Once Upon a Book Club - Past_Boxes_Adult_2020
Hover over the photo of the wrapped gifts to see the complete unboxing underneath!

December Box

Love and Music

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    The Lost Love Song by Minnie Darke
  • Page 186
    "She'd found the map in one of the boxes she'd exhumed from the Beetle. It was dated but still perfectly adequate for her purpose. Evie had no map pins, but she did have earrings, so she put a small silver star stud through the paper at Esperance. The next earring, a crescent moon, she pushed into the township of Bellingen, in the New South Wales hinterland, for no other reason that it was a profoundly pretty part of the country..."
    - a scratch-off map and a set of earrings inspired by those mentioned in the novel.
  • Page 220
    "He watched the road but was aware of Evie in the passenger seat, fidgeting with the moonstone ring she wore on the middle finger of her left hand."
    - a rose gold, moonstone ring inspired by Evie's ring.
  • Page 241
    "Evie lifted the lid and could not help but smile. The box was filled to about a third of the way up the sides with what appeared to be white sand, although the sand had a particular sparkle to them that made Evie think there might be some glitter involved, too. Wedged into the sand at an angle was a small glass vial, stoppered with a cork. Inside this little vessel was a slip of paper: a message in a bottle."
    - a vial filled with sparkly white sand containing the message as written in the novel.
  • Page 355
    "An old suitcase lay open on the table. It was packed, end to end, with sheet music. Squeezed in among them was a black leather manuscript book with a bright red ribbon for a placeholder. It sat there, unregarded."
    - a black journal with a quote from the novel embossed on the cover in gold.

November Box

Thelma and Louise

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    Miss Benson's Beetle by Rachel Joyce
  • Page 7
    "Yet, as her finger met the golden beetle, something happened: a spark seemed to fly out and her future opened. She went hot and cold. She would find the beetle. It was that simple. She would go to wherever New Caledonia was and bring it home."
    - a custom bookmark inspired by the golden beetle of New Caledonia.
  • Page 57
    "Enid was kneeling on the floor and had a suitcase wide open. Margery's skin went cold. Enid was going through her things. 'What are you doing?' 'Nothing. It's fine.' Clearly this was a lie. It wasn't fine. Though Margery could see now that she'd been wrong. It wasn't her suitcase: it was the red valise Enid had been at such pains to hide. Not only that, but she'd been crying."
    - a red polka-dotted travel bag with suitcase security strap. Inside was an orange luggage tag with a quote from the book.
  • Page 197
    "She was aware that Enid had said something about trying to tune in to the General Overseas Service on her radio - she wanted to catch the king's Christmas broadcast. Then something else happened. One minute, Enid was saying 'I've got it! I've got a signal!' The next moment she yelped, as if the radio had just bitten her. "
    - a bluetooth speaker resembling a vintage stereo.
  • Page 333
    "Inside the envelope, a black-and-white photograph. It showed two women. An entomologist and her assistant. The entomologist stood right in the center, a pretty young woman with a big smile on her face, her hand stretched out to meet the camera. Her face was round, proud, happy, as if she'd found something really exciting that she wanted people to see. Her fair hair was loose and thick; she was dressed in a frock and boots, a pair of binoculars round her neck. Freya fetched the magnifying glass. The young woman had a beetle in her hand. Hard to say from a black-and-white photograph, but it was clearly brightly colored. Maybe even gold. Couldn't be a scarab or a carabid. It wasn't round enough. Surely not a soft-winged flower beetle. No one had ever found one of those. No wonder the woman looked happy."
    - a magnifying glass and a recreation of the black-and-white photograph from the novel.

October Box

Library of Wonder

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    The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
  • Page 34
    "Nora stared at it. She could see it now. The small typeface embossed on the cover. The Book of Regrets. 'Every regret you have ever had, since the day you were born, is recorded in here,' Mrs Elm said, taping her finger on the cover. 'I now give you permission to open it.'"
    - a hollow book safe labeled The Book of Regrets with a small pamphlet inside explaining how to use it.
  • Page 132
    "The bear stood and stared, the way the walrus had. She glanced at the rifle. Yes. But it was too far away. By the time she could grab it and work out how to fire it, it would be too late. She doubted she'd be able to kill the bear anyway. So she banged the ladle."
    - a mint green and rose gold ladle.
  • Page 195
    "'Look at that chessboard we put back in place,' said Mrs Elm, softly. 'Look at how ordered and safe and peaceful it looks now, before a game starts. It's a beautiful thing. But it is boring. It is dead. And yet the moment you make a move on that board, things change. Things begin to get more chaotic. And that chaos builds with every single move you make.'"
    - a custom designed, wooden chessboard set with internal storage for the pieces.
  • Page 266
    "Mrs Elm placed a hand above the desk and hastily rummaged for something. A second later she was handing Nora an orange plastic fountain pen. The kind Nora had owned at school. The one she had noticed ages ago."
    - a custom, orange fountain pen with a quote from the book printed on the side.

