April's Reviews > Kiss an Angel with Bonus Material

Kiss an Angel with Bonus Material by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
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Mar 02, 12

Read in February, 2012

I honestly wasn't expecting to like this one much. I didn't like the cover, and with the way the heroine was introduced, I wasn't sure I'd like her either. My assumption was that this was a book about a Paris Hilton type of character — all glam and glitz jetsetter meets cold, dark, handsome tycoon type hero. Not only that, but their marriage is arranged by her father, and I was reminded of old Jude Deveraux books where the heroine's father throws her in with the only man he respects and admires enough to pair with his progeny.

My assumptions were so wrong on so many levels. The hero turns out to be a circus guy — he manages a circus AND performs with bullwhips, and he lives in a dingy trailer that turns out to be the polar opposite of what the heroine is used to. Their enforced situation brings out levels to the heroine's character, and as each layer is exposed, I find I like her more and more. Then it turns out that the hero, too, is full of surprises — he's not exactly how he presents himself, and so I end up liking him more and more, too.

I especially love the character arcs. For instance, the heroine starts off afraid of animals, which is a major drawback if you're going to be living in a circus, and I expected that the author would suddenly have the heroine miraculously discover she's got kind of a way with them. Phillips surprised me — she had the heroine continue to be afraid of animals, and she had the animals continue to react negatively to her; each day was the same, and since the heroine had to work with the animals, she encounters an endless string of trials and tribulations, animals abusing her and taking advantage of her because of her fear. In other words, the change is gradual. The heroine really has to work at it, and it's only after she reaches a breaking point does she do anything out of character and come to a turning point. It doesn't feel forced. It feels natural. So, for me, it's just beautifully done.

It's the same with how the hero and the heroine fall in love — it's through regular dealings with each other, the constant conflict and give and take, and their gradual change in characters because of that.

I'm not sure what it is exactly, but I think the key is that it's all gradual. You can see the changes, so the whole thing is plausible. Somehow, it made me love each character (even the minor characters) more. They all had their own arcs, and they all pay off in the end.

I still think the cover is all wrong for the book. There is nothing princess-like about the heroine except in the beginning, so the tiara on the cover model makes no sense to me — neither does her smile. This has more of a Water for Elephants kind of feel to it with the circus setting.
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