cover image How to Catch A Queen

How to Catch A Queen

Alyssa Cole. Avon, $7.99 Mass Market (384p) ISBN 978-0-06-293396-6

Cole (A Princess on Paper) launches the Runaway Royals series with this thoroughly modern firecracker of a romance about a “trial marriage” between near opposites. No one expects a love match to grow from the hasty pairing between King Sanyu II of the fictional African kingdom of Njaza—who was raised to rule but struggles with debilitating anxiety and doubts his own fitness for the crown—and Shanti Mohapti, an ambitious former farm girl who believes she was born to be a queen. Though Shanti’s confidence and political savvy are just what Sanyu needs, Sanyu’s upbringing in a deeply sexist society hasn’t prepared him to value an educated, outspoken woman, much less to know how to woo her. Sanyu longs for love but is afraid to go after it, and Shanti’s more wedded to her political agenda than to their relationship. Luckily, Cole provides a brilliant cast of secondary characters to prod them toward each other while enhancing the plot with humor and wisdom. Genre traditionalists may balk at the abundant attention to politics and slow emotional burn, but the vivid prose, lively characters, and steamy encounters will keep readers hooked, and the intersections between politics, gender, and ideology will resonate the world over. This strikingly feminist saga raises the bar for contemporary romance. [em]Agent: Lucienne Diver, the Knight Agency. (Dec.) [/em]