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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 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.


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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 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.

30 review for The Lion Tamer Who Lost

  1. 5 out of 5

    Berit☀️✨

    A beautiful and poignant love story... A real and raw tale filled with heartbreak, hope, secrets, and truth... A book that seamlessly travels between past and present, Africa and the UK.... This is the story of Ben and Andrew, a love story fraught with prejudice and secrets.... I have to admit I had a bit of a soft spot for Andrew, there was something about him that just was so sweet (for lack of a better word).... you absolutely could feel the connection between these two and really wanted nothi A beautiful and poignant love story... A real and raw tale filled with heartbreak, hope, secrets, and truth... A book that seamlessly travels between past and present, Africa and the UK.... This is the story of Ben and Andrew, a love story fraught with prejudice and secrets.... I have to admit I had a bit of a soft spot for Andrew, there was something about him that just was so sweet (for lack of a better word).... you absolutely could feel the connection between these two and really wanted nothing but the absolute best for them! I love a book that makes you feel strongly for the characters, and this book did just that! I loved with them, I hoped with them, I struggled with them, I cried with them.... I started this book for the beautiful setting of the lion rescue, but I stayed for these amazing characters! An evocative story that will leave you with a lump in your throat and hope in your heart 💕 absolutely recommend for those of you that love a good story that Will illicit all the feels!

  2. 5 out of 5

    The Book Review Café

    Sometimes as a reader a book comes along that blows me away, it doesn’t happen very often I must say. There are books I love and books I will treasure forever and The Lion Tamer Who Lost by the superbly talented Louise Beech falls into the latter. As far as I’m concerned Louise Beech is the “queen” of story telling, this novel was such a compelling and emotive read, and so beautifully written I’m not convinced anything I write will convey how truly wonderful this book was. When Andrew and Ben me Sometimes as a reader a book comes along that blows me away, it doesn’t happen very often I must say. There are books I love and books I will treasure forever and The Lion Tamer Who Lost by the superbly talented Louise Beech falls into the latter. As far as I’m concerned Louise Beech is the “queen” of story telling, this novel was such a compelling and emotive read, and so beautifully written I’m not convinced anything I write will convey how truly wonderful this book was. When Andrew and Ben meet by chance little do they realise their meeting will irrevocably change their destinies forever. Louise Beech has written one of the most powerful love stories I have read in a very long time, The Lion Tamer Who Lost is a story of love, secrets and coincidences, but at the same time it’s also an emotive and beautifully told love story, that will break the most hardened heart into a million pieces. I’m not going to waste words on regurgitating the plot, read the book description if you want, but this is a novel that no book description can do justice to the captivating and bittersweet story that lies within its pages. The Lion Tamer Who Lost is a story that is superbly told, interspersed with extracts from Andrew’s book, and chapters set in the UK and on a Zimbabwe lion reserve. The author writes in such a descriptive way I could feel the heat, the smells, and the sounds of the Lion reserve, bringing scenes I could only dream about to life. For me personally it was the characters that made this such a fabulous read I’m sure Andrew and Ben will be in my thoughts for a long time to come, never have characters had such a profound effect on me, I laughed, I cried and then cried some more. Even Ben’s dad grew on me as the novel progressed despite his bigotry comments and his constant womanising. This is a modern day tale that tackles subjects that many may consider to be taboo, but the author has an incredible way of writing, one that includes sensitivity and beautiful poetic prose that even the most narrow minded readers will find it difficult not to fall in love with this book and it’s characters. The Lion Tamer Who Lost made for an intense, all consuming read, and one I simply adored. All my reviews can be found at http://thebookreviewcafe.com

