Author: Alyssa Cole
American release date: February 27, 2018
Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Contemporary Romance/384 pages
Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★
Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes
Naledi has received scam emails before, but this one takes the cake! Someone claiming to be his assistant thinks it’s funny to tell Naledi she is the betrothed of an African prince and to please send her personal information in order to verify her identity. As if! Orphaned at a young age, Naledi (Ledi to her friends) has had to become a strong and independent woman. Life is hard enough, what with her post-graduate studies in epidemiology, and staying afloat by waiting tables at the university, without someone trying to sell her false dreams! Add to that a supervisor who keeps throwing off all of his grunt work onto her, instead of anyone else or even himself, and a best friend who at her best is unreliable and at her worst can be a drunken critical mess.
Thabiso is the prince of the African nation of Thesolo. It’s bad enough that people in his country are suffering from a mysterious illness that he is helpless to do anything about, but there is a major corporation seeking to make inroads into his nation, and Thabiso isn’t sure what they want will be in Thesolo’s best interests. But people of high rank are clamoring for him to sign off on this deal, and he feels pressured to do so. If that’s not enough, he’s had his assistant, Likotsi, search for his long-lost betrothed, a girl he knew in their childhood when they became engaged, but whose parents whisked her away so that she disappeared from his life. The good news is that Likotsi has found her, living under another name in New York City. The bad news is she is not responding to Likotski’s emails. What is a prince to do but go to New York himself to bring her back?
Thabiso shows up at Ledi’s place of work, intending to let her know who he is and that she needs to come back with him, but when she unexpectedly mistakes him for the new server, he sees an opportunity for her to get to know him for himself, not as a prince. So he doesn’t correct her, answers to the name Jamal, and takes the other man’s place. Who knew working in a restaurant could be so difficult, or that a royal prince could be so inept?
He can only stay so long in the States before he must return to Thesolo and deal with things there, including his parents, who are clamoring for him to get married and are unaware of his hunt for his betrothed. He’s determined more than ever, now that he has found her again, that Ledi shall be his bride. But will he have enough time to win her heart, so that she loves him for who he is? Somewhere along the line, as Likotsi reminds him, he has to tell her the truth about himself, or all will be for naught.
Ledi finds Jamal to be very sexy, if somewhat inadequate to his job. But she patiently shows him what to do, and she finds herself growing more and more attracted to him. She tells herself she has no time for men like him, her life is already complicated enough. But the more she sees him, the more he worms his way into her heart. No good will come of this, she knows, as she waits for the other shoe to drop… and drop it does, blowing her mind and threatening to destroy her world. Not to mention, most importantly, he has lied to her. She’d rather stay safe and alone in her sterile academic world than risk her heart… wouldn’t she?
A Princess in Theory is the first book in Alyssa Cole’s Reluctant Royals series. It was recommended to me by my daughter, and I fell in love with it right away. Ledi hasn’t had an easy life, but she takes what comes and doesn’t complain. She is a very strong, very likeable heroine. I rooted for her from the beginning.
On the other hand, Thabiso is a handsome and sexy but somewhat sheltered, entitled prince, who doesn’t really understand a lot about what the real world is like until he meets Ledi. His original idea is to get her to go back to Thesolo with him, to do her duty and finish what was begun so many years before. But he quickly discovers that won’t be as easy as he expected, since he is lying about who he is. Every day he falls for her more and more, and we watch him grow as a person and as a man as he tries to figure out how to handle the situation he finds himself in. You can’t help but hope he succeeds, and that these two will receive the fairy tale ending all princes and princesses deserve.
I love Alyssa Cole’s writing, she draws memorable characters and situations, and this story is both romantic and sensual. I know there are at least two more books in this series and I look forward to reading them. If you enjoy a good romance with an ending to die for, give this book a try. You won’t be sorry you did.