A fun and tender sapphic retelling of 'Anastasia'

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How to Find a Princess by Alyssa Cole

A fun and tender sapphic retelling of ‘Anastasia’

Review of How to Find a Princess by Alyssa Cole

Makeda may not know what she wants from life but she knows exactly what she doesn’t want, and that’s being a princess. The family folklore according to which her grandmother had a fling with the prince of the tiny kingdom of Ibarania was fun to entertain until it became her mother’s obsession. So when, in one day, Makeda loses both her job and her girlfriend, the last thing she needs is for a so-called investigator to try and convince her to travel to Ibarania with her to claim her title as the lost heir.

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This sapphic retelling of Anastasia is a Grumpy/Sunshine romance with Grumpy being a former Sunshine tired of being used as a doormat. It’s also, for a while, a fake romance, confusing both parties, as should be, with the added bonus of only one bed and a lifeboat. It’s definitely an opposites-attract romance, all book long.

Makeda lives in a perpetual state of anxiety, even though she probably doesn’t realise it. She wants everyone to be happy all the time because when people aren’t happy, they either laugh at her or leave her. Her whole personality is being helpful and who cares if she always puts everyone else’s dreams before her? She doesn’t have dreams anyway. Beznaria is the opposite. Not that she’s happy all the time, but she’s running too fast for stress to catch up, at least most of the time. Among her other strategies: go for what you want and never never give up. She’s at once incredibly cool and old-fashioned (the type to demand a duel to right a wrong). I’m actually impressed Makeda resisted her for so long.

This was my first book by Alyssa Cole and I didn’t expect to laugh so much. Bez gets the best lines, and I’ll go against my rule of not taking sentences out of context with two quotes, one that made me laugh:

“The coffee grinder apparently had more settings than Bez’s vibrator because the noise grew even louder.”

The other I found surprisingly touching:

“Her past relationships had made her think she would be bad at every relationship, but maybe she just hadn’t learned how to be good at them yet.”

Both perfectly Bez.

Despite a rushed ending, I’d recommend this book to anyone looking for a light-hearted, funny and tender rom-com.

How to Find a Princess by Alyssa Cole

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