  3. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    One thing I love about Louise’s books, apart from the beautiful writing of course, is that that they are all so different. Who would have thought that a book about two men falling in love and a lion sanctuary would have worked but in Louise’s hands it turns into a poignant and emotional love story. The story starts in Zimbabwe with 23 year old Ben. He is volunteering at The Liberty Lion Rehabilitation Project and fulfilling his lifelong wish of being with lions. Despite living his dream, he is no One thing I love about Louise’s books, apart from the beautiful writing of course, is that that they are all so different. Who would have thought that a book about two men falling in love and a lion sanctuary would have worked but in Louise’s hands it turns into a poignant and emotional love story. The story starts in Zimbabwe with 23 year old Ben. He is volunteering at The Liberty Lion Rehabilitation Project and fulfilling his lifelong wish of being with lions. Despite living his dream, he is not happy. There is clearly some bad blood between him and his father who he has no wish to contact. Ben’s father does come across as a nice man and it is clear that Ben is withholding something important from him. One thing that stands out in this part of the story is the way that Louise portrays the African landscape, it was a character on its own – the colours, smells and sounds were all intricately described and every scene was bought to life. Back in England we’re with Andrew and hear the story of how he met Ben. Through chapters alternating between past and present and London and Zimbabwe, Andrew and Ben’s story unfolds. Andrew is nearly 40, a writer of children’s books and part of the story follows his journey with his book – ‘The Lion Tamer Who Lost’. A particularly nice touch was that each chapter begins with a short quote from Andrew’s book and we get to know the book characters as well. A book within a book. I don’t want to give away the story here – you need to discover and savour it but I became thoroughly engrossed in Andrew and Ben’s lives and devoured every chapter. In the early chapters I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about Ben, he seemed quite immature for his age and it took me a while to engage with him but once Andrew became part of the story then they both stole a piece of my heart. The characterisation is superb, all are complex with emotional depth, whether a main or minor character. I was on Esther’s side all the way through and even Will, Ben’s father had almost won me over by the end. On another note, it was good to see the return of taxi driver Bob Fracklehurst, who if I remember correctly appeared in The Mountain in My Shoe. That man gets around! We never know what will happen in our lives, things can change in a heartbeat and what we wish for isn’t always what we want. The Lion Tamer Who Lost is a superbly written story that can’t fail to move even the hardest of hearts. Louise Beech has written another stunning book. I loved it.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Helen

    I'm hoping that I can find words to convey just how good this book is! The Lion tamer Who Lost is a story about Ben and Andrew and a wish that Andrew once wrote down and kept in a silver box ... Ben lost his mum to cancer and has a difficult relationship with his 'playboy', prejudiced, old-school father, Andrew never knew his father. Many coincidences bring them together resulting in passionate love, tragic hurt, self-sacrifice and the ultimate relationship taboo . For the fourth time in success I'm hoping that I can find words to convey just how good this book is! The Lion tamer Who Lost is a story about Ben and Andrew and a wish that Andrew once wrote down and kept in a silver box ... Ben lost his mum to cancer and has a difficult relationship with his 'playboy', prejudiced, old-school father, Andrew never knew his father. Many coincidences bring them together resulting in passionate love, tragic hurt, self-sacrifice and the ultimate relationship taboo . For the fourth time in succession I'm blown away with Louise Beech's story telling, she has a knack of getting you so invested in her characters that you actually share their emotions and care deeply about what she makes happen to them. The writing is just beautiful, as always, the characters are richly drawn and the story is so deftly woven, inter-spaced with extracts from Andrew's book and set in the UK and on a Zimbabwe lion reserve. Prepare for the emotional journey of a lifetime - I defy you not to be deeply moved by this book. Eagerly waiting the fifth from Louise Beech - one of my absolute go-to authors.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Nikola