September Box

Leaving My Heart in Egypt

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    The Book of Two Ways by Jodi Picoult
  • Page 41
    "I hopped off the ladder I was standing on and rummaged in my bag for my small mirror. 'Aim it here,' I told Harbi, pointing to a spot above my head on the wall. I tweaked the little hand mirror so that a beam of light struck Wyatt directly in the eye."
    - a small, snap-closure, hand mirror.
  • Page 146
    "That day, when I go to visit Win, she has a surprise for me. Sitting across her lap is a piece of framed Egyptian art on papyrus."
    - a wood frame featuring Egyptian artwork
  • Page 319
    "I pad down the hall, holding my breath at the silence. The last thing I want is to hear them together. I let myself into my bedroom and sit down on the bed and see it - a limestone flake on my pillow, with a hieroglyphic message scrawled in Sharpie."
    - a wonderfully soft pillowcase (various colors included) paired with a piece of limestone featuring the same artwork as in the book.

August Box

The Manor of Secrets

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    The Daughters of Foxcote Manor by Eve Chase
  • Page 67
    "I peer inside the sealed glass bell jar that has mysteriously appeared at the nurses' station. Inside, malachite-green ferns. Moss. A rock. White roots wiggle through gravelly soil. What's it called? A terrarium, yes, that's it. Very hip. I'm not sure why it makes me feel unsettled. I rotate the terrarium to admire it from a different angle. And that's when I see it. A minature house, the size of a matchbox, rendered in resin, tucked inside a mossy hollow."
    - a glass terrarium with a cardboard print-out inside resembling the scene from the novel.
  • Page 150
    "I flick through the remaining three cuttings. Just a few photographs of the Forest of Dean. I smooth the largest one with my palm, wanting, like a child, to step into the picture."
    - a newspaper clipping of The Forest of Dean (inside the book).
  • Page 182
    "Feeling bad that I didn't notice Teddy was in trouble, I glance back at Baby Forest. Something looks different. At first I can't work out what. Then I realize she's on the other side of the blanket, no longer scratching at the wicker basket, but on the opposite far edge."
    - a vinyl, fold-up picnic blanket with carrying strap.
  • Page 337
    "A woodpecker. A chisling sound. Beak on bark. Or skull. But Rita can't see the bird. She can't see anything."
    - a QR code sticky note of the sounds of the forest (inside the book).
  • Page 352
    "'If there's one thing I've learned these last few months, Mum, it's that I'm so your daughter. No one else's. Just like Annie's mine. And Poppy is Annie's.' She starts the engine and the car bucks, then starts to growl."
    - a tree of life keychain.

July Box

The Choices We Make

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    The Last Piece by Imogen Clark
  • Page 47
    "She pulled the photograph out. It was upside-down, so she turned it over. The image made her start and she let out a gasp. It was a simple, uncluttered, picture: a single bed covered with a white cotton counterpane and, sitting on that, a box about the size of a shoe box. It was decorated all over with pictures of yellow roses cut from wallpaper, faded now and curling in places near the edges, but otherwise looking well cared for, considering its age. Cecily would have known it anywhere."
    - a custom designed photograph to resemble the photograph Cecily found.
  • Page 97
    "Of course there was coffee. There was always fresh coffee at breakfast, or was that something else he failed to notice these days? She set her face in a smile, however, and cocked her head in the direction of the cafetiere. 'I can get it for you, Daddy,' said Hugo, and before either of them could stop him Hugo had slipped down from his place and was lifting up the full catetiere. 'Put it down, darling. It's hot!' Felicity said shrilly, standing to take it from him, but Hugo, anxious to show how very capable and grown up he was, turned quickly away from her and sent the cafetiere knocking into Richard's leg. The coffee splashed up and over his shirt."
    - a single-serve, glass and metal french press.
  • Page 186
    "As the bus beetled through the narrow streets to pick other passengers up, Cecily found her sunglasses in her bag and put them on. She held a clean tissue to her face but with a gargantuan effort she found that she was able to contain her emotion, not allowing it to overflow and impinge on those around her."
    - a custom printed pack of facial tissues, a custom printed sunglass bag, a cleaning cloth, and pair of black and gold cat eye glasses.
  • Page 304
    "'What on earth are you doing?' she asked as she took in the scene. 'I finished the jigsaw,' he said, his voice triumphant. Cecily saw that there was indeed a complete picture of Monument Valley sitting on her table. Except for one piece of sky. The green baize of the mat shone through where should have been cobalt blue."
    - a custom designed puzzle of Monument Valley exclusive to our box.

