In A Prince on Paper, a made-for-the-tabloids relationship provides a much needed distraction from a kingdom-shaking referendum for Johan and an opportunity to escape for Nya. Nya and Johan at first glance seem an unlikely match, a smothered and cloistered teacher and a globe-trotting serial heart-breaker, yet Cole develops a sweet and believable intimacy rooted in the secrets they share only with each other.
Like the previous installments of Cole’s Reluctant Royals, there are lots of delightfully funny text exchanges, strong friendships, and scene stealing secondary characters. But in this one, Cole also inter-cuts the romance with snippets of a very engaging trickster folktale that Nya is telling Johan and the intrusive notifications for the dating-sim game Nya used to play obsessively. Both narratives allow Nya to explore and make sense of her relationship with Johan, inspiring her to trust and challenge.
I loved the resolution of this romance even if I was initially put off by Johan’s oddly infantilizing nickname “Jo-Jo '' and his frequently over-the-top interjections in Lichenbourgian. However, Cole won me over with his grief-fueled secret agenda to protect his sibling and continue his mother’s philanthropic activities.
A Prince on Paper is tender and funny and highly enjoyable, and make sure you don’t miss Cole’s introduction of the first couple in her new series, Runaway Royals.