The instant young Brian O’Conner breathes life into newborn Calliope Kelley, daughter of a traveling circus owner, they are bound for life. The circus is in their blood, or so Calliope believes. Then her mother dies in a mysterious accident and her grief-stricken father turns his back on the show.
The only person Calliope can count on is Brian, and one night the lovers wed. Calliope keeps the circus running until a fire destroys the outfit and Brian is killed. Saved by a wealthy family she assumes the identity of Mary O’Conner, a respected widow, and is courted by their prodigal son. She is ready to marry again when she discovers Brian is not dead. Each feels betrayed, and Calliope is torn between her passion for Brian, her fiancé and an old circus companion, Jocko the Clown, who now runs a gambling hall. (SOURCEBOOKS, Aug., 380 pp., $6.99)