Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech. Thank you to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for the tour invite (always such a pleasure to be involved) and Orenda books for the copy in exchange for my honest thoughts.
Firstly, a little bit about the book
Be careful what you wish for…
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.
The Lion Tamer Who Lost is published by Orenda books and is avaible to buy now in digital form and from 30th September 2018 in paperback…
So, this novel was my first taste of Louise Beech and all I can say is I am in such great awe of her storytelling…
The Lion Tamer Who Lost is a beautiful, complicated and incredibly painful love story between Ben and Andrew. With a dual timeline; set between a Zimbabwe Lion reserve, where Ben is fulfilling a childhood dream of working in a Lion Sanctuary; his past life in Hull, East Yorkshire, and extracts from Andrew’s book – this novel is all so wonderfully weaved together bringing the reader such a compelling and unique story.
I’m not going to go into detail with the plot as it’s one you just need to discover but, from the very get go I could instantly tell that Ben was running away from something, but what I wasn’t sure. The author doesn’t let us into what straight away, instead she sets the scene and wow, what a true sense of place we get – not just from Zimbabwe, but Hull too, with her wonderful descriptive writing.
As a BIG lover of ‘the cat family’ the lion Sanctuary was an utter treat for me in this novel. The African landscape came alive; the heat, the dust, the sun, the smell of the lions… scenes that could of come out of a movie were just so vivid in my head because of the author’s attention to detail. The bond and interactions between Ben and Lucy (the orphaned lion cub) are the ones that most stick in my mind after reading this novel – I loved how their relationship was portrayed and it deeply moved me. Whilst he’s trying to help Lucy find her place and confidence within her pride, he’s having to do so himself, and what they’re both most importantly having to do, is learn to let go.
Whilst the lion setting alone makes this book absolutely worthy enough of a read, there is so much more to this story. This is a story of love, secrets, prejudice, guilt, sexuality and identity; being who you are and being what you want to be. This is a real current and relevant read in today’s world and Beech tackles subjects that still many people deem to be taboo – she handles the LGBTQ with great care and sensitivity. The characters lives you become invested in and deeply come to care for.
The Lion Tamer Who Lost is powerful, raw and emotive storytelling, written in such a beautiful way that I can’t imagine it not cracking the most toughest of hearts.
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
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.
Thank you for taking the time to read my review. As always, a little like or share to spread the word is always most appreciated. The Lion Tamer Who Lost has many stops on it’s tour, so please do follow along with my fellow bloggers.