Saturday, December 6, 2008

Kiss An Angel by Susan Elizabeth Phillips *****

I was influenced to do this re-listen to Anna Fields reading Kiss An Angel by all the folks reading it for the Winter Challenge (it's an Arranged Marriage). I've already listened to it at least 4 times, but I never get tired of Daisy and Alex!

It's a contemporary arranged marriage - which is a little unusual. Daisy has been forced into marrying Alex by her father - she's a little flighty and irresponsible, and managed to get in serious debt after her mother's death and almost go to jail. If she will marry Alex and stay married to him for 6 months, living as a married couple, her father will give her a large trust fund and she's free to divorce Alex. Theoretically, it's a gesture of tough love, and he finagles Alex into it as a repayment of a favor: he saved Alex's life by taking him away from his abusive uncle. He expects Alex to teach her responsibility - and secretly he's hoping they'll stay together.

Daisy soon learns that Alex is the manager of a small traveling circus - and her new life will include living in a small RV and traveling every day to a new backwater town. Alex is also a performer: Alexi the Cossack, doing a bullwhip show. This is about as far from her normal life as she can imagine, and she spends the first 24 hours doing anything she can to back out of the deal. But she's determined to be the opposite of her mother, who slept with anything in pants, the younger the better - so she plans to honor her vows and do the best she can.

My favorite part of this story is Daisy's growth - she manages to accomplish things, do hard work she never realized she could do, face her fears and gain self-esteem and confidence. Through the process, she manages to enable Alex's growth as well. His upbringing taught him that he couldn't afford to love - but his relationship with Daisy proves that isn't true. Slowly his frozen heart melts for Daisy, until he's practically a besotted fool who will do anything to prove his love to her.

There are some truly memorable scenes in the story, and one of my favorites is the bullwhip show, especially the first time Daisy performs. It's sensual and erotic and surprising - I would love to see a circus act like this!

Ahhh, just what I needed. 5 stars again.

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