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

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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 and Amélie.

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.

From the Hardcover edition.

About Julia Stuart

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JULIA STUART is an award-winning journalist and the author of two previous novels, The Tower, The Zoo, and the Tortoise and The Matchmaker of Perigord. She lives in London.
Published August 10, 2010 by Anchor. 322 pages
Genres: Humor & Entertainment, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Tower, the Zoo, and the Tortoise

The Washington Times

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The ancient and sinister Tower of London that lures more than 2 million visitors a year would be an inspiration for any writer, especially one with the kind of whimsical imagination from which sprouts a world of ravenous ravens and a 181-year old tortoise called Mrs. Cross whose tail has been rep...

Oct 22 2010 | Read Full Review of The Tower, the Zoo, and the T...

Entertainment Weekly

The Tower, The Zoo, and The Tortoise (2010) History buffs, animal lovers, and simply the tenderhearted will swoon over this captivating story, The Tower, The Zoo, and The Tortoise .

Aug 04 2010 | Read Full Review of The Tower, the Zoo, and the T...

Denver Post

He remembered the time he had spent on sentry duty at the Tower of London, and the beefeaters in their splendid uniforms, who went by the exalted title of Yeoman Warders of Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress of the Tower of London, and Members of the Sovereign's Body Guard of the Yeoman Guar...

Aug 08 2010 | Read Full Review of The Tower, the Zoo, and the T... Bestsellers

It is up to you whether it is worth 150 pages to get to the good part.ProsThe many storylines wrap up nicely in the second half of the book.There are lovable characters in the subplots.ConsAt times, the many historical facts feel thrown into the story, breaking the natural flow.The first half of ...

| Read Full Review of The Tower, the Zoo, and the T...

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