A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole | Review


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Rating: ★★★★☆

Release Date: February 27th, 2018

Pages: 384

Publisher: Avon

Goodreads blurb:

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?


A Princess in Theory was a book I knew I would love. When I heard of it I was basically anxiously waiting for it to come out in order to read it. I read it in one day completely and it was amazing. It was honestly one of the best romance books I have read. It was swoon worthy, it had education, it had steamy scenes and it had diversity. It was also incredibly well written and I think that covers everything a good book needs honestly. It was one of those books that lived up to the hype I created for it and that is a hard thing to do – I think the only books that live up to the level of hype I had on A Princess in Theory are Cassandra Clare books.

A Princess in Theory is told in two perspectives. There is Naledi Smith who is studying in grad school and keeps everyone at an arms length due to her orphan past. Then there is Thabiso who is the heir of the throne in Thesolo, an African country. They are two different people in two different worlds, Ledi however doesn’t know that she was betrothed to Thabiso when she was a toddler. This all fell through because her parents took her to America and later died in a car accident. The story is the classic royal story where Thabiso pretends to be someone else in order to get close to Ledi and know her. There is a lot of drama and there is a lot of sweet moments. The drama goes on for a while and the large problem which is happening in Thesolo is solved so quickly that I was shocked. This book had a beautiful inclusion of culture and community though and was overall, just amazing to read.

Anyway, lets jump into my likes and dislikes before I spoil too much of the plot, oops.



This is the big thing. This story is swoon worthy as heck. It was incredible. A lot of romances don’t feel too swoon worthy to me, unfortunately, but A Princess in Theory ticked all my boxes. It was sweet, but obviously had some issues such as communication and did have clichés but I am such a sucker for royalty stories. It’s a little problem since I don’t read a lot (which I need to find more of).


This is a quick point. The MC’s aren’t only smart, they’re sex smart. I really appreciate when books promote smart sex and are just overall are intelligent. I know some people learn things from romance books and I don’t know, it was just good to see there be mention of condoms and have the MC pee after sex.


Friendships are messy in real life. You have moments where you drift apart and you have moments where you hate the. You have moments where you’re jealous. I think maybe this book struggled with showing this sometimes and presenting a strong front for Ledi (whereas Thabiso has a great friend/advisor). I did completely get the point, considering it also showed addiction and is leading into book two. It was a very interesting dynamic to watch play out in A Princess in Theory.


The thing with some of the books that feature royalty is that they’re not always that involved with their country. They’re typically a partier or just more a figurehead on the throne. I found Thabiso different to this typical stereotype. He really cared for his country and was distressed by the problems that were occurring. There was the fact he was a playboy, but honestly this didn’t translate through any of his actions so I was a little shocked every time it was brought up – because it was really easy to forget. Thabiso wants to do his best to fix the problem in Thesolo. He cares for his people and the sense of community in this book was really beautiful, I thought.


I haven’t read a lot of royal books, I think A Princess in Theory marks my fourth, but I have noticed the trend of the royals being from a country in Europe. There is usually no difference in this and it was really great to see something different in this book. I feel with Black Panther doing so well in box offices people are searching for a POC royalty book that shows that Africa isn’t just a struggling country, that there is more. I really feel like this book has come at the right time and I sincerely hope it does well and gets really high reviews, because it is amazing and the writing is incredibly.

Not only this though, it was really enjoyable to see the culture throughout the book through Thabiso. Ledi is unknowing to the customs of her people, having grown up in America and been unaware of what her life could have been. So seeing the customs of Thesolo introduced to her was really interesting and heart warming. I obviously can’t say if these things were done well, but I really enjoyed the way they were written and am interested in doing my own research on African customs.



Now, I have a few big problems which kept A Princess in Theory from being a five star read unfortunately. The main part was the ending happened so fast. I feel an epilogue or an extra chapter would have really helped the book feel like a more complete finish, but I was simply left feeling shocked and unsure if my Kindle had sneakily deleted some chapters. I also just wanted more. I feel like this book could have been an extra fifty pages and I wouldn’t have been mad at all. I really wanted more of Ledi and Thabiso too, hopefully in the second book we get that.


Okay, look. There was kind of a mystery element in the book but it was so damn easy to work out. Hints are dropped throughout the entire book and I was really a bit disappointed when it was revealed. I was happy to have been correct, but, man, was it way too easy. I wanted it to be someone I wasn’t expecting but it seems I wanted too much. A friend who also read the book said she guessed who was behind the mystery as well. So I don’t think it’s just me who thinks this was too easy to solve.


Thabiso was the worst at this. Like, man, just talk, bloody hell. I wanted to slam him up the head at how many chances he had to tell Ledi who he was and he didn’t. I wasn’t mad about the romance cliché that occurred after but I was just mad at Thabiso not sharing who he was with Ledi. It was honestly really infuriating considering the fact we got to read both their perspectives.

Overall, A Princess in Theory lived up to the hype I had placed on it. It was shocking and oh so nice to read about. I am looking forward to the second book in the series – it honestly sounds really interesting! I highly recommend this to, like, everyone!

Happy reading everyone!

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5 thoughts on “A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole | Review

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