How to Catch a Queen
Author: Alyssa Cole
Series: Runaway Royals, book 1
Publisher: Avon (December 1, 2020)
Mass Market Paperback, 384 pages
Romance, Adult Contemporary Romance
An arranged marriage leads to unexpected desire, in the first book of Alyssa Cole’s Runaway Royals series…
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.
I can’t get over how amazing this book is. I was a little hesitant to read it because I loved Alyssa Cole’s Reluctant Royals series SO MUCH and I was afraid nothing could possibly live up to it. I really should have known better, haha.
Shanti is completely bad-ass. She knows what she wants and she goes for it single-mindedly and never gives up until she reaches her goal. I really admire her tenacity. And then there’s Sanyu… Oh, I felt so bad for Sanyu, with his not-fear and growing up with such an extreme mantle of toxic masculinity smothering him. Right from the get-go I wanted to get him a therapist and some anti-anxiety meds.
The back cover blurb reads “By day, they lead separate lives. By night, she wears the crown, and he bows to her demands in matters of politics and passion.” This is really not how the book is? By night, they come together and work on forging a team, learning about give and take and making concession and how to create a win-win situation for themselves. I love the longing and pining in this book, and how we get to see them both slowly build a relationship with each other, brick by brick. If you like that sort of slow build relationship montage in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, that’s what it kind of reminds me of, haha.
Alyssa once mentioned in a panel I was attending that she’d like to write a chicken shifter romance someday but there’s no market (yes there IS, I am the market! I would buy it!). Anyway, ever since I’ve been waiting for her to release a chicken shifter romance and SHE MANAGED TO WORK IT INTO THIS BOOK, lol. It’s just a small throwaway line, but I laughed so hard I maybe peed a little (shh, don’t tell).
There is a point where a side character comes in to check on Shanti, and I immediately needed to know if she gets her own book. GOOD NEWS! Beznaria Chetchevaliere is one of the leads of the next book in this series, How to Find a Princess. I CANNOT WAIT, I fell in love with Bez immediately and I’m so glad she gets her own book. I NEED IT RIGHT NOW!
This is the first book in the Runaway Royals series. It includes some of the characters from the main books in Alyssa Cole’s Reluctant Royals series, especially Johan and Nya from book 3, A Prince on Paper. How to Catch a Queen can be read as a stand alone, but you’re definitely going to want to read the Reluctant Royals series as well!
A digital ARC of this book was provided by the publisher via Edelweiss+ for review. All opinions are unbiased and my own.