    3.5 stars You can also find this review on my book blog. I have seen this book on Twitter and saw that it’s LGBTQ+ so I immediately had to get a copy of it and read it! I found the synopsis of the book to sound very interesting because of different settings the story takes place in. The Lion Tamer Who Lost is a book about two people, Ben and Andrew, who seem to meet each other in unusual circumstances and quite often. From the moment Ben sets eyes of Andrew [in a library] he falls for him and s 3.5 stars You can also find this review on my book blog. I have seen this book on Twitter and saw that it’s LGBTQ+ so I immediately had to get a copy of it and read it! I found the synopsis of the book to sound very interesting because of different settings the story takes place in. The Lion Tamer Who Lost is a book about two people, Ben and Andrew, who seem to meet each other in unusual circumstances and quite often. From the moment Ben sets eyes of Andrew [in a library] he falls for him and something gives him courage to leave his number in a book Andrew was reading. Fast forward to some more coincidence-meetings and they start a relationship with each other. They spent much of their time together, hanging out at Ben’s place, going to the circus etc. Ben’s father is a peculiar being who drinks a lot, Ben is afraid that his father wouldn’t accept his sexuality so he keeps it quiet. During their relationship Ben and Andrew learn a lot about each other, Ben shares that he always wanted to travel to Africa and take care of lions while Andrew shows Ben a wish box he believes is magical. Ben goes to Africa, but why has he gone? What happened between Ben and Andrew? I love that this book is LGBTQ+ because I feel like it would’ve been boring if it wasn’t. I found The Lion Tamer Who Lost to be an interesting read filled with heart and great writing but I did have some issues with it. My issues with it are based on my tastes (of course) and some may disagree with me but this bothered me: I found the book to be predictable at times and felt that there were cliches in it. I have to keep this review spoiler free so I can’t get into exactly what bothered me but I can say that the tragedy in the book was something I found to be okay for this story [meaning it compels you to read on] even though I didn’t find it necessary. Ben and Andrew’s love story is something I loved reading about and the author made them come to life with her writing. The chapters alternate between past and present and we have a number of parts which are titled BEN and ANDREW. Out of both main characters in this book I found Andrew to be most likable and so sweet. I loved Andrew and enjoyed reading his parts the most. Aside from my issues with it I believe that many people will enjoy picking this book up and I salute Louise for writing an LGBTQ+ book because we need more of them in the world. The Lion Tamer Who Lost is a love story between Ben and Andrew that begins as a series of meet-cutes which eventually forms into a love story that grabs you and doesn’t let go until the very end. I would like to thank the publisher Orenda Books for sending a copy of this book my way in exchange for an honest review. All opinions mentioned here are my own and weren’t influenced by anything.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Cathy Ryan

    Ben is fulfilling a long held dream, and a promise he made years ago, although he never could have envisaged the circumstances that finally brought the dream to reality. Nevertheless here he is, a volunteer at the Liberty Lion Rehabilitation Project in Zimbabwe and it seems he isn’t the only one escaping from love and life. Fate, destiny, call it what you will, brought Andrew and Ben together with a series of meetings—some by design, some by chance. The connection they felt was immediate. Andrew Ben is fulfilling a long held dream, and a promise he made years ago, although he never could have envisaged the circumstances that finally brought the dream to reality. Nevertheless here he is, a volunteer at the Liberty Lion Rehabilitation Project in Zimbabwe and it seems he isn’t the only one escaping from love and life. Fate, destiny, call it what you will, brought Andrew and Ben together with a series of meetings—some by design, some by chance. The connection they felt was immediate. Andrew is an author of children’s books and lovely snippets of his latest work head each chapter. He believes if you wish for something that could be possible it will come true. His most precious wish eventually did come true, but at a great and tragic cost and leaving him with a dilemma that, either way, will not be resolved happily. Ben and Esther, another volunteer at the reserve, are included in the rescue of two lion cubs which are brought back to the compound. Ben is tasked with trying to bond with the female cub, who he named Lucy, while Esther tries to bond with the male cub. The story alternates between Ben and Andrew, England and Zimbabwe at a steady pace, their recollections showing the coincidences that brought them together and their growing relationship, the shared love of lions, Ben’s home life and the complicated relationship with his alcoholic father. Ben’s mother died when he was a young boy and his older brother joined the army, so there was only Ben and his father at home. In the main the characters are flawed, complex and incredibly well defined, the depth of their emotions exceptionally moving, each keeping events and feelings to themselves, unsure of how they would be received. The writing is powerfully evocative, the story extremely well crafted, poignant, touching and compelling, and I loved the fascinating insights into a lion sanctuary and the work they do. The Lion Tamer Who Lost was such an emotional read and explores complicated issues such as love, family, ignorance, fear, acceptance and more, with sensitivity and compassion. It’s quite a while since I’ve needed to have tissues to hand. The vivid descriptions of Zimbabwe give an immediate sense of place and imagery from the start—the heat, dust, sounds, the spectacular scenery and even the representation of the lions.

