Though I am now apart of the Once Upon a Book Club experience, I wasn’t apart of it when their August 2016 box came out and I’m so excited to share the contents of this beautiful and historical box with you (now that I’ve finally had a chance to read it!)
Experiencing a Once Upon a Book Club box that I didn’t have any contributions to was an incredibly fun experience. This was the company’s second box ever and I’ve had it sitting on my bookshelf since August of 2016 when it was first delivered.
Now a side note, I actually reached out to Michelle after these had shipped hoping that she had an extra she would be able to sell me. She sent me her LAST box – so last in fact that it was missing the first gift (as she ran out!), but honestly I didn’t mind at all. I was just so excited to have this box in my possession!
The book this month was The Gilded Years which was an absolutely lovely historical fiction piece about Anita Hemmings, the first African-American woman to attend Vassar College and how she hid her true identity. For my full review of this title, you can see that here!
This was the 2nd box ever for Once Upon a Book Club so I completely understand that they were still getting the hang of selecting gifts that were both an experience and also practical/useful after the book as over. As they’ve grown they’ve definitely gotten better at including gifts that are able to be used around the house/in everyday life.
The first gift I received on page 149 might be one of my all-time favorite gifts I’ve ever received from Once Upon a Book Club. This beautiful comb and mirror set looks like it was pulled right from the 1890s and placed in the box. I was SO happy with this gorgeous duo – I almost don’t want to use it!
The next item from page 224 was a telegram to Porter, a love interest in the story. This was honestly pulled right from the pages and was a perfect, heart-wrenching moment held in the palm of my hand.
Third from page 315 was a rolled piece of paper, but upon closer inspection it turned out to be an actual article that had run in the 1890s about Anita. These are the kinds of items I absolutely LOVE in Once Upon a Book Club as these bring the story to life – I’m literally holding a piece of history when I find gifts like this – I’m so thrilled that Once Upon a Book Club was able to find this newspaper article!
Finally, the last gift from page 373 (which was actually the Author’s Note) was actually a red iPad case (which is making me wish I had an iPad so I could use it!) but what was the real treasure was what was inside this envelope – an array of historical pieces. As the author discussed in the note, she found a stack of old Vassar magazines and found Anita on the cover of one. A mini version of that magazine was found in the case in addition to a few photos mentioned throughout the story to help bring the whole story to life.
This box may not have included many practical items (counting the hat, mirror/comb set, and the iPad case, 3) it was split down the middle with historical items (telegram, article, and photos/mini magazine). I personally LOVE this ratio. The practical items give you something from the story to weave into your everyday life where the historical items give you a feeling of discovering more than what was written – you’re holding a piece of that character in your hands.
This was a phenomenal book selection and an absolutely wonderful collection of gifts put together by Once Upon a Book Club. I’m so excited for all that is done in the future!