Source: Review Copy
Publication: e-book 15 July from Orenda Books
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…
There is a special beauty to Louise Beech’s writing that captivates, entrances, and really makes you care about her characters. I think the reason her prose is so rich and rewarding is that she is able to find the extraordinary in the ordinary; to take a story that could easily happen anywhere and weave it into a magical story of love, life and heartfelt emotion that is nothing less than epic.
Ben has felt caged for most of his life, unable to be true to himself, hiding from his family and the world. He has always been a restless child and when he promises his mum that he will fulfill his childhood dream of going to work with lions in Zimbabwe, he little knows that he is setting out on a journey that will lead him to a conclusion he could never imagine.
Andrew once wrote down his wish and kept it in a silver box. He never knew his father and now he has written a book that Ben is immersed in. Their lives keep intersecting in myriad ways but ultimately it is what draws them together that will keep them apart.
This beautifully crafted story takes us from the past in East Yorkshire to the stunning plains of Zimbabwe and a sanctuary which helps to rescue lions and release them back into the wild. Against the wild beauty of this country Ben’s story unfolds and as it does so we learn so much about him, his family and where his heart lies.
For all that the sumptuous background will have you smelling and breathing in the redolent scent of the African days and nights it is in the kitchen of an East Yorkshire home that we will understand the true nature of love and sacrifice.
Moving, honest, and heart-breakingly tender, The Lion Tamer Who Lost had me in tears more than once.
Verdict: A beautiful, poignant, stand out book of 2018. I urge you to read it.
About Louise Beech
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. Both 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. She is also part of the Mums’ Army on Lizzie and Carl’s BBC Radio Humberside Breakfast Show.