  7. 4 out of 5

    S.E. Lynes

    Louise Beech does it again. The setting for this book alone makes it worth a read - the lion sanctuary in Kenya is a visual treat and, as ever, the lightly handled background metaphor of a place where damaged beings go to recover provides a sumptuous backdrop which does its work on the reader's subconscious while they enjoy the action of the story. Love, complicated families and the hurtful things people say and do to one another out of fear, love and ignorance feature here, as well as messy rel Louise Beech does it again. The setting for this book alone makes it worth a read - the lion sanctuary in Kenya is a visual treat and, as ever, the lightly handled background metaphor of a place where damaged beings go to recover provides a sumptuous backdrop which does its work on the reader's subconscious while they enjoy the action of the story. Love, complicated families and the hurtful things people say and do to one another out of fear, love and ignorance feature here, as well as messy relationships and the mistakes flawed human beings make whilst trying so hard not to. At the heart of the story is Ben, whose upbringing has made it difficult to come to terms with his sexuality. He goes to Africa to escape a broken heart and to say anymore is to risk spoiling the story so I won't. Suffice to say that Beech manages to make her characters do and say unforgivable things to one another and have the reader forgive them all immediately with an effortlessness that is enviable. A moving read, which earns its five stars.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Tracy Fenton

    There is absolutely no doubt that Louise Beech is an incredible storyteller. Each of her books are filled with beautiful and poignant messages. The settings are always so descriptive and atmospheric and it’s easy to get utterly engrossed in her books. The Lion Tamer Who Lost is her latest novel and it’s difficult to review without containing spoilers. This book is a love story, a tale of secrets, guilt, confusion, bigotry and shame, beautifully woven together through the narration of Ben and Andrew There is absolutely no doubt that Louise Beech is an incredible storyteller. Each of her books are filled with beautiful and poignant messages. The settings are always so descriptive and atmospheric and it’s easy to get utterly engrossed in her books. The Lion Tamer Who Lost is her latest novel and it’s difficult to review without containing spoilers. This book is a love story, a tale of secrets, guilt, confusion, bigotry and shame, beautifully woven together through the narration of Ben and Andrew. I was transported to the Lion Sanctuary in Africa through the authors stunning poetic and descriptive writing style. As much as I adore this author’s work, my only niggle would be the coincidence which unfortunately is a slight bugbear of mine and purely because of that I gave this book 4 stars.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jack Jordan

    It’s official: Louise Beech could warm the coldest of hearts. Every so often I come across a book where the characters are so well drawn and so beautifully flawed and real that I have to remind myself that they aren’t real once the book is over. Ben is definitely one of those characters for me. His frustration with life and love is so evident that it’s impossible not to feel it with him. Heartbreaking and so profoundly moving.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Joanne Robertson

