Genres: Romance, Contemporary
I have received this book via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
A Prince on Paper is the story of Nya Jerami, knows very well what it means to have people assume things about her. Simple, fragile, perhaps in cohort with her traitor father. She went to NYC for her post-grad trying to turn herself into the strong heroine she has seen in so many movies, and failed. On the way back to Thesolo for the wedding of her cousin and friend Ledi, she realizes she will be seeing a lot of the playboy prince Johan. The insufferable, over-confident, handsome prince the tabloids seem to love. To keep the news away from his brother, and to stop people from still associating her with the treason from her father, they come up with a plan: they will pretend to be dating. Surely nothing can go wrong with this plan?
I. LOVE. A fake-relationship plot.
I must say, I was not too happy to see Nya as the main character in this book, because I loved Ledi and Portia so much, and Nya seemed to be so… uninteresting in comparison. And paired up with my beloved Johan! She had much to prove to me. And she did. Being strong when everyone (me included) underestimates you, and sees your kindness and warmth as a weakness and fragility is difficult. It’s no easy thing being treated that way your whole life, suffering abuse and manipulation for over twenty years and still being so emotionally mature and honestly good. She dreams big, and it’s lovely.
The story itself was a bit predictable, as it goes with a lot of romance plots, especially a fake-relationship one. But there was so much good stuff packed into it: we have a (short) discussion on colonialism and its long-term effects, we have discussions on being non-binary and trying to figure out how to tell your family, we have again a bit of the immigration theme and some more. You get so much out of this book that gives it extra depth, far beyond a love story. More than that, this is a self-love story. Both Johan and Nya see in each other something they want to become, but they don’t try to be one whole of two halves, but rather two independent people with their own lives and thoughts and opinions who love each other and support each other.
I don’t love the fake-European country, which was way more a mix-and-match of Germany, Austria, France and a tiny bit of Norway than a country on its own, but one can overlook that. The best part of the world building of the country, to be honest, was the villain being named Arschlocher (like “asshole” in German). It’s now my dream to write a book and call my villain Asshole in another language. I think this is a new life achievement unlocked.
I loved the tender, gentle men in this series – how they assume their flaws, try and do better, respect boundaries. It’s such a change from the macho-men who often show up in romance stories. This one was a bit less steamy than the other two – I liked to see Johan and Nya taking their time and finding other ways to pleasure each other. Another way in which this romance series is different from a lot of others.
I’m a big fan of this series and highly recommend it! This was a nice final book, but I’m glad there are two spin-off novellas!