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

The Tower, The Zoo, and The Tortoise

The Tower, The Zoo, and The Tortoise is about Balthazar Jones who is a Beefeater – he lives and works at the Tower of London.  Balthazar and his wife Hebe are trying to go on with life after the death of their only child.  She works at the London Underground’s Lost Property Office where she tries to reunite lost objects with the owners and Balthazar leads tours at the Tower.  One day, it is announced that the Queen’s menagerie (gifts of animals from other countries) will be housed at the Tower and Balthazar will be in charge.  This sets in motion a string of hilarious events that had me laughing out loud.

There are supporting characters who are quite lonely.  At the same time they add to the comedy with their quirks:  the Reverend Drew whose other job would shock his parishioners; Valerie, Hebe’s coworker, who has a propensity for trying on/out found objects; and Ruby the pregnant barmaid who has a fondness for rats.  All of Stuart’s characters shine in their own way and add a great deal to the plot.

I learned a lot about the Tower of London.  Facts and trivia are interspersed throughout the novel in an easy flow that makes me want to read more about the famous inhabitants since the eleventh century.

The gentle pace, the wonderful characters, and the humorous events of the novel make for an enjoyable afternoon of reading.  The Tower, The Zoo, and The Tortoise is a gem.

Review copy from Doubleday via Goodreads First Reads

13 thoughts on “The Tower, The Zoo, and The Tortoise by Julia Stuart

  1. That sounds like a really cute read. Not too sure about a character that has a “fondness for rats”, though. Yow!! Enjoy your week.


  2. I’ve been reading about the Tudors, I’d love to read something about the Tower that is not ugly. Thanks for your review.


  3. Mary, sounds like an interesting book. Thanks for always sharing all these wonderful book reviews with us! You make my Wish List grow and grow :)! Have a good one!


  4. This sounds wonderful! What a unique plot and intriguing characters. I’ve been to the Tower of London and really want to take my kids someday. Thanks for the interesting review!



  5. This sounds so fun … and the cover is adorable!!

    This is a “grown up” book right? I couldn’t 100% tell … but it seems like it is.

    I visited the Tower of London quite a few years ago … it was just fascinating.


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