Monday, September 27, 2010

Review: The Tower, The Zoo, and the Tortoise by Julia Stuart

A job that includes living at the Tower of London would seem like a dream to most people. Or maybe just to most history buffs. For Beefeater Balthazar Jones and his wife Hebe life is not quite dreamlike. Their home is damp, the walls are round, the fellow employees are a mixed bag of quirky and irritating characters. But their problems go far beyond where they live. The deep sadness and grief of the loss of their only son have permeated their existence, the gloom of the Tower fits perfectly with their emotional pain.

The Tower

Soon Balthazar is tapped to be in charge of the creation of a Zoo at the Tower to house animals that the Queen has been gifted by other countries. He is reluctant to share this great news with his wife or anyone else that resides in the Tower. Change is never a welcome thing in their small society.

But the arrival of the animals creates a few unexpected results. Who would have guessed that Balthazar would find, in his wounded heart, great affection for a bearded pig? And the residents may be annoying but who knew they would band together for the sake of one of their own?

This is Julia Stuart's second novel. I reviewed her first, The Matchmaker of Perigord, about two years ago. I was won over by her gentle and charming style, the warmth that comes through in her writing, and her wonderfully quirky characters. So I was thrilled to receive The Tower, The Zoo, and the Tortoise, an equally lovely book. I was not disappointed!

Julia Stuart

The Tower, The Zoo, and The Tortoise is published by Doubleday, ISBN 978-0-385-53328-7

9 comments:

bermudaonion said...

I'm so glad to see this book is as good as I thought it would be. The cover is just charming.

Mary said...

I really enjoyed this novel. I loved the quirkiness but it also was quite touching. I've added her first to my wish list. Nice review.

Mystica said...

The book sounds so very good and the cover - I love the cover!

Zibilee said...

I just finished this one and loved it! I also loved Matchmaker and was really thrilled that her style was consistent throughout the two books. So glad to hear that you loved it too!

Nely said...

This sounds so good. I want to read it too! Great review.

Michele at Reader's Respite said...

I love your descriptor "gentle." For some reason it seems to encapsulate what you are trying to say....and makes the book sound lovely. I've added it to my infamous list. :)

Tribute Books Mama said...

Thanks! for sharing, love the cover.

Beth F said...

I really want to simply repeat what Kathy said. I'm pretty sure I'll like this one.

Kitchen Benchtops said...

The Tower, The Zoo, and The Tortoise is a tough book. Intriguing storylines and compelling characters make this a worthy read

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New Hampshire, United States
Bibliophile, Anglophile, Traveller... I have been an avid reader all of my life, since I took the Dr. Seuss Dictionary away from my Mom when I was less than a year old because I wanted to read it myself. In college, where I earned my degree in English Literature, I was often asked "What are you going to do with it?" Now I finally have the answer to that question!!! Being employed as a Flight Attendant for twenty years has given me a lot of life experience and, better still, a lot of time to read. I love to travel for fun, too.