I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher.
Beefeater Balthazar, his family and their 180-year-old tortoise live in the Tower of London. Balthazar and his wife are still reeling from the loss of their young son three years ago. As they struggle to maintain their lives and marriage, they are surrounded by a lively and amusing cast of characters. When Balthazar is given the responsibility of maintaining the Tower's new menagerie of animals, his life will never be the same.
Full of interesting trivia about the Tower and its history, this is an utterly charming story about the inhabitants of the Tower and the challenges of their daily lives. Everyone seems to have a secret. I found myself laughing out loud many times while also tearing up at some of the more endearing and heartwrending parts. The bizarre cast of characters doesn't stop at the animals and the ancient tortoise. There is a lovesick vicar who writes erotic fiction, a philandering Ravenmaster, a Head Yeoman plagued by ghosts and many others. I didn't want it to end. I can definitely envision this as a film. Or, better yet, a BBC show. All of the characters are interesting and speak to our own desires and secrets.
BOTTOM LINE: Highly recommended. Absolutely charming. Fans of the GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY will like this one. A perfect blend of history and touching fiction.
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