Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A Princess in Theory (Reluctant Royals, #1)” as Want to Read:
A Princess in Theory (Reluctant Royals, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

A Princess in Theory

(Reluctant Royals #1)

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  14,604 ratings  ·  2,880 reviews
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 ca
Mass Market Paperback, 360 pages
Published February 27th 2018 by Avon
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about A Princess in Theory, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Katelyn It depends on the high school student. There is sexual content--but it's only 3-4 scenes. I'd say it's about on par with most contemporary romance. …moreIt depends on the high school student. There is sexual content--but it's only 3-4 scenes. I'd say it's about on par with most contemporary romance. (less)
Diana La Cazadora From an interview on

"As for creating Thesolo instead of setting the story in a real country: when I first had the idea for A Princess i…more
From an interview on

"As for creating Thesolo instead of setting the story in a real country: when I first had the idea for A Princess in Theory, I was imagining writing a short fun category romance type novel, but heavy on the romantic comedy. The book did not turn out to be short, lol, but I did retain the “fictional country” aspect found in many category romances. In each book, I wanted to make a fictional location that could be in our reality, but serves as an additional layer of fantasy. In A Duke by Default, the second book in the series, the story takes place in Scotland, in a neighborhood that doesn’t exist in reality but plays an important role. Creating fictional countries is fun, and it helps avoid appropriating or misconstruing someone else’s homeland."

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.78  · 
Rating details
 ·  14,604 ratings  ·  2,880 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of A Princess in Theory (Reluctant Royals, #1)
Jan 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book was a lot of fun, sexy, with a compelling story. I really enjoyed the romance as it developed between Ledi and Thabioso, both interesting characters together and as individuals. Lots of erotic tension and a deeply satisfying ending. Definitely dive into this one.
Feb 23, 2018 rated it really liked it

ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

“One can never read too many fairy tales”

A Princess in Theory was nothing short of an absolute treat to read. I easily fell in love with Alyssa Cole’s writing and her characters. And I completely believe she is a genius with her perfect portrayal of the “far away country prince email spam” trope. This book was funny, heartwarming, important, and completely captivating.

Prince Thabiso - An actual Afric
Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell

Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest

💙 I read this for the Unapologetic Romance Readers' New Years 2018 Reading Challenge, for the category of: African American Romance. For more info on this challenge, click here. 💙

As soon as I stopped screaming over the cover for this book, I immediately started screaming over the synopsis. Princess Diaries all grown up, featuring a smart black lady in STEM? Oh, YOU KNOW I was going to be all over that like cute baby goat pics on Tessa Da
Mali Mor ❤️ The Romantic Blogger
2.5 STARS...
📚 “𝗬𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗛𝗶𝗴𝗵𝗻𝗲𝘀𝘀. 𝗪𝗵𝗶𝗹𝗲 𝗜 𝗮𝗱𝗺𝗶𝘁 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗮𝗿𝗲 𝗮 𝗳𝗶𝗻𝗲 𝘀𝗽𝗲𝗰𝗶𝗺𝗲𝗻 𝗼𝗳 𝗮 𝗺𝗮𝗻, 𝗯𝗲𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗮 𝗹𝗲𝘀𝗯𝗶𝗮𝗻 𝗶𝘀 𝗻𝗼𝘁 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗼𝗻𝗹𝘆 𝗽𝗼𝘀𝘀𝗶𝗯𝗹𝗲 𝗿𝗲𝗮𝘀𝗼𝗻 𝗮 𝘄𝗼𝗺𝗮𝗻 𝘄𝗼𝘂𝗹𝗱𝗻’𝘁 𝗿𝗲𝘀𝗽𝗼𝗻𝗱 𝘁𝗼 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗮𝘁𝘁𝗲𝗻𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝘀.” 📚

Naledi Smith (Ledi) is a graduate student from New-York. She grew up in foster homes all her life, after her parents died when - and so she had only herself to trust. 💜
Ledi doesn't know about her background, who were her parents and where she was born - and she's not sure she wants to know either, but she's about to
Cece (ProblemsOfaBookNerd)
Well this was ridiculously fun and a delightful way to spend some reading time. I’m definitely continuing on with the series.
Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)
This was mega cute. It felt a little long at times, but other than that this was a perfect romance. HIGHLY recommend.
May 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites, poc-author
I spent a Saturday listening to the entire audiobook of this soooo I guess I've figured out what kind of romance novels work for me. See me talk about it briefly: ...more
Feb 24, 2020 rated it it was ok
2.5 stars - this wasn’t badly written; it just wasn’t for me. I don’t mind sex scenes in my romance, but I don’t love when the sexual attraction aspect is a part of nearly every interaction or thought about the other person. Also I found the plot outside the romance a bit weak and thrown together. Readers who enjoy more smut than me may enjoy this. The setting also had a Black Panther vibe, helped by the accents used in the audiobook, which I enjoyed.

