I will read any of Alyssa Cole’s series. Just within the last years, if not last year, Cole has become an auto-buy romance author. This newest Runaway Royals is no exception. The second in Cole’s new series, How to Find a Princess features fake marriages, making lists, and ship adventures. Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.
Makeda Hicks has lost her job and her girlfriend in one fell swoop. The last thing she’s in the mood for is to rehash the story of her grandmother’s infamous summer fling with a runaway prince from Ibarania, or the investigator from the World Federation of Monarchies tasked with searching for Ibarania’s missing heir.
Yet when Beznaria Chetchevaliere crashes into her life, the sleek and sexy investigator exudes exactly the kind of chaos that organized and efficient Makeda finds irresistible, even if Bez is determined to drag her into a world of royal duty Makeda wants nothing to do with.
When a threat to her grandmother’s livelihood pushes Makeda to agree to return to Ibarania, Bez takes her on a transatlantic adventure with a crew of lovable weirdos, a fake marriage, and one-bed hijinks on the high seas. When they finally make it to Ibarania, they realize there’s more at stake than just cash and crown, and Makeda must learn what it means to fight for what she desires and not what she feels bound to by duty.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
TW: side character alcohol addiction and gambling
How to Find a Princess is a queer Anastasia retelling which, granted I only found out after, but makes SO MUCH SENSE. Now that I know, everything clicks about why I loved the plot, the seafaring adventures, and all the bickering! It only reinforces my love for anything Anastasia-esque and if you are as obsessed as me, please read this book! We love sappphic romances with pansexual and neurodivergent characters! My favorite element from How to Find a Princess has to be the characters, and their tension. There were pieces of myself I loved dearly in each of them.
The ways Makeda takes care of people, but also just wants someone to take care of her. To be able to stand up for herself and not letting herself change for others, catering to their whims. Whereas Beznaria, a side character from How to Catch a Queen, has this charm in how she barrels forward full steam ahead. Her relationships with her family are fantastic and I’d love to know more about them. Actually all the side characters in this book were winning!
Alyssa Cole has such a way with characters. Making them feel warm and detailed from beginning to end. I loved the ways Makeda struggles with her princess dreams, how her mother let the quest take over her life, and her feelings on royalty. Especially as characters are torn between duty and dreams. I wish there had been more devoted to the ending, because that felt a bit hasty considering the first 2/3 of the book. I didn’t even know it was ending until it was and I was like, “what?!”
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