    I left it quite late to read this new masterpiece from the wonderfully gifted author Louise Beech so when something happened in my family recently I realised that Louise’s book possibly wasn’t the best one to read at that particular time. The reason being that Louise Beech has an exceptionally rare gift of being able to evoke such strong emotions in her readers that I knew it would affect me deeply. And that if I started crying I probably wouldn’t be able to stop. But I LOVE Louise’s writing so I left it quite late to read this new masterpiece from the wonderfully gifted author Louise Beech so when something happened in my family recently I realised that Louise’s book possibly wasn’t the best one to read at that particular time. The reason being that Louise Beech has an exceptionally rare gift of being able to evoke such strong emotions in her readers that I knew it would affect me deeply. And that if I started crying I probably wouldn’t be able to stop. But I LOVE Louise’s writing so much and had been looking forward to The Lion Tamer Who Lost for such a long time that when I couldn’t sleep the other night, I opened it up…and didn’t put it down again until 3 and a half hours later when I finished it. And then I sobbed my heart out for about an hour!!! This book broke down all the barriers I had constructed around myself and to be honest, it was just what I needed. Everything about this book worked for me. It drew me in so gradually, that I actually lost track of time and everything happening around me. I became intensely and completely involved in the lives of both Ben and Andrew, more so once those two lives then became entwined. The setting of the lion reserve where Ben volunteered was so vividly brought to life I could almost feel the heat of that African sun bearing down on me. The relationship Ben developed with the lioness cub Lucy was a joy to watch as their mutual trust evolved and it brought a lump to my throat. But that was nothing compared to the emotions that came along later. The relationships that followed were real, complicated, heartbreaking, intense and painful but I was unable to tear myself away from the inevitability of the outcomes of these connections. I love this woman’s books so much-Louise Beech is a literary genius!!!And she even manages to get better with every single book that she brings out! But although I found myself completely caught up in the haunting atmosphere and the powerful emotions it stirred within me, I didn’t actually cry until it finished. But by the closing pages this book had burrowed its way into my heart, and those final few words then exploded in there, broke it and me into a million pieces. I was a snotty, hyperventilating mess by the end. I was involved in the cover reveal for The Lion Tamer Who Lost which was a huge honour for me and I loved the original cover. But that cover was changed and I can see why now that I’ve read the book. This new cover captures the heart and soul of this stunning piece of literature perfectly. It’s a beautifully written piece of fiction about love, loss, humanity and forgiveness. Don’t read without tissues!!!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Louisa Treger

    I am a huge admirer of Louise Beech’s writing and have loved her previous three novels. She is a wonderfully diverse author – all her books are completely different from one another – and she is a born storyteller, with the power to draw you into the world she creates and to make you emotionally invested in her characters. THE LION TAMER WHO LOST is every bit as compelling as its predecessors. There’s much exquisite writing and a great sense of place, transporting the reader to the vast open pla I am a huge admirer of Louise Beech’s writing and have loved her previous three novels. She is a wonderfully diverse author – all her books are completely different from one another – and she is a born storyteller, with the power to draw you into the world she creates and to make you emotionally invested in her characters. THE LION TAMER WHO LOST is every bit as compelling as its predecessors. There’s much exquisite writing and a great sense of place, transporting the reader to the vast open plains of Africa, or to East Yorkshire with the same ease and dexterity. I loved the structure and the dual points of view of Ben and Andrew: each fills in gaps for the reader that the other’s accounts leave out. But I think that my favourite thing of all is how well Louise depicts her characters’ emotional lives: the central love story between Ben and Andrew is achingly poignant and rings absolutely true. THE LION TAMER WHO LOST is a captivating exploration of love, guilt, loss, prejudice and redemption. I can’t wait to see what this author comes up with next!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Laura Rash

    I’m gutted. Darn you Louise! As with all of her books, LB has a way of sucking you into the story from the first page & wraps you into the characters so much you feel their every emotion. I lost count of how many quotes I wrote down to try and remember. I lost count of how many times I put the book down and sat in stunned silence & a few times in tears. Raw, emotional yet somehow hopeful this book is incredibly beautiful. Thanks to Orenda for this early copy:)

