2020 was the year I was thriving with romance books and I managed to become obsessed with Alyssa Cole. Talk about the best feeling in the world – when you discover a new favorite author. I’ve been trying to read all of the backlist books, WHILE keeping on track of the new releases. Keep reading this book review to find out why I love Alyssa Cole!
When Shanti Mohapi weds the king of Njaza, her dream of becoming a queen finally comes true. But it’s nothing like she imagined. Shanti and her husband may share an immediate and powerful attraction, but her subjects see her as an outsider, and everything she was taught about being the perfect wife goes disastrously wrong.
A king must rule with an iron fist, and newly crowned King Sanyu was born perfectly fitted for the gauntlet, even if he wishes he weren’t. He agrees to take a wife as is required of him, though he doesn’t expect to actually fall in love. Even more vexing? His beguiling new queen seems to have the answers to his country’s problems—except no one will listen to her.
By day, they lead separate lives. By night, she wears the crown, and he bows to her demands in matters of politics and passion. When turmoil erupts in their kingdom and their marriage, Shanti goes on the run, and Sanyu must learn whether he has what it takes both to lead his people and to catch his queen.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
Arranged marriage? Meets a woman determined to be a Queen to make change? I was hooked. Shanti has to be one of my favorite heroines from Cole’s books! She’s determined to make a difference and immersed in a world of traditions and sexism. Haven’t you ever wanted, so badly, to make your mark in the world? To change it for the better and believe in the possibility of change? I was rooting for her from the very beginning especially as she fights a system that is mired in traditions for tradition sake.
There’s nothing wrong with traditions. But when you let them hold you back from change, from progress, that becomes a problem. You have to figure out a way to honor the past, while moving into the future. How to Catch a Queen is even more than that. Cole manages to deliver not only a steamy romance, but also a story that examines the ways history and stories change. The ways they are written by the victors and can hide secrets and power. The are flexible beings. Able to be changed by what society needs from them now – as warnings or teachings – depending on who is telling them.
I loved this added aspect of discussion that Cole brings to this steamy romance. While Shanti had my heart, I also enjoyed reading Sanyu’s journey to discover himself. We can think we are running away from our problems and be scared to confront them. Terrified to see our own mistakes and disappoint the ones we love. But we have to realize that trust and love are not source of weakness. That we become stronger for our country, friends, and loved ones when we are true to ourselves.
I am beyond excited for this new series from Cole and How to Catch a Queen was an immediate favorite for me. You can certainly read this book without reading Cole’s other works, but if you do, there’s tons of fun Easter Eggs and they’re all in the same universe! I am so happy that I’m able to read this series as it unfolds. Find How to Catch a Queen on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound, Bookshop.org & The Book Depository.