From Publishers Weekly
A Beefeater, his wife, and their nearly 180-year-old tortoise live in the Tower of London, and if Stuart's deadly charming sophomore novel (after The Matchmaker of Perigord) is any indication, the fortress is as full of intrigue as ever. Balthazar and Hebe Jones lost their son, Milo, to illness three years ago, and while Beefeater Balthazar grieves silently and obsessively collects rainwater in perfume bottles, Hebe wants to talk about their loss openly. Hebe works in the thematically convenient London Underground Lost Property Office, and the abandoned items that reside there (an ash-filled urn, a gigolo's diary, Dustin Hoffman's Oscar) are almost as peculiar as the unruly animals (lovebirds not in love, a smelly zorilla, monkeys with a peculiar nervous tic) in the Tower's new menagerie, given to the queen and overseen by Balthazar. Passion, desperation, and romantic shenanigans abound among the other Tower-dwellers: the Reverend, an erotic fiction writer, has eyes for a bartender, and the Ravenmaster is cheating on his wife with the cook. Though the cuteness sometimes comes across a little thick, the love story is adorable.
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Praise for THE TOWER, THE ZOO, AND THE TORTOISE:
“The Tower of London’s the center of this hilarious love story about Beefeater Balthazar, his wife, their tortoise and their eccentric friends. As Balthazar struggles to save his marriage, the rest of the cast carries on in a charming tangle, and when Balthazar is put in charge of a Tower zoo, hilarity breaks out. Sprinkled with fascinating Tower lore, the book will steal your heart.”
--People Magazine, 4 out of 4 stars
“Charming, witty, and heartfelt, Stuart's second novel is even more delightful than her debut, The Matchmaker of Périgord. A perfect suggestion for fans of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society; highly recommended.”
"History buffs, animal lovers, and simply the tenderhearted will swoon over this captivating story."
--Entertainment Weekly, grade A
"The Tower, the Zoo, and the Tortoise is the perfect summer confection — feather-light without being feather-brained. Julia Stuart has penned a work that is original and every-page amusing, and she's peopled it with characters that move into your heart."
-- The Denver Post
“[The] delightfully zany and touching novel, The Tower, The Zoo, and the Tortoise, by British writer Julia Stuart, has jumped the queue to take readers on a fictional romp through the Tower’s realm…With her deft and charming style, Stuart brings this comic story to a satisfying and heartwarming end.”
– The Washington Post
“Julia Stuart spins a confection of whimsy in The Tower, the Zoo and the Tortoise.”
–Cleveland Plain Dealer
"Julia Stuart's sweet The Tower, the Zoo, and the Tortoise is a blessing, undisguised and undeniable, and apparent from the very first sentence...Stuart's clever, amusing and touching story rolls along with wit and tenderness. By the time she concludes this tale at once contemporary and timeless, she and her characters -- biped and quadruped -- have won the reader's heart." -
-- Richmond Times-Dispatch
"Stuart's way of illustrating people's humanity through their bonds with animals makes The Tower, the Zoo and the Tortoise a great novel for discussion, and for reflection on the importance of connecting with all living things in the world around us."
-- Gainesville Times
“A Beefeater, his wife, and their nearly 180-year-old tortoise live in the Tower of London, and if Stuart’s deadly charming sophomore novel (after The Matchmaker of Périgord) is any indication, the fortress is as full of intrigue as ever…the love story is adorable.”
“[The Tower, The Zoo, and The Tortoise] is grounded by the moving central love story. This sweet romp will appeal to history buffs.”
-- Kirkus Reviews
"An Anglophile's delight." -- The Christian Science Monitor
"[A] magical novel…warm and funny." – Woman (UK)