From acclaimed author Alyssa Cole comes the tale of a city Cinderella and her Prince Charming in disguise . . .
Between grad school and multiple jobs, Naledi Smith doesn’t have time for fairy tales…or patience for the constant e-mails claiming she’s betrothed to an African prince. Sure. Right. Delete! As a former foster kid, she’s learned that the only things she can depend on are herself and the scientific method, and a silly e-mail won’t convince her otherwise.
Prince Thabiso is the sole heir to the throne of Thesolo, shouldering the hopes of his parents and his people. At the top of their list? His marriage. Ever dutiful, he tracks down his missing betrothed. When Naledi mistakes the prince for a pauper, Thabiso can’t resist the chance to experience life—and love—without the burden of his crown.
The chemistry between them is instant and irresistible, and flirty friendship quickly evolves into passionate nights. But when the truth is revealed, can a princess in theory become a princess ever after?
A Princess in Theory was one of my most anticipated reads for 2018, for good reasons. One. It has a fairy tale like premise: a royal prince looking for his long-lost betrothed who happens to have no idea of who he is and thinks he’s just out to scam her.
Two. I’ve seen and read countless of “royal romance” stories in the past year or so featuring princes and princesses from fictional European countries but zero stories from non-Euro fictional kingdoms. A Princess in Theory gives us the fictional African kingdom of Thesolo. And let me tell you right now, after reading the book, I am so ready to book a one-way ticket to Thesolo. Three. The book features a STEM heroine and a prince. I mean, come on. That’s like peak OTP for me.
So yes, I have high expectations for this book and fortunately, all of it were not just met, but were exceeded by this book. Alyssa Cole created a very colorful and exciting world filled with complex and interesting characters.
“She was fine on her own. She always had been. And if no good guy ever made it past her barriers? Well, that’d be fine, too. Just fine.”
Naledi is right up there as being one of my favorite heroines ever. She’s smart, driven, and a little bit broken. She hides her emotions behind a tough exterior but she’s all gooey on the inside. Her backstory was heartbreaking and explains why she keeps everyone at arm’s length. Prince Thabiso’s arrival challenges Ledi’s boundaries and forces her to change in so many ways. I love where the author took this character. The emotional character journey Ledi went through was so amazing and so worth it.
Ledi isn’t the only thing that made me love this book though. Everyone, meet the Crown Prince of Thesolo, Prince Thabiso.
“But instead of a peeved researcher standing in the doorway, there was the finest man Ledi had ever seen outside of a social media thirst trap pic.”
Sorry. I didn’t mean to show my thirst like that but oh-em-gee, Jamal aka Prince Thabiso was amazing. And I don’t just say that because he’s hot and he’s a prince. Like Ledi, he went through his own emotional journey.
Thabiso is a prince—the Prince. He’s loyal and he loves his people, but he was also arrogant, privileged and can be dismissive of other people’s feelings. He grew up surrounded by people who’re there to accommodate his whims and desires. He was in for a rude awakening with Ledi though because here was a woman who he thought would fall over herself because he’s a prince. Instead he found someone who not only didn’t know who he is but mistakes him for a hired help.
I loved how he changed from this arrogant prince to someone worthy of Ledi’s love and affection. Their romance just builds off of that initial meeting and went to some really interesting places.
“Her mouth curved up into a smile and something in his chest moved out of alignment. He loved seeing her smile. He loved being the cause of it.”
The romance between Ledi and Thabiso wasn’t all rainbows and roses. Ledi has her own issues while Thabiso wasn’t really being honest. And I admit I was nervous because there’s a chance that Thabiso’s deception would be swept under a rug just because he’s the hero of the story and that the reader and the heroine are supposed to forgive him immediately. Rest assured, Ledi did not make it easy for him. And I liked that so much. Thabiso had to work for her forgiveness and nothing warms my heart more than a hero that grovels.
“Fuckboyism is a fairly common disease in men aged eighteen to thirty-five.”
“What’s the cure?” he asked.
“You’ll have to ask your doctor about that. But I can tell you right now that it’s not me.”
And oh, did I mention that this book was funny? Not slapstick funny but understated-but-still-makes-you-laugh-out-loud funny. Ledi’s Ledisms are hilarious and Thabiso’s stint as a lowly waiter had me rolling.
I also loved the secondary cast of characters from Thabiso’s parents to Ledi’s family and friends. Speaking of friends, Portia, Ledi’s best friend was very interesting. There were moments where I really didn’t like what she did, but I couldn’t help but root for her to find redemption. Her story is next and I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am to read it.
A Princess in Theory is a breath of fresh air. If you’re looking for a swoon-worthy read, I highly recommend this. This book made laugh and gave me characters I could relate and really root for. I finished this book with a huge smile on my face. I was soooo good, you guys! I highly recommend it.
And Alyssa Cole, take a bow, because A Princess in Theory is one of those books that readers will be recommending and talking about in the weeks to come.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m just gonna run out and one-click more Alyssa Cole books. Kthnxbye.
An ARC was provided by Avon Books for review purposes.