June Box

Adventures in Antarctica

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    How the Penguins Saved Veronica by Hazel Prior
  • Page 9
    "My cane steadies me over the uneven turf and sand. I have brough my fuchsia gold-trimmed handbag, which is now floundering tiresomely against my thigh. I should have left it on the hook in the hall, but one never knows when one might require a handkerchief or a painkiller. I have also brought along my litter-picking tongs and a small refuse sack. It is a lifelong habit of mine to pick up litter because of something my dear father once said. It is a small act of remembrance as well as a token gesture to atone for the chaos left behind by the human race."
    - a roll of trash bags and a custom pair of salad tongs to resemble Veronica's litter picking tongs. The tongs were custom engraved with the quote "Life begins at the end of your comfort zone".
  • Page 108
    "I embark on a hunt for my reading glasses. After going through both my ruined scarlet bag and my rather less good but at least unvandalized fuchsia and gold hangbag without success, I delve into my suitcase. I discover the tin of fragrant Darjeeling in its depths but no reading glasses. The tea is some consolation, however."
    - a tin of Harney and Sons darjeeling tea.
  • Page 269
    "Dietrich comes to my room fairly often. He doesn't waste time in small talk or ask how I am. He knows I can't answer. "Mrs. McCreedy," he exclaims in a voice of eagerness, "I am going to read you another chapter from "Great Expectations". I'm sure you're going to like it." He clears his throat and starts without further preamble. "
    - a custom designed journal inspired by the Penguin Classic edition of Great Expectations.
  • Page 321
    "I know I will never see this penguin again, this small, stubby friend who has made a world of difference. He presses his head against my hand in a gesture of affection, as if he knows it, too. I touch my locket as it hangs there under my many layers of clothes, the metal smooth against my skin. It is tightly packed now. In addition to the four strands that were there before, there are two new specimens of human hair, plus a tiny tuft of fluff from a penguin."
    - a silver locket inspired by Veronica's that she mentioned throughout the novel. Inside the glass is two paper cuttings; one with a V for Veronica and one displaying the varying hair/feathers contained inside.

May Box

The Oregon Trail

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    Where the Lost Wander by Amy Harmon
  • Page 25
    "'You have a fine head of hair, John Lowry.' It is what she always says, yet she always wants to cut it off. She begins her work, snipping and clipping, until she sets down her shears, brushes off her apron, and lifts the cloth from my shoulders, shaking it briskly into the yard."
    - a pair of gorgeous gold toned scissors, inspired by the ones Jennie uses to cut John's hair.
  • Page 76
    "Surprise leaps among the light and shadow. His eyes cling to mine for a startled second, and he makes a sound like a laugh - just a puff of breath - but it doesn't turn up his lips or wrinkle his eyes. "You've got my attention, Mrs. Caldwell. But I'm not sure that's what you really want." He sets his coffee down and begins to rise."
    - a custom designed tin coffee mug, painted with a small scene representing the Oregon Trail (hand wash only).
  • Page 130
    "'Her hair was heavy...like a great rope. Or maybe it just seemed that way because I was small. I would stand behind her and put my hands in it, like it was the mane of a pony, and I would pretend to ride. Sometimes she would carry me on her back, but most of the time she would sit, her legs crossed, her hands in her lap, her body bowed forward so I could lean into her and hold onto her hair. More than once she fell asleep that way, nodding away as I pretended to ride. Then I would climb into the nest of her lap and go to sleep too.' When I give him the picture of a nodding Indian girl, a little boy at her back with his hands in her hair, a suggestion of a horse transposed over the top of them, he doesn't say anything, but he swallows, his throat working up and down. He rolls it into a scroll and wraps it with the others I've given him in a piece of cloth soaked in linseed oil and dried to make it resistant to water, and when he looks up to find me watching, he gives me one of his mother's crooked smiles."
    - a custom designed drawing of John and his mother as described in the novel, wrapped in cloth.
  • Page 328
    "They left Wolfe's body behind. It was a gift, a mercy to Naomi, and she is with him now. She washed him and wrapped him in a small woll blanket with a stripe of every color. Washakie gave it to her, and Naomi said it reminded her of her mother's coat, the coat of many colors, like Joseph sold into Egypt."
    - a multi-colored blanket inspired by the description of the blanket in the novel.

