About 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 it 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?
Louise Beech has been on my radar for a while but this is the first book of hers that I have read – something that I am going to have to remedy as wow, can she write! The Lion Tamer Who Lost tells the story of Ben and Andrew, who meet in a library, feel an immediate connection to one another and begin a relationship. When we meet Ben he is in Zimbabwe following his dream of working with lions and cubs and rehabilitating them to go back into the wild. Something has happened to Andrew and Ben, but we don’t know what and through a timeline that propels us forward via Ben’s time in Africa and flashbacks to their relationship their tale is gradually unveiled. That is all I can tell you about the plot as it would massively spoil it but what I will tell you is that is a wonderfully written and evocative novel that I couldn’t put down.
The chapters in Zimbabwe were astounding and I really felt like I was there. I loved the descriptions of the lions and how Louise Beech used the relationship Ben built with a cub, Lucy to show us how kind, gentle and loving he is. I fell in love with this little lion cub and adored reading about her and seeing her grow and develop. The trip to Zimbabwe has been a long held dream of Ben’s and it is only in hindsight that we fully understand how much he grows during his time there and how important it is.
I loved that the book ran on two timelines and that there was a hint of a mystery in this love story. Ben and Andrew’s relationship is touching and real and is complicated by Ben’s family situation. His mother is dead, his older brother is in the army on deployment and neither he nor his alcoholic father know that Ben is gay, never mind in a relationship with Andrew. His worry and fear is palpable and he struggles to find the words to tell his homophobic dad that he is in love with a man. Louise Beech strikes the right balance in the sensitive way she writes these scenes with Ben’s father being wholly recognisable as a man of a narrow-minded of a certain age yet he is never cartoonish or grotesque. It is the casual homophobic remarks that cut the deepest for Ben who just wants to be fully himself with his family.
I wasn’t quite sure where this book was going to go when I first started reading it and it took me on a different ride to the one I was expecting. It is a gorgeous book which is just pure quality storytelling. It is fully immersive with rich and detailed writing and is an utterly compelling love story.
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.
My thanks to Orenda Books and Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for the invitation to join the Blog Tour and for a copy of the book in return for an honest review. The Lion Tamer Who Lost is out now in ebook and is published on the 20th September in paperback and it can be pre-ordered here.