Book Review: The Lion Tamer Who Lost

09.30.2018 | Orenda Books
Rating: 5/5 stars


Ben has always dreamed of going to Africa and saving lions. When his mother passed away he made her a promise that he would follow his dreams, but his recent journey to Zimbabwe to work as a volunteer at a lion sanctuary isn’t motivated by that promise alone. Something traumatic has caused him to want to leave his home in England.

Change is noisy and clanky; it squeals and smashes and scrapes. It rolls cars on ice like metal snowballs.

Andrew has always believed in wishes. He keeps a small silver box he calls his wish box, where he folds up Post-it notes with things he hopes will come true. Every wish he has placed in the box has come true except for one that has lived in the box since he was a small boy.

Ghosts don’t haunt people. People haunt people. Ghosts just wander into the wrong rooms.

Ben and Andrew meet in the library one day by chance. There is an instant connection and Ben steps outside of his usual comfort zone and gives Andrew his phone number. No one knows that Ben is interested in men, so when he forms a relationship with Andrew, he works hard to keep it under wraps. Ben desperately does not want his father to know because he fears he will disown him. Andrew understands this need for secrecy, but also wants everyone to know how wonderful Ben is. In a world swallowed up by secrets, Ben and Andrew, try to cling to what they cherish, but it seems life has another plan. What will become of them and their relationship? What drove Ben to Zimbabwe and will he ever return?

We chose each other. I don’t have to be here – and you don’t have to have me. But we are.

THE LION TAMER WHO LOST is a book of absolute brilliance. Orenda Books always does such an amazing job of promoting their authors and books that I’m constantly stalking their upcoming releases, as well as back titles. When I read the synopsis for this book I knew I needed to read it. Anyone who knows me can tell you, I’m not much for reading a book centering on a love story, but there was something so pure and good about the descriptions of Ben and Andrew, that I wanted to get to know them.

Love goes with us – it is light and has easy-to-grip handles and needs no passport.

Louise Beech is an enchanting writer. I was blown away by how simplistic Beech’s writing style is. Her whole heart is on the page and the story is there in front of you at face value, yet you’re still left with a feeling of wonder and a need to know more about the characters. There is no need for exaggeration or over-the-top plot devices because Beech has created these powerful characters who bring the pages to life all on their own. The plotline is so emotionally driven that I instantly became attached to every character I met, include some of the more minor ones. I truly felt my heart shatter at one point while reading this book and I won’t lie, I cried my eyes out. Reading THE LION TAMER WHO LOST is an emotional journey, but the story is so worth the anxiety and heartache that I would recommend it to readers of any genre. I will miss reading about Ben, Andrew, Will, Ester, and all the amazing characters in this book, but now I know I need to get my hands on more of Beech’s books to replace that longing!

A huge thank you to Orenda Books for providing me with a free copy of this book!

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