Looking for some BLACK JOY? It’s right there, in the form of Alyssa Cole’s Reluctant Royals series. I’ve read them all, and they’ve made me laugh, sigh, think, and ignore the dishes in my sink. The books take place in a variety of locales, but the most interesting to me are the fictionalized African countries. They are like Black Panther’s Wakanda, only with less advanced technology and no one has superpowers. But, they are countries where Black people thrive and are valued and championed.
The series starts with A Princess in Theory which plays on the old scam email of “letters from a Nigerian prince.” Naledi doesn’t believe she’s the long lost betrothed to the prince, until she does. It’s delightful. There are subplots about her birth parents, a little political intrigue, and the workplace issues for women in STEM.
From there, the series goes on to explore the love lives and adventures of their friends and family. With each book, it’s fun to guess who is going to be next! Is it the best friend, the sister, the assistant, the barista? Only Alyssa Cole knows for sure. How will all of their relationships evolve and change, as the characters grow and learn more about themselves and their place in the world?
This is one of only a few authors who I pre-order books from. I have yet to be disappointed. If you read one and don’t like it, don’t tell me. For me, it is escapist joy.