Katie'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 31, 2011

really liked it

Another quirky book, I really enjoyed this novel. It’s sweet and sad and funny. It takes place in London, at the Tower of England, in contemporary times. Balthazar Jones (he, like every character in the book, is always referred to by his first and last name) is a Beefeater at the Tower. He lives there with his wife and the ghost of his young son, who we know died, but we’re not sure how (until much later in the book). Balthazar and his wife, Hebe, are sad and lonely. The death of the son is like a wall between them. Hebe cannot accept that Balthazar grieves in a different way than she and Balthazar blames himself for his son’s death. Other characters include the Reverend Septimus Drew, the Tower chaplain, and Ruby Dare, the barkeeper at the Rack and Ruin (best name for a bar). The story mostly centers on Balthazar, who has been asked by the Queen to take charge of all the animals she’s been given as gifts over the years, as in times of old when there was a zoo at the Tower. In all, this book is really about love, forgiveness, and the unpredictability of life. It was lovely and I’d highly recommend it.

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