There is a love relationship aspect in the plot, but it seems to fake to me, that I don't count it. The main character, Jacob, falls in love with Marlena, and throughout the entire story I just couldn’t figure out why. She stays flat and boring, never really developing any kind of personality; She stays a pretty girl dressed in shiny sequins. I had to feel pity for her because of her situation, but I couldn’t figure out what it was besides beauty that could make Jacob fall in love. Honestly, the elephant had more personality than Marlena.The whole beginning of the book was a little too unrealistic for me also, but I guess he had to get to into the circus somehow, but it seems like Jacob changed entirely too much from his college days to riding on the circus train. He fit in too well too soon. It seemed to forced to have a small town-college boy- veterinarians son so completely know how to handle himself from the very beginning on the train. Also, his grouchy, almost mean, personality as an old man kept me from fully liking Jacob even as a younger man with the circus.I don’t know if the story line lived up to the full potential it could have had, but looking past character flaws, the story was very entertaining and the narration was extremely vivid, which I always LOVE in novels. This is one of the novels that makes it so easy to see, taste, smell, hear, everything that’s going on.