Known by many as the “queen of romantic comedy”, Susan Elizabeth Phillips has been writing romance novels for over 40 years, and despite being such a prominent figure within this genre for so many years, Susan’s stories seem to only improve with each new release, with one of her standouts being Kiss an Angel.
This is a short story with a premise that might sound a little strange on the outside since a lot of it is based in a circus, but once you get stuck into the compelling plot and characters, it’s hard to put this New York bestseller down.
When it comes to balancing quirky dialogue, passionate romance, and a lively and exciting world to surround the story, there aren’t many authors who can do it better than Susan Elizabeth Phillips, and her accolades certainly demonstrate this with her being the only author to win the Romance Writers of America Favorite Book of the Year Award a staggering five times.
Before you jump straight into re-reading the charming tale of Daisy Devreaux and her humorless love interest Alex Markov in Kiss an Angel, I have compiled a few book recommendations below from authors including Lauren Asher and Maggie Osborne who share a similar knack for writing these intense, but also upbeat stories that makes Susan Elizabeth Phillips such a fantastic author.
Themes In Kiss An Angel
The lively and bubbly Daisy Devreaux is used to getting what she wants when she wants it, and she isn’t one for branching out or trying out other ways of life when we first meet her at the beginning of the story.
However, when she is thrust into a marriage with the deadly serious but ever-charming Alex Markov, she quickly must adjust to an environment she never thought she would end up in, the circus.
What begins as a disdain for the circus and everything it represents quickly turns into intrigue and eventually a passion for not only flying high but also for the man she originally wouldn’t have given any attention to because of how he lives, with themes about moving away from the familiar and out of your comfort zone becoming very prominent in the plot.
While there is plenty of witty and humorous dialogue between Daisy and Alex throughout the story, we delve deeper into their backstories and what brought them both to their arranged marriage.
It becomes evident very quickly that they are both just as broken as each other, and the intimacy they share is all part of a healing process so that they can get over their past mistakes and missteps which have put them both in troubled positions in their lives, with the theme of loneliness and how we can overcome it by confiding in others being very relevant in the story being told.
By basing the story in the circus, Phillips can cleverly tell a story about exploitation not only in regards to the characters but also of the environment that surrounds them and the animals and vulnerable groups who are exploited for monetary gain.
This juxtaposition is a clear demonstration of just how good of a writer Phillips is, and how she is able to foreshadow reveals about her characters simply by using the environment and the world around them.
Books Like Kiss An Angel
The Fine Print by Lauren Asher
The way Susan Elizabeth Phillips can create a story of romance that is passionate and intimate when it needs to be while still being chock-full of humorous and lighthearted dialogue is truly genius, and while it’s certainly hard to balance this in a story without one tone overtaking the other, Lauren Asher also manages to capture this perfectly in The Fine Print, a breezy and fairly relatable tale about moving out of your comfort zone and jumping into new experiences.
When the good-intentioned but ever-clumsy Zahra ends up sending a job proposal criticizing one of Dreamland’s most popular fair rides, rather than moving on to the next candidate without a second thought, billionaire Rowan Kane decides to take a chance on Zahra, thrusting her into a position she never dreamed she would be in, with a man she could only imagine being with in her wildest dreams.
- Extremely funny dialogue mixed with moments of tension and suspense
- Zahra is an incredibly loveable and relatable main character
- Very satisfying character development with great payoffs
- Gradual buildup would have made romance much more impactful and believable
Themes: Moving out of your comfort zone, regrets, idealization
Silver Lining by Maggie Osborne
Maggie Osborne has been praised as one of the most unique and influential writers when it comes to romance literature, to the point where Susan Elizabeth Phillips herself has hailed her as “one of the best writers in the business” which should give you an indication into just how well written and engaging her stories are, and Silver Lining is no exception in this regard.
Low Down is a woman who doesn’t ask for much in her life, however, there is one thing she’s wanted ever since she was a young girl with wide-eyed dreams, and that’s a baby.
When she runs into Max McCord, a dashing but slightly oblivious man who is already in love with another woman, what follows is a temporary begrudging romance where Low Down tries her best to convince this Greek god of a man to fall for her and partake in a temporary marriage, making for a humorous, and at times very grounded and realistic tale about loneliness and the dangers that can come from exploitation in relationships.
- An extremely deep and personal story that remains lighthearted and fun to read thanks to the humorous dialogue
- The pacing is excellent with twists and turns every few pages
- The first few pages hook you into the story immediately
- Max can be a little too dumbfounded and oblivious at times
Themes: Lonelieness, dependence, anxiety, dreams
You Can Have Manhattan by P. Dangelico
If you enjoyed the premise of a character being thrust into a new environment and romantic situation that guides a lot of the story in Kiss an Angel, You Can Have Manhattan by the immensely talented P. Dangelico follows a similar storyline with a few more plot twists and unexpected reveals that will keep you guessing where the story is headed throughout your entire readthrough.
The lonely and disillusioned Sydney Evans pours all of her time and energy into her work since she has no friends or family around her, however, when her boss offers a promotion opportunity she can’t turn down, she immediately jumps at the chance, that is until he tells her the only requirement, that she marries his hopeless son.
What starts as a begrudging romance becomes something far bigger and more dangerous when Scott’s father forces him into accepting the marriage, and if he refuses?
He’ll be sent back to Manhattan, a place he’d much prefer to forget about.
Dangelico ensures to pay close attention to the feelings and intentions of both characters, giving them an incredible amount of depth while expanding the plot more and more the deeper into the story you go.
- The plot becomes more interesting the further into the story you read
- Slow-burn romance that develops gradually
- Good insight into loyalty and trust in marriage
- The beginning of the story can seem a little slow before picking up
Themes: Sacrifice, exploitation, commitment, responsibility
If you’re talking about unique short stories, you have to mention Kiss an Angel which manages to balance being both intense and humorous, along with having a setting that many writers would never try to use as part of a romance story.
With that being said, rather than jumping into a re-read when you finish this bestselling book, experiment with a few of these recommendations listed above. Who knows, you might just find a book that fits your preferences when it comes to romance novels.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ Latest Release?
The queen of romance is set to release her latest novel, When Stars Collide, in 2023. The book is the latest installment in the beloved Chicago Stars series of books and is advertised as “Mozart meets Monday Night Football”.
The book was originally published in June 2021, however, it is hitting the mass market in paperback and hardback for the first time in 2023.
Is Kiss An Angel Part Of A Series?
While many of her books are part of a larger series, Kiss an Angel is one of the 10 standalone novels that Phillips has written, with her first standalone being Risen, Glory in 1984 and the latest being Dance Away with Me in 2020.
Is Kiss An Angel Considered A Short Story?
While you could say that Kiss an Angel is a little longer than most short stories would usually be, it is often labeled and advertised as a short story, being just 100 pages in length.
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