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How to Catch a Queen - Review

*I received this e-arc copy from Net Galley. All reviews are my own.

Have you ever immediately fell in love with a book by just looking at the cover? You don't know anything about the author and never even heard of the book before this very moment? You just minded your business, and then gold flashed across your computer screen. Then, only then, you decide to read the synopsis. That's how I felt when I laid my eyes on Alyssa Cole's How to Catch a Queen. I don't know why I was infatuated with the cover of this book (that's a lie. The body is gorgeous!), but I was right to take a chance on a story about love and royalty.

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 share an immediate and powerful attraction. Still, 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 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 to lead his people and catch his queen.

I enjoyed this book. It tickled me pink. I found myself giggling at small comedic relief (that damn Sexy Pikachu line) and the fact that royals find their spouses through dating apps. I never would expect that's how arranged marriages work in modern times. It tripped me out a bit. But I also like the fact that Cole kept me guessing with the direction of her writing. You know how, when reading something, you can figure out where the story is going? Cole introduced dirt roads off the beaten path before coming back to the wild ride of the plot. It was an unexpected special surprise gifted to readers. I appreciated it.

I want to get into a deep conversation for a second. There's this whispered saying that men from other countries don't respect their women. I'm from the U.S., and through life, I notice how American men treat their women and how men from other countries and islands treat their women. A girl can scream independence and be defiant all she wants, but if a man puts his foot down, that's the law of the land. What did Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie once say? "A woman can have ambition, but not too much. You should aim to be successful, but not too successful; otherwise, you will threaten the man". After reading How to Catch a Queen, the story furthers my thoughts on the matter.

Sanyu grew up watching his father and advisor treat women like a dime a dozen and that their ideas and sacrifices to the kingdom mean nothing. Sanyu tries to follow that mantra knowing in his heart that it doesn't make sense. You can see the conflict in his decision making, especially after getting to know Shanti. I like how Cole crafted Sanyu's demeanor. I think Sanyu's arc is the best development I've seen in a while. He is still a man and should be regarded as King, but she wrote some self-sense that made him realize the faults in previous generations. A woman is not an enemy or a distraction. A woman does not signify weakness. If anything, it sounds like women should run the world and men should take notes. But that's neither here nor there, and my femininity is showing. Hey, I could be wrong about my theory of men and women relationships outside of the U.S., but I'm down for a debate.

I do believe the ending was rushed a bit. I like a story with turmoil initially, and then it all works out in the end, but it didn't seem natural for this particular story. Where I'd believe everything in the story would have happened, I think the timeline was accelerated to appease the readers. I have some questions regarding the sudden appearance of former Queens and the story's villain accepting defeat quickly. Still, hopefully, those topics are delved into the next book in the Runaway Royal series.

Grab this book! I've mentioned before that I'm not into romances, but this one should be added to your library shelves. Good job, Ms. Cole! I can't wait for the next book in the Runaway Royal series! How to Catch a Queen is available Dec. 1st, 2020

#TheLittLibrarian #Review #Romance #novel #contemporary

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