Reader reviews and comments on The Tower, the Zoo, and the Tortoise, plus links to write your own review.

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Tower, the Zoo, and the Tortoise

A Novel

by Julia Stuart

The Tower, the Zoo, and the Tortoise by Julia Stuart
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Aug 2010, 320 pages
    Aug 2011, 320 pages

  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse First Impression Reviewers

Buy This Book

About this Book


Page 4 of 4
There are currently 31 reader reviews for The Tower, the Zoo, and the Tortoise
Order Reviews by:

Write your own review!

Marie H. (Salem, MA) (08/09/10)

The Tower, The Zoo, and The Tortoise
It is a quirky, light hearted novel and a delightful read. I think it would appeal more to readers that like authors such as Alexander McCall Smith. It is not a mystery but revolves around characters of a certain place--the Tower of London. After reading this book, I have an entirely new view of the Tower. I can't wait to revisit it.
Nan G. (Mazomanie, WI) (08/09/10)

Sweet but not too....
A delightful book, perfect for a summer day on the porch. Sweet, quirky and bittersweet, it held my interest and left me wanting to know what happens after it ends!
Power Reviewer Suzanne G. (Tucson, AZ) (08/07/10)

Love, Love, Love
This is a great book. Not knowing about the Tower of London, I learned so much. The characters are wonderful. I had two or three laughs per page. This was such a pleasing read. I have to disagree with one review: I found no repetitiveness of phrases within the book. But then, I was enjoying myself so much my criticism took a back seat!
Sandra L. (Delray Beach, FL) (08/04/10)

The Tower, The Zoo, and The Tortoise
While reading this engaging story, I felt as though I was on an unexpected vacation. The hilarious (and sometimes very poignant) descriptions of the tower residents (animals included) was a delight. The Tower of London seems like a character in its own right . The history is fascinating. I would love to work with Hebe and Valarie at the London Underground Lost Property Office! "The Tower, The Zoo, and The Tortoise" hit the right note with me - I found it charming and very entertaining! - Very uplifting.
Heather K. (Brooklyn, NY) (08/01/10)

The Good, the Bad, and the Inexcusable
This novel had potential, but it seems Julia Stuart couldn't decide if she wanted to write a "whimsical" novel about quirky British folk trapped, in contemporary fashion, in London Tower, or a more serious novel dealing with the terrible grief two parents feel after the loss of their only child. So she's tried to do both, and it doesn't work.

Stuart has a pretty way with words (ohhh, more on THAT later), and did a fine job in bringing out the personalities of her characters, even those who have minor parts. I like the clever allegorical twists she's thrown in, too, and of course the history is indeed fascinating. And I could have forgiven the imperfect splicing of the storyline, since her characters are complex, sympathetic, hopeful, and (sometimes) hilariously hapless (yup, I did get a few chortles from the book).

But the most heinous issue with this novel is that Stuart is so infatuated with her clever phrases that uses them over and over and ... oh, c'mon ... over again. It took great restraint on my part to not throw the book against the wall after reading, yet again, about "fullsome buttocks." And that's just one of many, many annoying little phrases that Stuart feels compelled to endlessly inject into the novel. This ridiculous conceit doesn't propel the plot or enhance the story, and it really irritated at least one reader! This is inexcusable sloppiness on her editor's part.

So I'm giving the novel an "average" rating because as a novel it was poorly executed, but as a history lesson on the Tower of London it was, in fact, well done. But I wouldn't recommend the book.
Power Reviewer Diana C. (Delray Beach, FL) (08/01/10)

Love and Loss and all things English
As a self-proclaimed Anglophile and a Tower of London enthusiast, of course I was anxious to read Julia Stuart's book. While filled with delicious tidbits about the Tower of London and interesting British history in general, this book is more about the power of love and how it can transform even the deepest of grief. The characters remain somewhat distant due to the author's at-arms'-length narrative, but that doesn't stop them from finding a way of getting inside your heart, keeping you interested in their daily trials and tribulations while they live at the illustrious Tower. A sequel would be grand.
Jane H. (Indianola, IA) (07/30/10)

The Tower, The Zoo, and The Tortise
What a joy to read!!! Come, open the pages and meet a Beefeater of the Tower of London, Balthazar Jones, his wife Hebe, and all their quirky friends, animals and problems.

The author's style of writing tickles your funny bone. SO - put your feet up, open the book and enjoy,enjoy,enjoy!

Beyond the Book:
  The Tower of London

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    by Dan Vyleta
    In Dan Vyleta's universe, set in an alternate Victorian England, people engaging in sinful thought ...
  • Book Jacket: Golden Hill
    Golden Hill
    by Francis Spufford
    Spufford brings American history to raucous life through the story of Mr. Richard Smith, a ...
  • Book Jacket: Midnight at the Electric
    Midnight at the Electric
    by Jodi Lynn Anderson
    The world changes, but humanity stays the same. Whether a book takes place in the year 1510 or 2010,...

Win this book!
Win The Library of Light and Shadow

The Library of Light and Shadow by M.J. Rose

"Possibly her best yet. A sensuous, sumptuous, and spellbinding novel." - Kirkus Reviews


First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Almost Sisters
    by Joshilyn Jackson

    A powerful, emotionally resonant novel of the South.
    Reader Reviews

Word Play

Solve this clue:

T H Are B T O

and be entered to win..

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Atomic Weight of Love by Elizabeth J. Church

In the spirit of The Aviator's Wife, this resonant debut spans from World War II through the Vietnam War.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.