• How to Catch a Queen by Alyssa Cole
How to Catch a Queen Book Cover How to Catch a Queen
Runaway Royals
Alyssa Cole
December 1, 2020

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.

How to Catch a Queen by Alyssa Cole

A Runaway Royals book I

I am completely fangirling over this royally epic romance that Alyssa Cole has written. For many reasons but first that it has encumbered so many of my favorite tropes and done amazingly. (But we already knew this, Cole does no wrong!)

We have our female lead and bad ass woman, Shanti. She has grown up being groomed to be a future queen. Her parents did not care what kingdom she would eventually rule, but they did know that she WOULD rule alongside a king one day. They catered to her education, groomed her good looks, and sharpened her knowledge of politics to ensure she would be the complete package of a queen.

Insert our male lead and newly crowned king, Sanyu. His father passes away in the very beginning pushing forward Sanyu to be crowned and take on the royal duties right away. In order for him to be rightfully crowned he must also marry, which is why his royal advisors bring Shanti to him and arrange the quick marriage. 

Now I must point out that Sanyu is extremely intimidated by the crown and all the responsibilities that come along with it. Since he was young he had always envisioned himself running away and living out a normal life. Sanyu does not believe he could ever fill in his father’s shoes. He doubts he will ever gain the same amount of respect.

For their quick encounter Sanyu and Shanti have an immediate and intense spark between them. He sees Shanti for the strong woman she is and is also intimidated by her. After their quick marriage Sanyu does almost everything to keep his distance from her and they rarely have encounters. Which was such a bummer at first, I kept craving that sizzling connection between these two, it was just so invigorating and addictive!

Now the book obviously goes into this way deeper but the country that Sanyu rules, Njaza the marriages to the king run a little differently than we are used to. There is a “trial period,” and historically Sanyu’s father never kept ANY bride longer than the trial period, including Sanyu’s mother. So during Sanyu and Shanti’s trial period, Sanyu successfully avoids Shanti al-throughout.

Except for on the eve of the end of their trial period, Shanti speaks out during a council meeting and draws Sanyu to her. They begin meeting in secret because Shanti’s sharp mind and even sharper tongue spark a curiosity in the king. The secret meetings become their very own personal council sessions, Sanyu seeking advice and council from Shanti, Shanti expertly teaching Sanyu about politics and economics.

Things seem to be going great until there is chaos and uprising. And then, Shanti runs away. Now Sanyu is left with a political mess and a need to find this queen of his that sparked so much passion and bravery in him.

How to Catch a Queen by Alyssa Cole is a royally epic slow burn romance. It has all the notes that Cole hits so eloquently including the steam, the political accuracy, a bad ass female lead, an elaborate plot that has built such an intricate universe. I look forward to finding out more about these Runaway Royals series!

I highly recommend How to Catch a Queen. The read is super entertaining filled with laugh out loud moments that only Alyssa can muster (during the most serious of moments, ah, it’s the best.)

Alyssa Cole’s How to Catch a Queen gets 4.5 stars from me, and I semi-patiently wait for the next in the series.

Order your copy here!