Book Review – A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole

YOU GUYS. How did I sleep on this series for so long?? Alyssa Cole makes romances complex and interesting and MY GOODNESS I was so in love with everything about this. There was even some mystery! It was just. This was just so good!

In A Princess in Theory, Naledi Smith is a graduate student in epidemiology who also works full time to make ends meet in New York City. She’s a former foster kid who doesn’t really remember her parents, and this life is all she’s ever known. But what if there was more to it than that? What was her life supposed to be before her parents died in that car accident when she was young?

Thabiso is the crown prince and sole heir to the throne of Thesolo, and he’s been searching for his betrothed for most of his life. He doesn’t have a lot of memories of Naledi, but he does remember feeling like she was his best friend and soulmate. When his assistant, Likotsi, finds Naledi in New York, he immediately pretends to be someone else in order to woo her. Which… doesn’t go according to plan. But Ledi eventually starts to come around, enjoying his company more and more.

But when Ledi finds out who Thabiso really is and that he lied to her, she finds the grievance difficult to forgive and forget. Even when she’s offered the internship of a lifetime, trying to track down the reason so many people in Thesolo are falling ill, she’s not sure she has it in her to pretend to love Thabiso. Will he be able to win back her favor?

a princess in theory

3 Things I Loved

  1. Ledi. I think this is probably the closest I’ve ever found to a grumpy female lead in a romance. Ledi isn’t grumpy, but she’s jaded and determined and P E T T Y and I FEEL IT. She was so relatable, both in her anger and hurt at Thabiso but also in her falling for him anyway.
  2. Thabiso. He’s kind of a dumb dumb, but he means well and his sense of romanticism is off the charts. I don’t blame Ledi at all for being charmed by him.
  3. Likotsi. What a wing woman for Thabiso. She’s practical and efficient but she is always looking out for her boss. I was so excited to hear she has her own novella, yay!

Dislikes/Problematic Content

Nothing to see here! But truly, I can’t think of anything. This was diverse and fun and for a romance about royalty, it’s surprisingly relatable. The dose of mystery was fun, the betrayal that Ledi felt was realistic and heartbreaking, and it was romantic and fun to read. Will continue reading!

I’m going to reiterate though… if you can’t stand entitlement in characters, you’re going to have to hang in there and get through Thabiso at the beginning. He’s a big ol’ dumb dumb who has never done anything for himself, lol.


A reminder of the rating scale:

  • Red = DNF, I hated everything
  • Orange = Ugh, no thank you
  • Yellow = I mean, I’ve read worse, but there were problems
  • Green = This was good! 
  • Blue = Oh my gosh, I loved this book!
  • Purple = This is the unicorn of books and I will be rereading it until the binding falls apart and EVERYONE should be reading it!

Oh my goodness. You know, I’ve read and reviewed a lot of romance on this blog, and this one stands out for several reasons. But one of the main ones is that it’s got multiple plotlines going at once. Like I said in the beginning, it’s super complex. There are a lot of characters, but Cole makes you care about all of them without taking away from the MC and her hero. And I loved that! I’m giving A Princess in Theory a BLUE rating. It’s only not purple because beginning Thabiso is intensely frustrating! Lol.

Happy reading!


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