A Princess in Theory

A Princess in Theory

Book - 2018
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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.
Publisher: New York, NY : Avon Books, [2018]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2018
ISBN: 9780062685544
Characteristics: 373 pages ; 17 cm


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Oct 17, 2018

Naledi Smith is an epidemiology grad student who’s being targeted by email scammers trying to convince her she’s a long-lost princess betrothed to an African prince. Thabiso is that African prince, who’s unaware that his assistant has located his long-lost betrothed and has been emailing her and getting nothing but rudeness back. When he finds out Ledi is alive, he heads to America to get her back… and does a terrible job of it. Seriously, this dude is great at prince-ing but not so great at anything else. Sparks very much exist between them, though, and lo, there’s also an unexplainable illness in Thabiso’s country which an epidemiologist might be able to help with…

All of which sounds fluffy and tropetastic and hilarious, which is sometimes is, but there’s also so much complexity and emotion here. Ledi is a black woman in STEM and the book doesn’t shy away from showing exactly how that can play out with racist and sexist colleagues. Her life as a former foster kid is not easy even though she works her ass off, and being babysitter / emotional anchor for her best friend Portia doesn’t help. Thabiso’s screwups in getting to know her cause real pain, and forgiveness isn’t quick or easy. At least once during the book, when Ledi finds the family she’d thought lost (vague to avoid spoilers), I literally cried for her.

I was so pleased with this STEM gal and her HEA, and I can’t wait to read the next book in this series.


I’d like to highlight my favorite passage in the book, because it’s one of the most queer-friendly bits of a non-queer romance that I’ve ever read:

“That beard made her fingers itch to stroke it, or to grab her smartphone and photograph it for posterity… she’d rack up a million liked within the day, for sure, if not some kind of award for heroism on behalf of male-attracted humanity.”

"Male-attracted humanity." YES! In a typical non-queer romance, this would say "women." I’ve seen that kind of thing a bazillion times. The problem is that saying “women” ignores - and this is just my starting list - lesbians, ace women, and non-binary folks and men who are attracted to men. "Male-attracted humanity" is a phrase that recognizes those people exist, describing the world as it is, rather than with heterosexist blinders on. It’s a jolt of inclusion instead of exclusion.

BostonPL_VeronicaKM Jul 21, 2018

That gorgeous cover won't lead you astray -- this super cute read deserves to be handed to every contemporary romance fan! If the thought of a stand-in for T'Challa from Black Panther coming to NYC to claim his long-lost lady scientist bride and getting a big dose of "this is how NORMAL PEOPLE live, experience the MTA for the first time in all its swampy rat-infested glory!" brings a smile to your face, this book is for you.

May 08, 2018

So much fun to read a modern-day royalty romance! Can't wait for the next one in this series. Alyssa Cole has created a smart, funny heroine who (reluctantly) finds her sweet prince. HEA!

LPL_KimberlyL Apr 18, 2018

A sweet and charming romance of a modern-day Cinderella. Alyssa Cole masterfully plays off of the "Nigerian prince" email scammer stereotype, and creates the swoon-worthy Prince of Thesolo. The princess in this story, Ledi, is a super cool lady scientist who remains true to herself, no matter what. This is a lovely romance novel, and one you should pick up ASAP. (Also, that cover! OMG!)

JessicaGma Apr 10, 2018

I enjoyed this so much, and it wasn't too hard to imagine Thabiso as another famous fictional African prince*BLACK PANTHER*. I also loved how Ledi is a student in epidemiology which is fab. It's a fun riff on the "Nigerian Prince" scam, but also a neat way to get Ledi back home. Alyssa Cole is a wonderful author.

Chapel_Hill_MaiaJ Mar 13, 2018

I'm not typically a reader of romances (tending to enjoy fantasy more), but I saw the cover and my interest was piqued, so I read the back cover and was totally sold! Then I read the dedication and pretty much felt like I'd found my novel soul-mate. She says, "For all the people who were told they couldn't be princesses, you always were one." OMG. My heart.

It's like a feminist Cinderella story with an African-American scientist who has no time to be messing around with relationships and an African prince who wants the chance to be seen and accepted for himself, not just for his title. They both grow and change throughout the story to become ever better versions of themselves, and their relationship feels real and satisfying as a result. Of course, it's still a fairy tale, no matter how modern, so there are many wonderful cheesy bits that left me grinning ear to ear. There were plenty of passages that made me giggle out loud, and some that I just HAD to read out loud to whomever happened to be nearby--usually my husband, he's such a good sport. But even he, as apathetic about princesses as he is, thought the dialogue between Naledi and Thabiso about women's issues was intriguing and well done. I am so looking forward to the next Reluctant Royals installment!

LPL_MeredithW Jan 13, 2018

This book is endlessly charming, with an intensely likeable pair of leads. I wish there had been about 50% fewer science metaphors to describe the process of getting close to someone (I get it, she's a scientist!) but that's such a small complaint in a genuinely funny, sweet, romantic book. And just look at how gorgeous that cover is! Another great read from Alyssa Cole.


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