Release Date: Dec 1, 2020
Series: Runaway Royals
Heat Level: Hot
Imprint: Avon Books
The first in Cole’s Runaway Royals series is a winner!
I loved the Reluctant Royals series, but Cole just keeps getting better and better. From the moment I met Shanti and Sanyu in A Prince On Paper last year, I couldn’t wait for their story to come out. I can’t believe it’s been over a year since then. But the wait was well worth it.
There is a whole new kingdom to explore in this story. The kingdom of Njaza, with its war-torn past, and fifty years of freedom from colonizers. Shanti comes to the kingdom and marries the new king, Sanyu. An arranged marriage that helps fulfill her dream of becoming a queen, one she’s trained for since she was a child. Except, Njaza’s queens don’t stay and marriage to the king always ends after the four-month trial.
With exactly one-month left is where our story begins, and I immediately fell head over heels for both Sanyu and Shanti as they tried to surmount the expectations they held for themselves, and the ones excepted of them by others. This story became so much more than a simple love story, with cultural implications and showcasing how love is essential not only for the success of individual people, but an entire country. But, I might be getting ahead of myself.
I mentioned in another review this month how the author excelled at characterization, and Cole is quickly becoming a master. Not only at building heroines and heroes to swoon for, but for creating secondary characters and villains who relatable and recognizable in the lives around us. Every villain is a hero in their own story, and so much of this rings true in Musoke, Sanyu’s uncle, who plays a major role in the book. I could wax poetic all day on these elements.
Another element that shines, is Cole’s love for what she’s writing and how she blends in so many nerdy girl elements to these stories. Including references to emojis, politics, and pop culture. If anyone can catch the Coming To America easter egg, you are my kind of people.
There is not a wasted word in this story with poignant encounters, mysteries to be solved, and the unraveling of Sanyu and Shanti as they begin to learn about each other strengths. Shanti is so strong and inspiring. I found inspiration from her and her Field Guide to Queendom. Honestly, if Cole published a separate little guide with all her quotes and inspiring bits, I’d buy it.
Overall, this book isn’t one to miss. The conclusion is satisfying, the story relatable and invigorating. There are elements for everyone to enjoy, including a fabulous love story of how a queen protects a king in ways he’d never expect. That’s really my only hiccup, is that the title of the book didn’t end up matching its contents. Shanti never needed catching. It’s Sanyu who needs rescuing.
For readers who love anything to do with Royals. If you’re a royal watcher than this book is for you.