Almost exactly two years ago I read and loved Louise Beech’s novel The Mountain in My Shoe. I enjoyed it so much that I included it in my top reads list for 2016. I just had a look at my review for that book (you can read it here if you’d like to) and my opening words are pretty much what I would say about this book too – ‘Do you know what? Just buy it as it’s wonderful’.
This book tells the story of Ben and Andrew. When we first meet Ben, he is volunteering at a lion sanctuary in Africa. Louise Beech created a very vivid picture in my mind of just what that would be like, bringing her setting to life through her descriptions of the heat, the sunrises, the quiet of the morning and the beauty of the landscape. He is fulfilling a promise to his late mother and following a dream. The relationship he builds with young lioness cub Lucy is very moving and teaches him much about loving and letting go. Andrew is a writer working on a book about a boy with a physical disability for whom lions play an important role. Ben and Andrew meet several times unexpectedly with Ben noting ‘you always follow an accident’. The comparisons and parallels in their lives and with the book seem to suggest that fate is playing a hand in their being together. But a wish Andrew made as a young boy and secrets from Ben’s family’s past seem to combine to threaten their happiness.
Louise Beech is so skilled at evoking emotions in her readers with her exquisite writing, or at least in this reader. While following Ben and Andrew’s story I felt emotions ranging from despair to joy, from dread to hope, from sadness to delight. The feelings they experienced were almost tangible so that I imagined I could feel them too. It’s a book which should definitely come with a mascara warning or at least a packet of hankies!
The Lion Tamer Who Lost is simply a stunning book: poignant, touching and above all a beautiful, powerful portrayal of love. The characters and their experiences are unforgettable and will stay with me. It will not surprise you to know that Louise Beech with this outstanding story will also be on my top reads list this year.
My thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me to be part of the blog tour and to Orenda Publishing for my copy of the book. It is available now as an ebook and in paperback. You can order a copy online here: The Lion Tamer Who Lost
From the back of the book
Be careful what you wish for…
Long ago, Andrew made a childhood wish, and kept it in a silver box. When it finally comes true, he wishes he hadn’t…
Long ago, Ben made a promise and he had a dream: to travel to Africa to volunteer at a lion reserve. When he finally makes it, it isn’t for the reasons he imagined…
Ben and Andrew keep meeting in unexpected places, and the intense relationship that develops seems to be guided by fate. Or is it?
What if the very thing that draws them together is tainted by past secrets that threaten everything?
A dark, consuming drama that shifts from Zimbabwe to England, and then back into the past, The Lion Tamer Who Lost is also a devastatingly beautiful love story, with a tragic heart…
About the author
Louise Beech is an exceptional literary talent, whose debut novel How To Be Brave was a Guardian Readers’ Choice for 2015. Her next book, The Mountain in My Shoe was shortlisted for Not the Booker Prize. Maria in the Moon was compared to Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, and widely reviewed. All three books have been number one on Kindle, Audible and Kobo in USA/UK/AU. She regularly writes travel pieces for the Hull Daily Mail, where she was a columnist for ten years. Her short fiction has won the Glass Woman Prize, the Eric Hoffer Award for Prose, and the Aesthetica Creative Works competition, as well as shortlisting for the Bridport Prize twice and being published in a variety of UK magazines. Louise lives with her husband and children on the outskirts of Hull – the UK’s 2017 City of Culture – and loves her job as a Front of House Usher at Hull Truck Theatre, where her first play was performed in 2012
Catch up with the rest of the tour at these fabulous blogs