A Princess in Theory

A Princess in Theory

Paperback - 2018 | First edition.
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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!

Publisher: New York, NY : Avon Books, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, [2018]
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780062685544
Characteristics: 373 pages ; 17 cm.


From Library Staff

List - Romance Isn't Dead
SethE_KCMO Feb 14, 2018

Who doesn't love a Cinderella story? This one takes us to NYC, where grad student Naledi Smith learns she's the fiancee of a prince.

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LoganLib_Sheridan Feb 28, 2021

I loved this book! It was definitely a romance but it didn't have any of those frustrating things that annoy me about romances such as communication issues and stupid reasons to be apart, at least not in a way that annoyed me.

There was some communication issues but these were more circumstantial than by choice. There was also some stupidity in why they couldn't possibly be together but you could tell Naledi's heart wasn't in it so I got through it. Thabiso also did a REALLy good job of being a gentleman... most of the time.

Naledi was amazing: smart, self-sufficient and ambitious. She knew what she wanted and fought for it.

I liked the dynamics of the relationship in this book. It was a relatively small cast of characters and we got to watch Naledi become better at opening up and creating relationships which was wonderful to see.

Race was a big part of this book. There was the intersectionality of racism and sexism in the workplace. There was exploring African culture, and most importantly finding your people which I understand is a big deal for black people in the US who have lost that connection to their culture though slavery.

Jan 20, 2020

This got a starred review in Publisher's Weekly and that was so intriguing I picked up the book. Modern day African Royalty? I previously had no idea that "woke" romance existed, silly me. I've read this series as far as it goes now. Humorous and real world and unapologetically happy. Love the books, love the author, just waiting and waiting for more.

RandomLibrarian Jul 25, 2019

Review excerpt: "I loved a lot about this book. I loved Ledi and how three dimensional her issues were. She doesn’t have a lot of money, so there’s a lot of, “Have I saved up enough to make this tiny splurge okay and safe?” and working working working to make as big a cushion as you can for when things go to hell (and they will always go to hell). Her interactions as a woman and as a woman of color in STEM were very real."


Theory should always be confirmed by experiment, right?

Mar 01, 2019

loved, Loved, LOVED THIS BOOK!! I’ve probably borrowed it on 20+ separate occasions since I first discovered it last year!

Jan 31, 2019

Super fun read! The opening, where Naledi, a graduate student in epidemiology, gets a bunch of emails telling her she's a long-lost African princess, is comedy gold. She and the hero have great chemistry.

The plot gets a little wonky once they get to Wakanda (I mean, Thesolo), but I was invested enough in the characters by that point that I could get over the ridiculousness of the whole situation.

Read my full review here: https://smutreport.com/2018/12/22/review-a-princess-in-theory-by-alyssa-cole/

ArapahoeKati Dec 31, 2018

Take The Princess Diaries, add the flair of Africa (honestly I pictured Wakanda a la Black Panther), a spoiled but sexy wealthy foreign playboy prince, add an awesome woman in a STEM job, those fake email scams everyone gets, shake it up with literal and figurative chemistry, you'd get this romance novel.

SPL_Melanie Nov 06, 2018

Please see the Summary section for a full review of this book

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.

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!

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SPL_Melanie Nov 06, 2018

At this dreary season in the year, brighten up a rainy day with some fresh, sparkling perspectives on romance! All three of these contemporary novels explore what happens when a young, busy working woman finally meets someone special – although in each story, the potential of The Man is certainly not clear at first glance.

In The Proposal, Nikole meets Carlos after she turns down a very public proposal from her short term boyfriend, and they begin a sexy flirtation – but is that all it is? This novel has snappy dialogue, wit, and is quite high on the spicy scale. It’s the second novel by Guillory (her first is The Wedding Date) and in both books, the main character is a determined and successful woman who enjoys her relationships.

A Princess in Theory introduces a new series by Alyssa Cole, Reluctant Royals (book two, A Duke By Default is also in the library now). Naledi, an American grad student, gets a series of spam emails claiming she is the true soulmate of Prince Thabiso of the African country of Thesolo – deleted, of course. Shortly after, she meets and immediately clicks with her new neighbour Jamal. But is Jamal who he says he is? He doesn’t seem familiar with the basics of life, like cooking or taking the subway… This is a clever story featuring a heroine who is a successful, smart scientist. It sets up the next book in the series well, and provides lots of laughs, suspense, and a slightly elevated spicy rating.

Ayesha At Last is inspired by Pride & Prejudice and is set in Scarborough amongst the Muslim community. Its spicy rating is quite low, and the romantic tangle comes more from community expectations and the main characters’ mistaken assumptions about one another. Ayesha meets Khalid at their mosque when she is volunteered once again to take her flighty cousin Hafsa’s place on a committee, and thus is mistaken for Hafsa. But it’s this very cousin who Khalid’s mother is trying to set him up with, leading to confusion all around. Drama, a large cast, and a seasoning of humour result in an entertaining Canadian read.

If you are in the mood to warm up with a good romance, any of these might do. Or ask us for more suggestions, any time!

(as published in the Stratford Beacon Herald Nov 9 2018)


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