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The Greatest Love on Earth [Mass Market Paperback]

Mary Ellen Dennis

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 439 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks, Inc (1 Nov 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402249829
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402249822
  • Product Dimensions: 3 x 11.3 x 17.3 cm

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Love, Great Betrayal and the Great Danger of Getting What You Want 27 Aug 2011
By Linda Banche - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
THE GREATEST LOVE ON EARTH by Mary Ellen Dennis is a gripping story of great love, great betrayal and the great danger of getting what you want played out against the unusual and exotic background of mid-nineteenth century American circus life.

Equestrienne Calliope knows only the circus, but longs for a normal life, symbolized by the name "Mary". She loves Brian, the lion tamer, but he barely notices the young girl, and one day, he disappears. For years, Calliope and her father, the circus owner, soldier on as calamity after calamity caused by an unknown malefactor befalls the troupe. When Brian returns, the almost-grown Calliope appeals to him. But the big top burns down and separates them again.

After the disaster, Calliope awakens in the home of the rich grandparents of the little girl she rescued from the fire. Reviled by so-called "good" society for being part of the circus, Calliope reinvents herself as a Mary to find acceptance. But good society has a dangerous dark underbelly which threatens to destroy her. Lies lead to more lies and disaster after disaster as Calliope and Brian, who has also reinvented himself, seek their happiness with each other. And the evildoer who caused all those calamities at the circus lives on to spread more misery.

THE GREATEST LOVE ON EARTH is a fascinating glimpse of circus life, and a condemning study of Victorian American society with a mystery winding through the whole. The hypocritical and rigid "haves" who make the rules despise the lower-class circus people, when they are no better and often worse. Calliope and Brian are determined enough to fight them while they also battle each other when their desires conflict. I think both are a little too hard-headed, and Brian is less than heroic when he blames Calliope for things she can't control. There are multiple villains in this story, but the worst villain was too evil for my taste--he physically tortures Calliope.

But the circus is unique setting for a romance, and for those who have overdosed on noblemen, society misses and foreign locations, THE GREATEST LOVE ON EARTH is a welcome change.

ARC supplied by Sourcebooks
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Read 2 Aug 2011
By LAS Reviewer - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Brian O'Connor saves Calliope Kelley the day she is born. A memorable beginning promises an unforgettable story, set in an exotic place with fresh and interesting characters. It delivers.

Fast-paced, The Greatest Love On Earth weaves its tight plot around romance, suspense, and adventure. The reader is treated to the fascinating world of the circus during the 19th century.

Calliope is an endearing character, and the reader sees her grow up in an exciting world. She's spunky, down-to-earth, and genuine, but sometimes her pride gets her into trouble. She experiences tragedy yet carries on, living life to the fullest. Brian has owned her heart her whole life. He's a wonderful character, authentic and charming, but he tries to put distance between them with his words--she's the boss's daughter and innocent. Then her father dies in an accident, or was it? Her mother died years before--a victim of a crime?

There's a mystery. Calliope suspects someone killed them and now wants her dead. Who among the colorful characters of her world could do such a thing?

This story is filled with passion and unexpected occurrences. Sometimes Calliope makes brash decisions, but she is young. She rushes to do these things before talking to Brian to see if her assumptions are true. At times, this is a little annoying. Later in the book, there is a little confusion as to where her heart truly rests. She has relationships / flirtations with four men in this book; though she only seems to love Brian. Some of her decisions are questionable, but she remains likeable anyway.

This is a wonderful story, and readers who like adventurous historical romance set in exotic settings will probably enjoy this book. Highly recommended.

Originally posted at The Long and Short of It Romance Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An entertaining historical romance 20 Aug 2011
By Wendy L. Hines - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Calliope Kelley's father owns the circus. She was born and raised within the circus wagons and tents. Brian O'Connor is a few years older than her and was raised with her. His parents died when he was little and Calliope's parents took him in.

When Calliope's mother dies, Brian leaves the circus. He worshiped Angelique for years, loved her and he couldn't bear it without her, so he goes out west. When he returns, Calliope is running the circus and her father spends his time with booze and his memories.

When Calliope's father dies, she is certain it was no accident. In fact, she thinks her mother's death may have not been either and pulls Brian along on her investigations. Calliope has loved Brian her whole life, in fact planned on marrying him when she was little. Now, Brian pushes her away and Calliope flirts with others. Will the two of them put aside their differences to put on the greatest show on earth and have a future with one another?

Brimming with endearing characters, suspense, witty repartee, a first-hand look at a circus and strong bonds of love, The Greatest Love on Earth is a delightful and magical romance. Mary Ellen Dennis has penned an entertaining historical romance and I look forward to reading more from her in the future!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Greatest Love on Earth 28 Aug 2011
By Kathleen Kelly - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The Greatest Love on Earth by Mary Ellen Dennis is a novel that takes place during the 19th century in America and is about life in a circus. Calliope runs the circus that is owned by her father who is a devasted man, that spends most of his waking hours drunk. He has become a shell of a man ever since the death of his wife Angelique, who fell and died while performing. Calliope does the best she can in a man's world. She has been in love with the lion tamer ever since she can remember and Brian O'Connor (the lion tamer) has always been protective of Calliope ever since he saved her at birth. They are just starting to have a relationship when a devasting fire destroys the circus. Calliope believes that the circus is not an 'accident' but that the fire was set. By whom she does not know but she has an idea.

After the fire Calliope tries to make a life for herself in a normal world as Mary but is still drawn to the circus and wants to find out who is to blame for the fire and the death of her parents. She is taken in by a wealthy family. What comes next is a story of bruised egos, murder, and dreams shattered. This is a fast paced read and a sexy love story with an ending...opps, not going there. You will just have to read this book. I enjoyed this book, having not read a lot of books about the circus, I found it very interesting. A great beach read!!! Mary Ellen Dennis is also the author of Landlord's Blackeyed Daughter.
5.0 out of 5 stars good 11 May 2012
By bookgirl 03 - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
I could not put this down. Wonderful story of love and overcoming great loss. I was blown away by this story. I quickly went out and bought more by this author. If you enjoyed Water For Elephants, you will enjoy this circus love story.
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