Well, today I discovered a new book called The Tower, The Zoo and The Tortoise by Julia Stuart. The publisher, Random House, describes the book as such:
Balthazar Jones has lived in the Tower of London with his loving wife, Hebe, and his 120-year-old pet tortoise for the past eight years. That’s right, he is a Beefeater (they really do live there). It’s no easy job living and working in the tourist attraction in present-day London.
Among the eccentric characters who call the Tower’s maze of ancient buildings and spiral staircases home are the Tower’s Rack & Ruin barmaid, Ruby Dore, who just found out she’s pregnant; portly Valerie Jennings, who is falling for ticket inspector Arthur Catnip; the lifelong bachelor Reverend Septimus Drew, who secretly pens a series of principled erotica; and the philandering Ravenmaster, aiming to avenge the death of one of his insufferable ravens.
When Balthazar is tasked with setting up an elaborate menagerie within the Tower walls to house the many exotic animals gifted to the Queen, life at the Tower gets all the more interesting. Penguins escape, giraffes are stolen, and the Komodo dragon sends innocent people running for their lives. Balthazar is in charge and things are not exactly running smoothly. Then Hebe decides to leave him and his beloved tortoise “runs” away.
Filled with the humor and heart that calls to mind the delightful novels of Alexander McCall Smith, and the charm and beauty of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, The Tower, the Zoo, and the Tortoise is a magical, wholly original novel whose irresistible characters will stay with you long after you turn the stunning last page.
Notice that last sentence where they compare the book to a certain other book. A certain other book with a particularly long title. A certain other book with a particularly long title that references a kind of dessert I have never before tasted.
Yes, I noticed this new book because it’s been compared to The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. USA Today notes that independent booksellers have made the same connection, as did Library Journal. Now maybe this is because Random House made them think that or maybe The Tower, The Zoo and The Tortoise really does bring the same charm as The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society does.
The suggestion alone is making me consider adding The Tower, The Zoo and The Tortoise to my to-be-read list. Too bad that list is rather long (like both of these book titles, am I right?), but I hope to get to it eventually.