I’d like to thank publisher Karen Sullivan AKA #MamaOrenda for pushing a copy of this into my grubby (well actually they were very clean!) little mitts when I met up with her at Doug Johnstone’s book launch in Edinburgh! And a massive thanks to Orenda and Anne over at randomthingsthroughmyletterbox for inviting me onto the blog tour for “The Lion Tamer Who Lost” from Louise Beech, the only woman able to reduce me to a pile of snotty tears through her magnificent storytelling skills!
Before I share my thoughts, here’s the official blurb:
Long ago Andrew made a childhood wish. One he has always kept in a silver box with a too-big lid that falls off. When it finally comes true, he wishes it hadn’t…
Long ago Ben dreamed of going to Africa to volunteer at a lion reserve. When he finally goes there, it isn’t for the reasons he imagined…
Ben and Andrew keep meeting where they least expect. Some collisions are by design, but are they for a reason? Ben’s father would disown him for his relationship with Andrew, so they must hide their love. Andrew is determined to make it work, but secrets from his past threaten to ruin everything.
Ben escapes to Zimbabwe to finally fulfil his lifelong ambition. But will he ever return to England? To Andrew? To the truth?
A dark and poignant drama, The Lion Tamer Who Lost is also a mesmerisingly beautiful love story, with a tragic heart.
If I were writing this review with pen and paper then there would be huge splodges everywhere as I am properly ugly crying after devouring this book in just one sitting! Without a word of a lie, I could not put it down!
The Lion Tamer who lost is the story of Ben and Andrew, their relationship and their journey. Ben has gone to Africa to fulfil a lifelong dream but he has taken with him a secret that is tearing him apart. Ben is fulfilling a dream, a promise he made to his mother as she was dying but he is also escaping something. We get glimpses of his life in the UK and it is clear that Ben is also desperately trying to run from something. Andrew is left wishing that he had never made his childhood wish and what follows is probably the most emotional and poignant love story I have ever read.
It is not often that I step outside my comfort zone of crime fiction but there is one author whose storytelling skills are so magical that I am sure she casts a spell on me whenever she brings out a book. Louise Beech is one of the most gifted writers I have had the pleasure to meet. She can take an ordinary life and turn it into something so engaging, authentic and truly mesmerizing and so it was my pleasure to lay down my cloak of darkness and lose myself in her latest novel “The Lion Tamer Who Lost”
Ben has sought refuge in a lion sanctuary in Zimbabwe and that opening chapter placed me right in the middle of the scene, I could feel the warm African sun beat down on me, I could smell the heat see the lions in all their glory through the eyes of Ben. Immediately I am transported to another country and another way of life. Such is Louise’s talent, I started to read the story through the eyes of the characters
.Through his relationship with the lions, we explore his relationships with others, his family, Andrew, Esther, one of the other volunteers he has become close to. His internal conflict plays out beautifully and tragically across the pages as we watch him determined to bond with Lucy, the lioness cub he helped rescue. The exquisite narrative weaves both Ben and Andrew’s story drawing the reader deeper and deeper into the lives of the characters. I swear when you read Louise’s books, you absorb the very essence of them, you become the characters within them. The Lion Tamer Who Lost is a story of love, sacrifice, secrets and taboos.
There is so much I could tell you about the story but really you need to read this one for yourself. Louise Beech’s words caress you, they seep inside of you and under your skin, pulling at all your emotions, feeling anguish, love, pain and fear as though you were living and breathing the very pages of the book. This book consumed me, settle yourself down, shut out the world and let it take you on a journey that you will never ever forget.
The Lion Tamer Who Lost is available to purchase from:
Don’t forget to check out what the other bloggers have been saying:
About the author:
Louise Beech is an exceptional literary talent, whose debut novel How To Be
Brave was a Guardian Readers’ Choice for 2015. The sequel, The Mountain in
My Shoe was shortlisted for Not the Booker Prize. Her third book, Maria in
the Moon, was widely reviewed and critically acclaimed. 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. Louise lives with her husband and children on the outskirts of
Hull, and loves her job as a Front of House Usher at Hull Truck Theatre,
where her first play was performed in 2012.