Alex Markov, as humorless as he is deadly handsome, has no intention of playing the loving bridegroom to a spoiled little featherhead with champagne tastes. He drags Daisy form her uptown life to a broken down traveling circus and set out to tame her to his ways.
Comment: This is another book by mrs Phillips I had in my TBR and after seeing the reviews and the idea behind the romance, I was intrigued and got it many months ago. I decided I would read it this month so I can start another series by her in 2016 and not have this one hanging out waiting.
In this book we meet Theodosia "Daisy" Devreaux, a young woman whose father just married her to a man she never met before and the book starts precisely with the "I do" on their wedding day. Daisy thinks she will only need to convince her new husband, Alex Markov, for a loan so she can try to get out of this problem and solve her life but he is willing to play his part and pay his debt to Daisy's father so he takes her with him while he participates in the next season with the circus he works with.
Daisy isn't an easy person to teach at first but with time the suspicion the circus members have of her changes to friendship. But not everyone thinks the same and there's also Daisy and Alex's relationship to bear in mind...
This book has all the usual elements we can expect to see in a SEP book, the interesting setting, the larger than life characters, the romance, the easy plot, the secondary romance...but somehow, this book didn't win me over as all the others before did. In fact, this is probably my least favorite of them all so far.
I'm not very fond of the circus setting, nothing against it but it's not something I find much interest in. I know, the circumstances weren't what they seemed for the main characters in the end, but the majority of the plot was centered around circus related issues and I wasn't very interested in that.
Then Alex and Daisy's relationship never convinced me either.
The best part about this book was seeing Daisy learn to love animals and wanting to defend them. Her interactions with the elephant, the tiger and her love for children were the best parts of the book for me. I also liked the end, the overall writing is as smooth as always and not boring, which means the reader wants to keep on reading.
My problem is with many other things, namely the way the story develops, Daisy and Alex's lack of convincing love and a little something too unbelievable to buy closer to the end.
I didn't like certain things.
First, the way Daisy is humiliated in the beginning because she obviously doesn't know how to do the things expected of her. I can understand the idea behind this, she is supposed to be funny in her attempts, but to me this only seemed bullying. She had had a sort of privileged life, of course she wouldn't be good at the tasks asked of her in the circus right away. I had a hard time not wanting the circus people and Alex to stop being like that.
Her relationship with Alex didn't feel romantic at all for me. I know he is supposed to be cold so his change becomes more important after, but the connection between them never felt very real and the way he deals with her after he realizes she isn't the bimbo or the snob he believed her to be didn't seem what someone who wants to start again looked like.
Daisy is a virgin when they marry, at 26. I'm certain this isn't very common nowadays in western cultures but I kind of like when this happens, I want to know why the heroine feels she should have waited and obviously, if it's a romance, to find that special person she trusts to share that moment with. Daisy has good reasons to wait, we learn of certain disappointments she had but the emotional side of this wasn't fully explores as I think it should. then her first time with Alex wasn't very romantic, honestly it seemed very vulgar. If the heroine is a virgin she should have more focus on her choices, etc. I feel most romances nowadays only have virgins to enhance their first time or to show off how eager they are to not being virgins anymore. I don't think such a good writer as SEP is should waste this opportunity with a loss of focus on what should matter.
Closer to the end there is a situation regarding Alex's desire to not have children and the way everything was dealt with was so juvenile and unlikely... again, I get the point, but it's still childish.
The secondary romance didn't convince me either and overall, apart from two or three examples, most character relationships didn't seem balanced or with people I would want to meet. I felt very disappointed about all the things I got annoyed at while reading the book.
This isn't a failure, I just can't seem to look at it with the same appreciation I had for other books by her. With such interesting ideas running around here, the amazing potential for an emotional and powerful story, I felt the angst scenes closer to the end weren't as poignant as they could because so many other things lacked depth, in my opinion.
There's a HEA which is great, I liked knowing some things, but overall, this book let me down a bit because my expectations are always high when it comes to this author. Well, we can't enjoy everything by all authors we like, so...
I hope the books by her I have yet to read are better.