  13. 5 out of 5

    Stephen Donovan

    4.5 stars This is a book that has the ability to whisk you away on an utterly captivating journey, from both a literary and an emotional perspective. Beautifully written throughout and with a profoundly bittersweet plot that contains numerous layers, it explores sensitive themes with style along the way and leaves you in no doubt that Louise Beech is one of the most versatile authors around. The depth of the story is such that it can fit into one of several genres. The romance element is right at 4.5 stars This is a book that has the ability to whisk you away on an utterly captivating journey, from both a literary and an emotional perspective. Beautifully written throughout and with a profoundly bittersweet plot that contains numerous layers, it explores sensitive themes with style along the way and leaves you in no doubt that Louise Beech is one of the most versatile authors around. The depth of the story is such that it can fit into one of several genres. The romance element is right at the very heart of it, although it can equally be seen as a family drama or a work of contemporary fiction. Each of these aspects fall expertly into place and combine to create a compelling narrative that is just as uplifting as it is heartbreaking. The story begins in Zimbabwe, where Ben is volunteering at a lion sanctuary. He helps to rear an injured lioness and release her back into the wild, fulfilling a long-held promise to his deceased mother. At the same time, he is involved in a relationship with fellow volunteer Esther while hiding the fact that he is gay. Ben is also severely troubled by the events that took place in his life before he left for Zimbabwe. We are taken back to the moment six months earlier when he meets Andrew, an author of children's books. They instantly feel a connection to one another and a series of happy coincidences bring them together. A passionate romance ensues, but then a major revelation changes everything and both men fail to come to terms with what happens next. To make matters worse, Andrew is unwell and Ben has to cope with the fallout from the indiscretions of his bigoted father, Will. However, this outline of the plot does not do justice to the quality of the storytelling, the amount of imagination that the book contains, or the level of poignancy it manages to evoke. It is written in such a way that it is almost impossible not to feel an emotional connection towards the two main characters. From almost the moment Ben is introduced, you could sense his complexity. I was intrigued to find out what had taken him to Zimbabwe and what he had left behind. Andrew was also a very well developed character. Both were fairly likeable, but I appreciated the fact that they also had their flaws. There were other things that made Ben and Andrew unique. First we have Andrew's wish box, which illustrates one of the main recurring themes within the book and acts as an important symbolic plot point. Then there are Ben's 'mis-words, which are a fascinating concept and made the story memorable in a different way. As for the supporting characters, Will has a lot of inherent flaws, but he is also given a lot of dimensions and his story is very well developed as a result. Everything that happened with Mike and Kimberley felt a bit too much like a soap opera for me, but I did love the way it was resolved. The Lion Tamer Who Lost is actually the title of Andrew's new book, so it is in fact a book within a book. Each chapter begins with a short extract, which all have a fable-like quality. I absolutely loved the way that all of these extracts seemed to mirror the events of the actual book in a metaphorical way. It was clear that a lot of work had gone into this book in regards to the lions, too. The lions, their behaviour, and their relationship with Ben and the rest of the volunteers played an integral part in the plot. They also added a uniqueness and an extra perspective to the book as a whole. The writing is extremely good from start to finish. To say that the story is told using dual timelines and tenses and travels back and forth between two different settings, makes it sound complicated, but in reality it is easy to follow throughout. It moves along at a consistently good pace and there are many lines that carry a lot of meaning, as well as some quirky similes. The only thing about the plot that made me sceptical was the number of coincidences. Overall, this was a fabulous read that has certainly left a lasting impact on me. The writing is powerful and emotive, while the story travels to so many different places and confronts a number of interesting themes. But it is the characters who truly drive this affecting story.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    4.5 - beautifully written

