Dolena W. (Dallas, TX)
A Laugh, A Little Sadness and Lots of Warmth
I love this book! I loved it from the first page until the last page. I cannot wait until it is published so that I can give it to my friends.
This book is chock full of humor, but the laughs are not its purpose and they do not distract from the lovely stories behind the laughter. And, who could resist the antics of the animals who move in and out of the story lines.
But the real story is the humans. Human characters who are all eccentric, flawed, but fascinating. With one or two exceptions, all of the characters seem familiar. Not because they are stereotypical, because they are anything but. They are familiar because they so resemble the people we all know who live quiet lives, waiting for joy to come or return to their lives.
The ending of this book was extraordinary. It was sweet, free of theatrics, just a gentle pull toward resolution of all the stories, all the characters' lives.
I will read this again for certain. Long live Mrs. Cook (you have to read the book)!.
JD ( NY)
A Charming Book
The Tower of London is the setting and those who live and work there are the subject of this beautiful and affecting novel. The details and history given about the Tower are fascinating enough, but what makes this book wonderful is that while it is filled with sadness, it is also extremely funny at the same time. The characters are quirky, but you feel connected with them on an emotional level. I didn't want this book to end.
Elena S. (The Book Works, CA)
Fire Up the Tea Kettle and Settle In With a Good Book
"The Tower, the Zoo, and the Tortoise" is an absolute delight! Every one of Stuart’s characters is endearing, brought to life with humorous quirks, and a sense of quiet tenderness that warms the heart in even the rainiest of times. This book is a good pick for animal lovers, English history buffs or anyone who has ever known "the silent ecstasy of wearing new socks."
Mark O. (Wenatchee, WA)
Lost and Found
All readers know that reading takes us places we’d never likely visit. "The Tower, the Zoo, and the Tortoise" takes us inside the Tower of London, a place so saturated with history that ghosts ooze out everywhere. The arrival of a menagerie of animals (gifts to Queen Elizabeth, from all over the world) falls to the responsibility of one of the Tower guards, a Beefeater. These exotic animals are lost, uprooted from homes in jungles and plains, and now housed in moats and towers. In fact, this book is a story of losses. Some of these losses are terrible (a child), sad (a marriage), life-changing (a calling) or bizarre (the things left behind on the London Underground). But the opposite of lost is found and the London Underground's Lost Property Office seems a mirror of life. Things thought irretrievably lost can be found again: happiness, purpose, and life-long mates, whether one is human or albatross.
Martha P. (Issaquah, WA)
History made fun
A truly delightful romp through history! If only learning could always be made this pleasurable. Each character imparts his own knowledge of the Tower of London and all it's ghosts, beheadings and royal goings-on. Animals for the menagerie provide more fodder for stories from the past. And all this with a love story or two in the midst of everything. Lovely British humor and overall a wonderful read.
Kitty H. (Pasadena, CA)
Don't Miss This One
Refreshingly different and delightful are the words that come to mind to describe 'The Tower, The Zoo, and the Tortoise'. It is every bit as charming as the book cover illustration. Anglophiles and lovers of British comedy will rejoice. This story is funny, poignant and totally unique. The colorful characters who inhabit the Tower of London in the 21st century are sure to delight.
P.S. I read this story shortly after finishing 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo' and 'The Girl Who Played With Fire' by Steig Larsson. The contrast was like the light at the end of the tunnel. I'd give a 5 to all three, but what a difference!
Tricia D. (Woodland Hills, CA)
The Tower, the Zoo, and the Tortoise
This was really my kind of book! I loved the unique characters and their problems while mixed along with the historical facts of London Tower itself. There was everything in this book I needed: romance, humor, mystery, empathy, slapstick, and even anger. Being an animal lover, the tales that were provided about the animals themselves, helped attach me to the story even more. If you're looking for something a little different to read, this book is a MUST!