- mistaken identity
- mysterious pas
Zoe Stewart (Zoe's All Booked)
Apr 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: romance-faves
This was so damn cute! I loved all of the characters just as much as the first time I read it. I JUST LOVE THIS SERIES SO FUCKING MUCH.
Whitney Atkinson
Feb 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.5 Stars

Throughout the first half of this book, I was nervous that I wouldn't like it that much because it started using the trope i dont like of two people being romantically involved while one of them is lying about their identity. Alongside that, the pace of it was a bit slow and I found I relied on the audiobook to get through it.

But then the last half of this book hit, and I read it all in one sitting devouring every word. Although I was nervous this would just be an okay book based on it
So... this is a perfect contemporary romance? I think this balanced all the key elements of a contemporary with perfection-- I loved the characters (Ledi is one of my favorite female romance leads I've ever read), the plot was paced to perfection (moving forward and deepening conflict without being repetitive), the writing was lovely, and the premise was unique & fully explored. Just loved this, a great example of the genre ...more
Geri Reads
Feb 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A Princess in Theory was one of my most anticipated reads for 2018, for good reasons. One. It has a fairy tale like premise: a royal prince looking for his long-lost betrothed who happens to have no idea of who he is and thinks he’s just out to scam her. Two. I’ve seen and read countless of “royal romance” stories in the past year or so featuring princes and princesses from fictional European countries but zero stories from non-Euro fictional kingdoms. A Princess in Theory gives us the fictional ...more
Trina (Between Chapters)
I really liked this! Thanks to everyone who recommended it to me. I can't wait to start the next one.

Audiobook: 4 stars.
Sara (sarawithoutanH)
Jun 18, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019
What I Liked
• The story was so good! I loved this. It felt like an updated version of Coming to America with a little bit of Wakanda thrown in.
• The romance was one of my favorites. One of my biggest pet peeves in romance is when the love interest is underdeveloped, but the dual perspective allowed both Naledi and Thabiso to be fleshed out.
• There was the right amount of sex scenes and details - I usually complain there's not enough but I think this story balanced the smut and storytelling ver
Heather K (dentist in my spare time)
I've been meaning to try this book for some time (I mean, THAT COVER!), and with Book Lovers Con rapidly approaching, I thought it was an apt time to finally purchase this one. And I even got it in paperback to get signed by Ms. Cole herself, natch.

I read this story very, very quickly, which is always an excellent sign for me. It was an easy, entertaining, fluffy read, which is just what I needed at the time. I was li-ving for the secret princess, secret prince vibes, and I got a very strong Th
Jul 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
someone from netflix better get in contact with alyssa cole because this deserves a movie to rival all existing rom-coms
Feb 27, 2018 rated it really liked it

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
I have mixed feelings about this one. It's looking like Alyssa Cole is going to be a hit or miss author for me. I didn't fully enjoy An Extraordinary Union for the same reasons I didn't fully enjoy this one, I think, but I loved A Hope Divided. So I will keep reading her stuff and just know that going in the chemistry between her leads doesn't always work for me. Really, I didn't NOT like this book, it just didn't work the way it was meant to.

So, once again, I find myself in the position of lovi
✨    jami   ✨
Mar 30, 2019 rated it liked it
“Everybody wants something from you, but sometimes there’s a person you want to give to. Sometimes what you give them makes you better for having given it. And it makes having to give to everyone else not so bad.”


look, I'm going to say straight out this isn't a bad book and this is the biggest, its me, not you, moment ever. If you follow my blog you might know I'm using 2019 as the year to read from all the genres I don't read from and try new things. Everyone I know w
Lacey (laceybooklovers)
3.5-4! I loved the first half a lot more than the second half.
Lisa (Remarkablylisa)
Sep 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: september-2020
This book was so close to being a 5/5 star read but I'm going to deduct a half star off because the ending wrapped up way too quickly!! It was disappointing because the author took her time to flush out her characters for the major half of the book but then towards the end when things got juicy, where we finally got to know why her parents fled the country and she moved to America, where we found out what the disease was that had taken over the country, and much more--it all just got wrapped up ...more
K.J. Charles
Good Lord, the cover is magnificent. The premise and opening are fantastic—Ledi’s struggle to keep afloat, the double whammy of being a black woman in STEM, constantly put down or pushed around by men but called mouthy or angry if she stands up for herself, the endless strain of trying to do two jobs and look after a flaky friend and be responsible for everything. It’s really powerful, which made me slightly regret the entire princess turn of events just because it took us away from that storyli ...more
Rebekah Weatherspoon
The updated version of Coming To America we all secretly wanted Black Panther to be.
✨ Gramy ✨
Although profanity, swear words, and taking the Lord's name in vain has become more commonplace, I definitely prefer to avoid filling my world with the unnecessary outpouring of such disrespectful verbiage (garbage). I refuse to allow music with such nonsense in my presence either.