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kathy - Books & Munches

    When I first heard of this book, I was intrigued immediately. It sounded like something I would pick up but.. on the other hand, it also sounded like something I wouldn't pick up - if you get what I mean. The LGBTQIA+ part of this novel immediately spoke to me, but I wasn't really sure about the homophobic impression I got from the blurb. I'm glad I ended up reading it anyway because.. I don't regret it one bit! Of course, I'm starting with the thing I already mentioned. Both our main characters When I first heard of this book, I was intrigued immediately. It sounded like something I would pick up but.. on the other hand, it also sounded like something I wouldn't pick up - if you get what I mean. The LGBTQIA+ part of this novel immediately spoke to me, but I wasn't really sure about the homophobic impression I got from the blurb. I'm glad I ended up reading it anyway because.. I don't regret it one bit! Of course, I'm starting with the thing I already mentioned. Both our main characters are queer. Of one them mentions being gay, the other never puts an actual label on his sexuality. Nevertheless, the LGBTQIA-representation is present and I absolutely loved it. Typing this, I'm reminded of the dedication at the start of the book, where Louise Beech thanks someone for telling her that "love is love, no matter who it's between". My day was made before I actually started reading, people. The settings of this novel is the second thing that blew my mind. Set in both the UK and at a lion reserve in Zimbabwe, I felt a unique vibe to this story. On one hand, you find yourself in a known, busy setting. A normal setting. On the other hand, you get acquainted with a place you might never go yourself. A lion reserve. It sounded amazing and wonderful, yet harsh and difficult at the same time. Switching between those settings, you also switch between POV's. You get both Ben's and Andrew's side of the story. Not only that - you also switch between past and present! Going from the now - when Ben finds himself in Zimbabwe - to the "back then", where his relationship with Andrew unfolds and takes you on the journey as to how he ended up at the lion reserve. You're dragged into their story and can't help but feel for them as it unfolds. There are definitely some things I struggled with while reading, but.. in a good way because it added to the story and was necessary for Andrew and Ben to tell their tales. This might be spoiler-y but I believe it's important to mention for those who might struggle with this more than I did. The main thing was how Ben, at a certain point, fights his own queer nature by doing things that - felt to me - went against the core of his self. Simply because he was too scared to come out. I really, really hurt for him and even cried at one point because I just.. couldn't. The other - smaller - thing is the presence of his father, who Ben said is homophobic. It cannot be easy growing up with a person like that when you're trying to accept yourself, let alone Ben's fear of coming out because of it. Sure, these things might cause issues for other readers - I realize that - but I really believe those two aspects added a lot to the story and needed to be present. I can only conclude I absolutely fell in love with Ben and Andrew. The Lion Tamer Who Lost is a tale of passion, love, sacrifice, finding and accepting yourself written in a beautiful, enticing manner. 5/5

  16. 4 out of 5

    Thebooktrail

    A novel about a gay love affair and a lion sanctuary - you wouldn't think these two things would work together in a novel but they do. And the meaning of the title in particular when you realise what it really means is a nice touch and brings everything together. It was fascinating to read the scenes set in a lion sanctuary especially when I discovered the author had never been to one. You'd never think it at all! Shows you the power of good research and the emotions you can evoke on the page wit A novel about a gay love affair and a lion sanctuary - you wouldn't think these two things would work together in a novel but they do. And the meaning of the title in particular when you realise what it really means is a nice touch and brings everything together. It was fascinating to read the scenes set in a lion sanctuary especially when I discovered the author had never been to one. You'd never think it at all! Shows you the power of good research and the emotions you can evoke on the page with good writing. A VERY emotional read. Louise Beech what are you doing to me! Your writing is lovely and evocative and you made me care for what happened to Andrew and Ben. Did not see the ending at all!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Yvonne (It's All About Books)

