Saturday, March 10, 2012

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

Beefeaters, London, animals, and eccentric, endearing characters make up this book.  It is somewhat disconnected in its entirety concerning the numerous characters, but the British humor and the silliness kept me reading.

You will meet Balthazar Jones and his wife Hebe who live in the Tower of London and who are in charge of the Tower....Balthazar is a Beefeater who became the keeper of the animals that had been gifts to the Queen.  Hebe works in the London Underground Lost Property Office.  She and her friend, Valerie Jennings, document everything that has been left on the London Underground and hope that people will eventually stop to reclaim their lost item.  There are many strange items retrieved such as an urn with the remains of Clementine Perkins, thousands of pairs of false teeth, and an eyeball.

I really enjoyed Hebe the most.....I loved the strength she portrayed in dealing with the death of her son and her husband's lack of conversation about their son or just about anything.  I also enjoyed the Reverend who pined for Ruby Dore and lived with rats that nibbled at his cassocks and the church kneelers and who secretly wrote erotic novels. 
The most action takes place at the London Underground lost property office....even love. 
There are many unique characters that will make you laugh out loud in this whimsical book.  Oh, and we can't forget Mrs. Cook the 100-year-old tortoise who had a history of her own. 
Be ready for a confusing but delightful ride through the lives of the characters who all have some heartache and/or secret.  Don't give up because of the way the book begins.....I almost did, and it would have been a mistake.  I enjoyed the book because of its history lesson and overall different theme. 4/5


  1. Cute, funny book.

    It is enjoyable.

  2. Actually sounds like a good book. Thanks for the heads up.

  3. Oh, my lord, but how I loved that book! I don't see many reviews popping up for it, but it was one of my favorite books of 2010. old-fashioned and quirky and charming, all in the best senses of the words.

    that reverend! those rats! that lost and found office! every chapter seemed to hold a surprise and i just loved it.

  4. This sounds like a really fun book. The Tower of London is one of my favorite London places. I am going to look for this one.