Image Description: The background of the cover is a fancy palace with a purple overtone. The foreground focuses on a couple, a man and a woman, and this couple is supposed to represent Naledi and Thabiso. Naledi is wearing a blue and purple patterned dress, she is being held up (by the waist) by Thabiso, who is wearing a gun-metal grey suit and a purple bow-tie.
About The Author:
Alyssa Cole is a science editor, pop culture nerd, and romance junkie who splits her time between fast-paced NYC and island-paced life in the Caribbean. In addition to writing, she has hosted a romance book club and taught romance writing at the Jefferson Market Library in NYC. When she’s not busy writing, travelling, and learning French, she can be found watching cat videos on the Internet with her real-life romance hero.
About The Book:
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 a flirty friendship quickly evolves into passionate nights. But when the truth is revealed, can a princess-in-theory become a princess-ever-after?
~Representation Matters: Let’s be honest here, a white Australian woman is probably not the key demographic for this book, however, I found a lot of relatable stuff in this book. Ledi’s struggles with money were super relatable. The very big divide with regards to income inequality and Wealth Hoarding problems in the United States of America are both very topical at the moment.
The thing is that these are problems that are happening in the UK and Australia as well. The same with the suburban gentrification of CBD areas like New York City. Those problems are happening here too. The problems that women, especially women of colour, have to endure in order to work in the STEM industry were acknowledged and were portrayed in a realistic manner. This book has a lot to offer and shouldn’t be dismissed.
~Character Dynamics: One of the big factors that I really liked about this novel was the wide variety of female characters in the book. I enjoyed reading how they interacted with each other and supported each other in various ways. There are issues between Ledi and Thabiso’s parents, however, those are explored and resolved.
The novel does examine female bonds/friendships a lot and rightfully so. I liked how Ledi really grew as a character. Ledi went from being a person who acted like she didn’t care about other people and what they thought of her. Ledi also struggled with boundaries (too much and not enough).
By the end of the novel, Ledi has acknowledged that friendship works both ways, such as asking for help isn’t a terrible thing, and opening up to people is necessary. I don’t want to spoil things but I really liked how the conflict with Ledi and Portia is resolved how Ledi establishes boundaries for herself and Portia.
I would have liked to have known more about Portia and Regina, apparently, they are getting their own spin-off novellas, which is great. I felt the same way about Thabiso’s assistant Litkosi, who is also getting her own novella. Other romance Writers and Authors should be paying attention to this and taking notes.
~Character VS Plot: The novel is very character driven, it realistically handles Ledi’s unresolved emotional baggage of having dead parents and being an orphan in the United States foster care system. Those are pretty intense topics on their own, however, the author handles them well. The problem with this is that the whole mystery of why Ledi’s parents left Africa in the first place is never really resolved and kind of fizzles out in the end.
All in all, an interesting romance with good humour and an excellent focus on the effect of friendship, happy to recommend.