ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
“One can never read too many fairy tales”
A Princess in Theory was nothing short of an absolute treat to read. I easily fell in love with Alyssa Cole’s writing and her characters. And I completely believe she is a genius with her perfect portrayal of the “far away country prince email spam” trope. This book was funny, heartwarming, important, and completely captivating.
➽ Prince Thabiso – An actual African Prince, and the sole heir to the throne of Thesolo, and his parents (the king and queen) are on him about settling down and starting a family. But he has never been able to forget the girl who he was promised to marry one day, who has been missing for most of his life.
➽ Naledi Smith – Ledi has grown up in foster care, barely remembering her family that passed away, but she has overcome it all and has a very promising life in New York. She is also in grad school studying epidemiology, and working nonstop between the lab, different jobs and studying. (Also, give me all the books with STEM girls, please!)
“I know you’re very busy, Ledi. If you can fit me in, I’d be honored to be one of the many things that take up your time.”
And these two amazing characters come together, once Thabiso finally decides to come to New York to find Ledi, who he hasn’t been able to stop thinking about his entire life. I mean, it’s not like she’s answering his emails in the nicest of manners. And the chemistry between these two? Honestly, it’s off any chart.
Not only is this an amazing romance, it has so many important themes. I said above how much I loved that Ledi was part of the STEM field, but this book also talks about the racism and sexism she has to face every single day for just pursuing her dream. Ledi has to constantly convince the white male supervisor in the lab how she is a “team player” while being forced to pick up other white dudes’ slack. I am not sure I’ve ever read this in any book, God forbid a romance book, and I was honestly living for every second of it.
Ledi also has to experience what it is like to grow up apart from a culture she has never known. And she has to think about the power imbalances of her and Thabiso’s different family backgrounds, different wealth and economic situations, and just the difference in power of him knowing more of the story than she knows. And all of it is done expertly.
And this is an ownvoices novel, because the two characters and most all the side characters are black. Seriously, this book has so much good in the pages. On top of an amazing and swoon worthy romance. Oh, and it’s so damn funny, too. Thabiso experiencing New York for the first time had my sides hurting from giggling. Seriously.
“Why is it so hot down here? What is that strange smell? Are those cats frolicking on the tracks? Dear goddess, they’re rats!”
And the sex scenes in this book were the perfect amount of sexy and fade to black, in my opinion. Also, Alyssa Cole puts consent at the forefront of this story, and proves again that there is nothing sexier than well established consent. Also, my pan self wants to date both Ledi and Thabiso, so praise this author and her magical writing.
Overall, I recommend this with my entire heart and soul. This is so intelligently written, expertly crafted, and this story is honestly romantic perfection. And I know I’ve gushed a lot about Ledi and Thabiso throughout this entire review, but I also fell so damn in love with Portia! Ledi and her friendship was so realistic, and I absolutely cannot wait to start her story immediately in A Duke by Default!
The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.
Trigger and content warnings for loss of a loved one in the past, abandonment, talk of animal death vaguely, and talk of disease epidemics.