Series: Reluctant Royals #1
Publisher : Avon | Harpercollins
Genre : Adult | Romance
Page Count: 360
Synopsis : 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? (From Goodreads)
CW: Explicit sexual content, gravely ill relatives, hospital.
I’ve been procrastinating this review in the hopes that I’d wake up one day feeling eloquent enough to do it justice, but ALAS, every day, it’s same old trash me, so it’ll have to do and I’ll try my best to convey how much I freaking adored A Princess in Theory. I tried pacing myself while reading but although I did at first, I ended up reading the second half in one sitting and cursing myself for it.
Listen, Alyssa Cole is one damn brilliant romance writer, her style is so refined but also simple and straight to the point and I don’t know WHAT kind of magic that is but it 100% worked for me and in just one book, she’s become one of my favourite romance authors. The way she writes effortlessly gave A Princess in Theory a fairytale quality that gave me heart eyes and made me daydream about the book. It’s written in two perspectives, Naledi’s and Thabiso’s and they couldn’t be ANY more different, which made this book so entertaining to read.
One the one side we have Naledi, a New Yorker who grew up in the foster system and believes more than anything that she is forgettable and people don’t love her enough to stick around for long. Which also means that she doesn’t let people in and keeps people at arms’ length to avoid the hurt of them ultimately leaving her. She’s in STEM!!! WE HAVE A STEM HEROINE!!! IT MADE MY HEART SING! She’s a grad student in epidemiology which is basically the science of how diseases spread, affect communities and how to prevent them. And very much ambitious, driven and passionate about what she does. She’s also strong headed, honest and fiercely independant (more out of necessity if you ask me).
Then there is Thabiso, the very charming prince who’s out to steal Naledi’s heart. At first, he comes off as arrogant and entitled but then you quickly realized that he’s just an awkward fool who needed a couple seconds to adjust to not being treated as a prince like he was back home. In truth, he’s a soft hearted, hopelessly romantic teddy bear who’s never embarassed to lay out his feelings for Naledi without ever expecting her to say anything in return. Mind you, he does mess up and make very questionable decisions, especially in the first half of the book, but he redeems himself and gives Naledi her space while still making sure she knows he’s waiting for her. And asking for her explicit consent, for everything, every step of the way. I also loved when he let go of all his responsibilities and was playful and silly.
These two’s first meeting was a DISASTER, and I laughed to tears while reading it, Thabiso offends Naledi, then she dislikes him for all of two minutes before he charms his way back into her good graces. Their romance is so sweet and their chemistry almost palpable, I never doubted for once second that these two were made for each other. The way they were around each other was just so… easy, and little by little, Ledi realized that opening herself up isn’t so bad and that there are people who love her and are willing to stick by her if only she’d let them. I also loved the way she’s discovered her heritage and opened her arms to it and accepted it with a sense of belonging.
Both main character have best friends. Naledi’s is Portia (who book two, A Duke by Default, follows) and she’s a mess, we see a bit of her and her character development through the book, how she grows more self aware and aware of the way she can be reckless and hurt the people around her sometimes and I can’t wait to read more about her. Thabiso’s is Likotsi who also happens to be his assistant who calls him out on his bullshit and questionnable decisions, she’s straight forward, sassy and funny and I absolutely adored her and cannot wait to read her sapphic story.
One of my favourite parts of A Princess in Theory was the second half that’s set in a fictional African country that’s supposed to be neighboring Nigeria, and I adored the fact that it wasn’t just a Western-set romance for once.
That’s it until next time.
Did you read A Princess in Theory? If so, what did you think?
Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.