When a circus came to our suburb, it reminded me of a book I’d read the year before. Being set in a circus is a fairly unique setting for a romance novel, so it had stuck in my head. I’d borrowed heaps of books from the library the previous year and try as I might, I could not bring to mind the name of the author or the name of the book. So in the books section in Amazon, I typed in the search words ‘circus Alex icon Russian’ and to my delight, Kiss an Angel came up in the results. I didn’t think I really needed to read the book again, but something about it kept bugging me, so I borrowed it a second time, and regardless of a few issues I had with the story and some of the characters, it still had enough of something to get me in sufficiently to read it all again.

Daisy hasn’t had an easy life. She’s the illegitimate daughter of an exhibitionist, promiscuous socialite mother, whom she’s accompanied around Europe, acquiring a hit and miss unusual education in the process and trying to stay unnoticed in the background. When her mother dies, Daisy finds herself with a heap of debts and no formal training or skills to support herself.

Her father, a Romanov historian, offers to help her out financially, but’s there’s a catch. She must marry Alex Markov and live with him for six months, or the deal offering his monetary assistance will be withdrawn.

With no other options in view, Daisy reluctantly lets herself be dragged through the proceedings.

The only reason Alex has allowed himself to be involved in Daisy’s father’s plan, is because he’s hugely indebted to him from an event many years earlier. Otherwise, there is no way or no one else who could have coerced Alex into marriage full stop.

So a marriage begins between two unwilling strangers who can appreciate each other’s physical attributes but otherwise have absolutely nothing in common.

Alex is determined to be out of the arrangement at the end of the six months, or preferably much earlier than that, if he can make the living conditions so abhorrent to the pampered, indulged, self-absorbed Daisy that she’ll leave him. Alex manages and performs in a travelling family circus. Daisy is scared of even small dogs, so encounters many personal challenges when she’s required to assist with the care of the circus animals.

Alex expects Daisy to balk at any hard work but she surprises him by flourishing in her new surroundings. It’s the first time she’s taking responsibility for living for herself without trailing in her mother’s shadow and she’s learning to love having a sense of personal achievement and job satisfaction.

Daisy’s presence in the circus community sparks some jealousy from Alex’s former lover as well as from a teenager with a serious crush on Alex, and they both set out to hurt Daisy and her developing relationship with Alex.

Alex expresses to Daisy that he’ll never love her and he never wants children. Therefore, things get interesting as the circus travels around its performance circuit.

Daisy’s character is endearing as she truly has a heart of gold. It just takes a long time for anyone to realize that. She’s always been very pure and over the course of the book, she discovers she has strengths. At the start of the book, she is terrified of animals, but towards the end, she’s got the whole menagerie of the circus eating out of her hand.

Alex’s inability to see Daisy’s true qualities is frustrating at times. He has so many secrets and issues from his past, combined with his attitude towards his forced marriage situation that he often appears to be an uncaring, unfeeling, brooding, volatile, heartless, cold block of ice. It takes time for his exposure to Daisy to thaw him. Initially, Alex is definitely not the most romantic hero, but his transformation does happen and the reader sees more and more glimpses of it as it develops.

Kiss an Angel brings together some unusual elements in a romance novel. There’s a contemporary arranged marriage, a telepathic animal and a circus, but when a story stays with you for a long time after you finish the book, one can say that the story has worked well.