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A Princess in Theory

by Alyssa Cole

Series: Reluctant Royals (1)

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3262956,893 (3.76)15
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? Selected as one of the New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2018!… (more)



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» See also 15 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 28 (next | show all)
This was the cutest, best written, most addictive, most grin-inducing romance I’ve read in maybe ever. Maybe long-time readers of Cole’s won’t be surprised by this, but it was my first time and she is good, you guys! I burned through it in just a couple days and immediately added the rest of this series to my TBR.

Her characters are very modern and believable, the sort of people who are flawed in ways you cheer them on as they grow, and they’re incredibly great for each other if only they would see that, come on. Her writing is fun and snappy, with actual in-character descriptions of things and science, and there is a plot outside the romance and a greater world than the orbit of the characters. And she does a good sex scene!

Which is not to say that this isn’t pure fluff with high levels of comedy, because it absolutely is, and the characters feel like characters, not people, but these things are not flaws. They’re kind of what I look for when I pick up a romance? I don’t want a slow burn or having to think too much. There is a bit of a soulmate, love-at-first-sight thing going on, which I don’t care for as a rule, and even that was kind of charming here.

Read if you like: romance novels, people who are functional in public and relatable doofuses in private, Black Panther and Wakanda vibes, Strong Black Women™ who get to be soft.


To bear in mind: Ledi has one of those sexist, racist, entitled male lab mates, and her best friend is perhaps too into party life? These are minor things and neither’s glorified at all. ( )
  NinjaMuse | Jul 26, 2020 |
This was super cute!! Though the second half kinda dragged and certain plot points were extremely predictable it was still a fun read. ( )
  angelgay | Jul 1, 2020 |
*Sobs* DNF @ 31% Not rated.
Alyssa Cole writes smart heroines. I could not believe I was going to see an epidemiologist heroine. I also want to read more romances written by authors of color about people of color. So when this wasn't clicking for me, particularly a cinderella story (probably my favorite of the fairy tale tropes), I was bummed. When I finished two other contemporaries (one great, one meh) a couple historicals, and a sci fi novella since I've started this book, it's just time to call it. Could I come back to it? Maybe...

But something in this book made the pacing weird. I couldn't identify with the hero or heroine. It was funny and sexy, but I think Cole uses far too much exposition in her style for me. And to be perfectly honest, I am not a big fan of the hidden identity. I'm racking my brain for a time it worked ok for me and I just can't find it. (Oh, maybe kinda sorta [b:Neanderthal Seeks Human|17673307|Neanderthal Seeks Human (Knitting in the City, #1)|Penny Reid|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1364347894s/17673307.jpg|24673151])

I just wasn't invested, and wasn't really excited about where this was going with the hidden identity/mistaken identity thing.
  samnreader | Jun 27, 2020 |
This was really cute I enjoyed it ( )
  koffeebooksandjazz | Jun 17, 2020 |
A great contemporary international romance. ( )
  bit-of-a-list-tiger | Jun 16, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 28 (next | show all)
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For all the people who were told they couldn't be princesses: you always were one.
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"I really don't have time for this," Naledi muttered, the soothing hum of various expensive laboratory equipment masking the aggravation in her tone.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Average: (3.76)
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