How to Find a Princess
Author: Alyssa Cole
Series: Runaway Royals, book 2
Publisher: Avon (May 25, 2021)
Mass Market Paperback, 367 pages
Romance, Contemporary Romance
New York Times and USA Today bestseller Alyssa Cole’s second Runaway Royals novel is a queer Anastasia retelling, featuring a long-lost princess who finds love with the female investigator tasked with tracking her down.
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.
I fell immediately in love with Bez in the first book in the Runaway Royals series, How to Catch a Queen. I remember thinking “OH DANG, she is amazing. Please tell me she gets her own book.” I ran to Goodreads to check and HECK YES, not only does she get her own book but it’s sapphic.
I ADORE that Alyssa Cole is mixing her series up with her pairings. The first book has a M/F pairing, and I can’t remember if they’re queer. I was pumped to see a F/F pairing in the same series. I’m so used to seeing series where every book is either straight couples, or the entire series is same sex couples (I read a lot of M/M hockey romance, OK). It’s great to see this series where the first book had a M/F couple and the next has a F/F couple and it’s just like “this is how it is.” Because it IS just how it is! Alexandria Bellefleur’s currently releasing Written in the Stars series seems to be doing a similar thing, where the first book had a F/F pairing and the second has a queer M/F couple. I just love to see it, and I’m so glad I’m seeing more of it. Let’s please normalize seeing all sorts of couples, and not requiring different types of love to be relegated to their own series. 🙂
OKAY, that was a bit of a rant, sorry about that! As I said, I was so excited for Beznaria’s book – give me those strong, sexy, queer neurodivergent heroines, yessss. I also really liked Makeda. Her story really touched me, and her struggle to find who she is and how to practice healthy boundaries was just really well-written and believable and I wanted to HUG HER. She goes through an incredible amount of growth, and it’s written in a really great and human way – she’s too much of a “smiling doormat” and when she wants to fix it she sort of over-corrects into being a grump (and still sort of a doormat, just not happy about it anymore…) And then the chemistry between her and Bez! And the combination of your typical fake relationship misunderstandings plus some caused by Makeda’s history of letting people walk all over her and Bez’s brain working in it’s very Bez-like way, and ugh. I die a thousand glorious deaths, it’s so good.
I do feel like the resolution and falling action was a bit abrupt and could have been developed more. It’s almost like Alyssa Cole took us on this incredible journey and then when we arrived at the port of call went “Okee doke, we’re here, happy ending now! *shove off ship*” I wish we’d gotten one more chapter or an epilogue that resolved some of the weird, mad scramble at the end. Still, I loved the journey as a whole so much, I can’t be mad.
This is the second book in the Runaway Royals series, and can be read as a stand alone. As I mentioned before, Bez makes an appearance in the first book in the series, How to Catch a Queen, which is an amazing book and you should definitely read it, but it’s not required to read it before this one.
A digital ARC of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for review. All opinions are unbiased and my own.