?

  • As you may recall, in Once Upon a Broken Heart Evangeline had just learnt that her husband Apollo is alive and had only been cursed by Jacks.
  • Evangeline is, understandably, feeling very betrayed and upset by the whole thing. 
  • Jacks shows up and promises to lift the curse on Apollo if Evangeline opens the Valory Arch for him. Evangeline isn’t sure what to do because she knows she shouldn’t help Jacks, but she wants to help Apollo.
  • Evangeline realises that Apollo has actually been cursed twice when a wound appears on both Apollo’s and Evangeline’s arm. There’s some sort of mirror curse going on.
  • Evangeline goes to see Lala because she needs help and advice. Lala tells Evangeline that she should work with Jacks. Lala tells Evangeline that she’s currently engaged to Lord Robin Slaughterwood.
  • Evangeline is very confused about this turn of events and returns to the palace. She finds that Apollo is now awake and has been cursed again. This time he has been cursed to kill Evangeline, which she discovers after he tries to attack her.
  • Unsure whether she has any other choice, Evangeline agrees to help Jacks open the Arch. First though, they need to go looking for the missing magical stones which make up the Arch.
  • Jacks takes Evangeline to the vampire castle. There are some hot and steamy feelings for Jacks going on although Evangeline refuses to admit to them. Instead she heads to the library, as you do.
  • Evangeline does some reading up on The Merrywood Three – Castor Valor, Lyric Merrywood, and The Archer – who were all from the Great Houses. They were all buddies. When Castor Valor was murdered, the Valor family created a monster to go and seek revenge on the Slaughterwood family.
  • Evangeline thinks Jacks might be one of the Merrywood Three.
  • Evangeline discovers that Chaos has one of the four stones. Another girl actually found it first, and Chaos says she died but then the girl appears and tries to kill Evangeline. There can be only one, I guess.
  • Evangeline kills the other girl, though.
  • Jacks and Evangeline leave the castle. Lala’s wedding is about to happen, so they head there.
  • Jacks and Evangeline theorise that the stones will be drawn together at this event because all the Great Houses will be together.
  • Evangeline manages to find two more of the stones. Now she only needs the mirth stone.
  • Jacks and Lala talk, and Evangeline overhears them say that Lala was the one to curse Apollo… twice.
  • Evangeline murders the other girl for a stone and flees the castle.
  • Evangeline realises her back is bleeding and she thinks someone is attacking or torturing Apollo.
  • Jacks takes Evangeline to The Hollow in order to heal her. Jacks leaves her there for a few days so she can get better.
  • Jacks returns and has a stab wound, so it’s Evangeline’s turn to take care of him.
  • Jacks asks Evangeline to stay with him for the night.
  • Evangeline wonders if Jacks’ curse will work in The Hollow. She realises that the magic actually comes from the final stone.
  • Evangeline dreams about a handsome stranger speaking to Lala about how Jacks hasn’t changed.
  • Evangeline uses the truth stone to make Jacks tell her why he needs the Arch opened. He says he doesn’t want it to be opened, in a shocking twist. Jacks says he wants the power from the stones and nothing more.
  • Evangeline and Jacks head back to the vampire castle.
  • Jacks tells Evangeline that the stones can send someone back in time if they’re brought together. It will drain the stones’ power, though, so it can only happen once.
  • Jacks says he wants to go back in time to before he was with Donatella, and to before he knew Evangeline.
  • Jacks reveals that he’s the Archer.
  • Evangeline and Chaos head to the Valory Arch at Wolf Hall, and they leave Jacks behind.
  • Evangeline uses her magic and the stones to open the Arch. Chaos enters it.
  • Evangeline finally admits she loves Jacks and plans to cure his curse.
  • She follows Chaos into the Arch, which turns out to be a prison for the Valor family, who are locked inside.
  • The Valor family wake up. Honora hugs Chaos, who turns out to be Castor Valor. Castor is super hungry and starts feeding on Evangeline.
  • Jacks shows up and tries to take Evangeline away but she is already dead.
  • Jacks uses the stones to go back in time to meet with Evangeline before all of this happens. Just as Evangeline and Chaos are about to go to the Arch in this new timeline, Jacks tells Evangeline to leave when the Arch opens and not go inside. Jacks says Chaos will feed on her otherwise.
  • Evangeline leaves when the Arch is opened and bumps into Apollo. He somehow seems fine now. He hugs her and tells her this whole thing is Jacks’ fault. Apollo steals Evangeline’s memories.
  • Evangeline is now super confused and can’t remember much. Apollo assures her that she’s safe and they’re husband and wife.

That’s what happened in The Ballad of Never After! Check out our recap list for more recaps. If you can’t find what you need, you can request a recap from us!

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