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Book Review: The Tower, the Zoo and the Tortoise
Summary from GoodReads: Brimming with charm and whimsy, this exquisite novel set in the Tower of London has the transportive qualities and delightful magic of the contemporary classics Chocolat andAmélie.
Balthazar Jones has lived in the Tower of London with his loving wife, Hebe, and his 120-year-old pet tortoise for the past eight years. That’s right, he is a Beefeater (they really do live there). It’s no easy job living and working in the tourist attraction in present-day London.
Among the eccentric characters who call the Tower’s maze of ancient buildings and spiral staircases home are the Tower’s Rack & Ruin barmaid, Ruby Dore, who just found out she’s pregnant; portly Valerie Jennings, who is falling for ticket inspector Arthur Catnip; the lifelong bachelor Reverend Septimus Drew, who secretly pens a series of principled erot ica; and the philandering Ravenmaster, aiming to avenge the death of one of his insufferable ravens.
When Balthazar is tasked with setting up an elaborate menagerie within the Tower walls to house the many exotic animals gifted to the Queen, life at the Tower gets all the more interest ing. Penguins escape, giraffes are stolen, and the Komodo dragon sends innocent people running for their lives. Balthazar is in charge and things are not exactly running smoothly. Then Hebe decides to leave him and his beloved tortoise “runs” away.
Filled with the humor and heart that calls to mind the delight ful novels of Alexander McCall Smith, and the charm and beauty of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, The Tower, the Zoo, and the Tortoise is a magical, wholly original novel whose irresistible characters will stay with you long after you turn the stunning last page.
My Review: This is another of those books that jump from past to present and back and forth. To me, I don't mind that. With this book what I did mind was what seemed like endless background dialog at the beginning. I hate to stop reading a book that I've promised to review, so I trudged on.
I'm glad I did. This ends up being quite a good read. Characters that are quirky and a little look into the Tower of London and the Beefeaters. This book does have such a sad undertone. But doesn't end that way. Of course, being the animal person I am, I was cringing hoping none of the animals in the story would be harmed.
Through this book there are several smaller stories going on along with the main ones. To me, it keeps the book flowing.
There's humor in this book and the characters all seem to jump at you. As I said, this is a great read. Perhaps on a day full of sun sitting in a chair under a tree. I'd also say this book is fine for teenagers that aren't *in the dark* about what happens when they're older in relationships.
Review copy of this book provided by the author/publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. In no way did the provision of the book affect the outcome of my review.