April Box

Girl Boss

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    The Herd by Andrea Bartz
  • Page 97
    "I'd forgotten about it altogether until we ran upstairs tonight, my and Mikki's and Katie's feet a stampede on the wooden stairs, and saw Daniel crouched in front of Eleanor's desk, feeding a key into a locked drawer...I flicked the envelope open. Inside was a Post-it stuck to a scrap of computer paper, torn from a corner. Both papers had strings of numbers written on them. 527434340100 on the purple Post-it, 8914512191 on the scrap. They were both in the same handwriting - block numbers, not Eleanor's."
    - an envelope containing the purple post it and the torn piece of paper including the mysterious strings of numbers written on them.
  • Page 120
    "I stepped back and surveyed the bedroom, my chest throbbing, my thoughts a wail: Where are you, Eleanor? In the en suite bathroom, I poked at the makeup bag yawning open on the shelf. Lots of Gleam products - she practiced what she preached."
    - a custom designed makeup bag and set of makeup brushes inspired by the Gleam line of cosmetics.
  • Page 215
    "I crept back into my room and looked around, taking in the details, all the things Eleanor, once a living, breathing, red-blooded girl, had chosen, given places of honor in her bedroom. A Frida Kahlo portrait watched me coolly from above the door. Had Eleanor truly planned to move to Mexico, or was it a harmless fantasy?"
    - a beautiful Frida Kahlo 8x10 portrait we think Eleanor would have loved.
  • Page 283
    "'I'm gonna call a car, okay?' I said, and she stared blankly for a moment before nodding. She didn't move, so I turned toward the door. A few steps later my eyes fell on the craft organizer hanging from her closet door. I saw them all clustered in one pocket, like a deadly bouquet - shiny and sharp, the same tool I'd often seen in her overstuffed backpack on account of all the careful photo cutting she was doing. My chest turned to cold steel, and before I knew what I was doing, I reached out and touched the cap of one, the X-Acto knife's blade glistening below it."
    - a large, thick felt closet organizer perfect for your crafting supplies (or in this case, murder weapons).

March Box

Fire Within Me

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    Wildland by Rebecca Hodge
  • Page 115
    "Scott picked up the tangle of bracelets he had rescued from his cottage and held them for a long moment. He started to say something. Stopped. Malcolm expected some sort of complaint, but when he looked more closely, Scott seemed calmer, the touch of the bracelets perhaps a reminder of how much was at stake."
    - a set of bracelets belonging to Scott's daughter.
  • Page 169
    "Scott took a deep breath, obviously ready to argue further, but he froze. 'Wait, what's that?' He pointed down at the rocks below. 'That red spot.' Lou held the chopper steady. Pete pulled a pair of binoculars from a compartment beside him, held them to his face and squinted through them. 'Looks like a piece of cloth.' Malcolm found it - a tiny fleck of red among the brown, about two-thirds of the way across the swath of tumbled rock. Pete handed teh binoculars back and Scott seized them. He fumbled with the focus knob, taking so long to adjust it that Malcolm was ready to rip them from his hands. Finally, he nodded. 'Red with white flowers. It's Kat's hat.'"
    - a custom designed, red hat with white stitching that reads "Shh I'm Reading" inspired by the design of Kat's hat they spot in the rocks.
  • Page 262
    "Malcolm swallowed his irritation. Scott needed to stay focused; he shouldn't go haring off after nothing. He bit back the comment that rose to his lips. Scott was the one down there; he was the one with eyes on. 'Wait...let me get it...it's canvas.' A pause. 'It's part of Kat's bag!' The energy in Scott's voice came through clearly. 'Are you sure?' Malcolm remembered the bag. Some sort of school name on its side, with an eagle logo. Kat has been there. She and the children must have made it to the pond. 'Are you really sure?' 'Positive.'"
    - a dusky green backpack with the school logo printed on a removable sticker inspired by the bag Scott finds.

