Abigail Beckwith's Reviews > The Tower, The Zoo, and The Tortoise

The Tower, The Zoo, and The Tortoise by Julia Stuart
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's review
Oct 10, 2010

liked it
bookshelves: fiction, quirky
Read in October, 2010

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. Balthazar works a tour guide for the tower of London, while Hebe works at the bureau of lost things for the London Underground. This makes for a great setting. There is a Reverend who writes romantic novels, a ghost, etc. You can tell these are quirky characters, so if that's what you're into... I was mostly into it but did think it was odd that Balthazar collects rain in bottles.

Anyway, Hebe and Balthazar lost their son several years ago, and are nowhaving trouble connecting to each other (the meat of the story). It did remind me of Guerney Literary & Potato Peel Society (which it was compared to on the cover), but while I liked it, I didn't love it. There were a little too many side stories for me.. I didn't really care about hearing about the Reverend's mother, for instance. This was a slow read for me.

You do get a feeling for the characters, their pasts, and their inner struggles. Some of the book can be funny (the Reverend's feud with rats), although it isn't a comedy. It was an enjoyable read, and I would rec it to anyone who is the mood for a quirky character driven piece (especially if you're interested in English history).

Note: There are a few swear words if that bothers you.

keywords: quirky, English, moving past a family tragedy, multiple POVs, humor, light read, historical trivia

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