- Saw it in Barnes and Noble and had to get it due to the quirky title and unusual cover.
I also recommend:
- Portuguese Irregular Verbs by Alexander McCall Smith
Summary from GoodReads:
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 erotica; 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 interesting. 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 delightful 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.
This book made me laugh out loud so many times that my sides began to hurt.
Normally I breeze through books quickly, but this one I savored, loving every minute of it. I’d heard that it was slow, and was dreading the slowing down of it, but I found it thoroughly and utterly delightful and so very, very British.
There are so many scenes in this book that were perfect, and the characters – man, the characters were fantastic. The scene with the urn arriving at Hebe’s workplace, the Erotic Fiction writing chaplain, the ravens, the turtle – but in spite of being so full of subtle humor, there was an underlying thread of thoughtfulness and kindness touching the story of Balthazar and his wife, Hebe.
I laughed my way through the book, and then I found myself blinking away tears as I finished it – both because of the story and because I didn’t want to say goodbye. Julia Stuart is an author to watch for.
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