Therefore, including it in my literary adventures is avoided whenever possible. I prefer situations where everyone minds their manners. I feel you should be able to articulate your thoughts, show emotion, pump up ot
Sam (AMNReader)
Mar 04, 2018 marked it as life-is-too-short
*Sobs* DNF @ 31% Not rated.
Alyssa Cole writes smart heroines. I could not believe I was going to see an epidemiologist heroine. I also want to read more romances written by authors of color about people of color. So when this wasn't clicking for me, particularly a cinderella story (probably my favorite of the fairy tale tropes), I was bummed. When I finished two other contemporaries (one great, one meh) a couple historicals, and a sci fi novella since I've started this book, it's just time to ca
Feb 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’m in class writing this review- priorities! 😂 Anywho; I’ve been reading this on the ebook on my phone for the past 1-3 days and it has been a great break amidst stressful school stuff
This was SO entertaining and there were a lot of elements that really just made me smile.
First off- My goodness, I found the emails HILARIOUS. Because we all know how spam emails go and know that anyone who received the emails that our main character receives would just roll their eyes and think, “who would fall f
Naledi Smith, former foster child and current epidemiology student in New York, keeps getting scammer emails from a small African country insisting that she is the long-lost fiancee of the crown prince (apparently they were betrothed when she was 4). Her response? Delete, delete, delete.

Meanwhile, when Prince Thabiso of Wakanda Thesolo, a socialist-democratic monarchy paradise tucked high in the mountains of Southern Africa, is called to New York on business, he sees the opportunity get a pe
What a fantastic book! Cole's premise is pretty out there and silly: a young woman in the US is getting those "you are betrothed to an African prince and only need to send us your credit card details to seal the deal" emails and they turn out to be actually true! But she totally makes it work, especially with the careful characterization of Ledi, a hard-working woman with some serious walls up after growing up an orphan. She also masterfully weaves in consent, safe sex, microaggressions black wo ...more
destiny ♡ howling libraries
This was so cute and sweet, and I'm very happy I gave it another chance, as it seems like it was definitely just my reading slump getting in the way last time. I can't wait to continue the series! ...more
Miranda Kenneally
Apr 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is like Coming to America meets all the science and girl power of Black Panther.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • A Decade of Desire: Erotic Tales from the Charlie Doyle Diaries
  • Love on the Line 2 (Women at Work, #2)
  • The Princess Trap
  • Act Your Age, Eve Brown (The Brown Sisters, #3)
  • Take a Hint, Dani Brown (The Brown Sisters, #2)
  • Forbidden (Old West, #1)
  • The Boyfriend Project (The Boyfriend Project, #1)
  • The Right Swipe (Modern Love, #1)
  • Xeni (Loose Ends #2)
  • Girl Gone Viral (Modern Love, #2)
  • A Girl Like Her (Ravenswood, #1)
  • Love Auction: Too Risky to Love Again
  • The Dating Playbook (The Boyfriend Project, #2)
  • Spoiler Alert (Spoiler Alert, #1)
  • Get a Life, Chloe Brown (The Brown Sisters, #1)
  • The Duke Who Didn't (Wedgeford Trials, #1)
  • First Comes Like (Modern Love, #3)
  • That Kind of Guy (Ravenswood, #3)
See similar books…
See top shelves…
Alyssa Cole is an award-winning author of historical, contemporary, and sci-fi romance. Her Civil War-set espionage romance An Extraordinary Union was the RT Reviewers’ Choice Award’s Best Book of 2017 and the American Library Association’s RUSA Best Romance for 2018, and A Princess in Theory was one of the New York Times’ 100 Notable Books of 2018. She’s contributed to publications including Bust ...more

Other books in the series

Reluctant Royals (3 books)
  • A Duke by Default (Reluctant Royals, #2)
  • A Prince on Paper (Reluctant Royals, #3)

Articles featuring this book

In Alyssa Cole’s unnerving social thriller When No One is Watching, Sydney Green returns to Brooklyn after a traumatic breakup to find...
63 likes · 8 comments
“Apparently, oh-sure-I’ll-do-that Ledi had been incinerated by the flames of her frustration and I-wish-a-motherfucker-would Ledi had risen from the ashes.” 7 likes
“people who called instead of texting were a plague on humanity—” 6 likes
More quotes…