February Box

Whispers of Freedom

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    Remembrance by Rita Woods
  • Page 37
    "Margot started. Her grandmother stood in the doorway, a wooden bowl of water in one hand, herbs tied with rough twine in the other. Under the stench of vomit and rot, Margot smelled lavender. They locked eyes, her grandmother's unspoken question writ clear on her broad face. Could he be saved?"
    - a wooden mortar and pestle set with a 'sprig' of lavender similar to the one Grandmere holds in this scene of the novel.
  • Page 101
    "Margot found a hollowed log. It wasn't quite big enough, but it would protect her sister in some small way from the animals and the elements, at least for a while. Gently she tucked pine boughs around her sister's body. Veronique had always like the smell of fresh pine. Then bending, she swapped the lockets Grandmere had given them, hers for Veronique's. They were identical, but she would always know this one belonged to her sister. In the end, she simply walked away - no more words, no more tears - because there was nothing else to do."
    - a gold, oval locket containing a 'lock of hair' reminiscent of that described in the novel.
  • Page 110
    "She rooted around in her pocket until her fingers brushed against the small wooden disk she'd taken from Hercule's shop, all she had left of him."
    - a small wooden disk (to be turned into an ornament for use after the novel).
  • Page 275
    "He placed a cup in her hand, then propped himself on the opposite end of the log. Margot inhaled the steam from the cup. She took a sip and sighed. The sweetness worked its way into her head, clearing her thoughts. David Henry chuckled. 'Apple tea. Good, ain't it?' he said. 'One of Remembrance's specialties.'"
    - a rose gold, vintage looking tea strainer inspired by the one David Henry may have used to make the tea, and recipe for Remembrance Apple Tea.

January Box

Among the Clouds

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    The Last Letter From Juliet by Melanie Hudson
  • Page 24
    "I took off my coat and lay it across the arm of a green velvet chaise lounge, then crossed to the window to close the curtains. A photograph frame sat on the windowsill. The black and white image inside was of a woman standing in front of a bi-plane, squinting slightly against the sun. There was a tag attached to the photo; I read it."
    - a beautiful wooden picture frame featuring the photo as described in the novel along with the small tag.
  • Page 138
    "'Join the ATA.' 'The ATA?' 'Air Transport Auxiliary. They deliver aircraft from the factories to all the air bases - move aircraft arund the country for maintenance, that kind of thing. They're letting a few women in as pilots now - I suppose they've got to, since there simply aren't enough chaps around to meet demand these days.' Janie grabbed her clutch bag, snapped open the fasteners, took out a newspaper clipping and rested it on the table in front of me. 'There you go.'"
    - an adorable faux-suede clutch bag inspired by Janie's bag, and the newspaper clipping.
  • Page 304
    "'That's my jacket,' I said, but she was already strapped in. She began to unstrap. 'No, don't worry. I'll fly in yours, but I need my compass. It's in the right pocket. Sorry, I know it's ridiculous, but I never fly without it.' She reached through her parachute straps and delved into the pocket."
    - a small gold compass engraved with the poem on the back just as described in the novel.
  • Page 391
    "'You're sure you want to go?' Juliet nodded and glanced around the desolate airfield. 'I'm sure.' Sam lifted Juliet into the seat and tucked her up with blankets before I could run after them and beg Juliet to change her mind, the sparkling Yellow Tiger Moth was speeding along the runway, and as I lifted my hand to cover the glare of the midday sun, I saw Juliet waving at me wildly from the front seat, her bright yellow scarf trailing behind her."
    - a gorgeous mustard yellow pashmina scarf with the words "Yellow Tiger Moth" stitched into the tag.
  • Page 395
    "'It's a letter from Juliet,' Sam said, sitting down on the rocks beside me and placing the envelope on my lap. Fenella made swift excuses to leave. 'I got one, too,' he said. 'She dictated them to the night manager at the care home. I read mine this morning.' He handed me the letter with a smile."
    - the letter from Juliet as written in the novel.