Continuing with The Alphabet Challenge Variation (read 18 books where the title/author name begins with the letter A, then B, C, etc. through R).
Letter “C” for Alyssa Cole
As our April selection, my book group decided to read Alyssa Cole’s A Princess in Theory, published in 2018. So, that fit perfectly within the parameters of this challenge.
I was very interested in reading this book since I heard the author speak at an event, and the AAR reviewer gave the story a solid “A”. Since it was reviewed here – see the following link, https://allaboutromance.com/book-review/a-princess-in-theory-by-alyssa-cole/ — I don’t think I need to go into too much detail in describing the story’s set-up. The plot bears some similarity to the movie Coming to America starring Eddie Murphy, and I’m sure having the book released at the same time the blockbuster, Black Panther, is also in theaters has got to be fortuitous!
The story involves a New York City graduate student in epidemiology who was orphaned as a child and can’t remember much about her past. Naledi’s been mostly making it on her own with only her best friend, a waitressing gig, and a research internship as her support system. Little does she know, a country in Africa has been long seeking her whereabouts, as she is the long lost betrothed of the country’s prince. Once Prince Thabiso and his assistant track Naledi down, they try and suss her out without telling her who they are. The first part of the book involves them trying to figure out what she knows, while Naledi grows increasingly intrigued by this stranger who doesn’t quite fit into the starving student lifestyle. As the pair get closer, the question becomes when will Thabiso tell Naledi the truth and will she agree to return to her native country, Thesolo.
I would have to say that I mostly agree with the “A” rating. This book is pretty solid. I thought Naledi was a great heroine and loved that she was a woman of color in a STEM field. The author does a credible job making Naledi believable – so much so, I checked out Cole’s bio to see if she also has a background in science. (She was a science editor, apparently.) I enjoyed many of the supporting characters and – for once – wouldn’t mind reading a sequel or two focusing on them – especially since a few loose ends in the story are left unexplained. So, I’d be interested in seeing if they are answered in follow-up books. The only downside was that I thought the conclusion was a bit rushed, with some key confrontations accomplished “off stage.” I also felt the villain was a bit obvious, making the latter part of story not as strong as the beginning. I would give this book an A-/A. And, I’m definitely looking forward to the next one in the series.
The Alphabet Challenge Variation – 9 down, 9 to go (R, D, L, J, A, G, N, B, C …)