    Finished reading: October 19th 2019 "He had nothing again. Nothing he knew, understood well, was familiar with. But nothing is so much harder after you've briefly had something." (view spoiler)[ After reading Call Me Star Girl earlier this year, I had no other option but to add Louise Beech to my list of favorite authors immediately. I've been looking forward to read more of her work ever since, although I was also a tad worried as I wasn't sure how anything could live up to expectations a Finished reading: October 19th 2019 "He had nothing again. Nothing he knew, understood well, was familiar with. But nothing is so much harder after you've briefly had something." (view spoiler)[ After reading Call Me Star Girl earlier this year, I had no other option but to add Louise Beech to my list of favorite authors immediately. I've been looking forward to read more of her work ever since, although I was also a tad worried as I wasn't sure how anything could live up to expectations after such a brilliant first impression. I shouldn't have doubted the power of the words of Louise Beech, because The Lion Tamer Who Lost once again blew me away. It's been over a week since I finished this heartrending story, and I'm still struggling to put my thoughts together into a somewhat coherent review. I guess it seems to start becoming the standard when it comes to Orenda titles! That said, after many days of procrastinating, it's time to finally force myself to sit down and get those words on paper. So, The Lion Tamer Who Lost. I've thought long and hard about what my next Louise Beech read was going to be and even asked the opinion of fellow Orenda readers... This seemed to be the title that was mentioned most, and while contemporary romance isn't exactly my favorite genre, I love stepping out of my comfort zone every once in a while and let a story surprise me. And surprise me it did! I can now add Louise Beech to the short list of authors who can actually make me enjoy the contemporary romance genre... Trust me, not a small feat. This is also a thing I love of her books: just how different and unique each story is! There are not many authors out there who can successfully tackle more than one genre; Louise Beech not only succeeds in that but takes your breath away in the process. There are so many different elements to love in The Lion Tamer Who Lost, and I'm having a hard time figuring out where to start. But I guess that with such a title, an easy option is the fact that part of the story is set in a lion reserve in Zimbabwe. Talk about an original setting! The many detailed descriptions truly made the lion reserve come alive for me and I loved the fact that the lions play such a big role in the story. I have a special love for any member in the cat family, so seeing Lucy and the others being treated almost like extra characters was a wonderful bonus for me. Likewise, I really enjoyed reading about the lion reserve in general and the different volunteers being there at the same time as main character Ben. While the main focus of the story is of course on Ben and Andrew, I loved just how detailed the character development of the other characters involved was. It added even more dept to what was already a fantastic story! I just mentioned Ben and Andrew, and they are definitely part of the reason this story works so well. I'm not a big romance fan in general, but I can make a wholehearted exception for my boys Ben and Andrew. I was drawn towards both characters from the very beginning, and I loved seeing both their characters and relationship evolve over time. They won over my heart, made me root for them and then pulled out that very same heart and made it shatter into a million little pieces... I don't want to reveal too much of the plot to avoid spoilers, but while I didn't actually cry (I almost never do, so that's no surprise) I ended up with a huge lump in my throat and in need of an emergency baking session to soothe myself. Any story that is able to provoke such strong emotions is without doubt a little masterpiece to me! Especially one that is so beautifully written and simply both heartwarming and heartbreaking at that. The Lion Tamer Who Lost also includes other intriguing and sometimes difficult elements such as the LGBT element and the struggle to come out and be accepted as you are, family issues and the battle against cancer. All elements are respectfully and realistically developed and successfully incorporated into what is a rich and intricate plot. Different point of views are used to let us learn more about both Andrew, Ben and even his father... Instead of confusing you, these switches only help enriching this story. I also loved that Andrew writes and hopes to become a successful writer, and that we get a glimpse of what this journey is like through his character. I also loved that little snippets of his story are shared at the beginning of the chapters. It really gave The Lion Tamer Who Lost another unique touch while also given the title an extra meaning. And I loved the idea behind Andrew's wish box as well! I can keep rambling about the things I loved in The Lion Tamer Who Lost, but I think it's pretty obvious by now just how much I enjoyed this story. Whether contemporary romance and drama is your thing or not, you should simply give this story a chance as the words of Louise Beech are like magic and will fully mesmerize you before you finish the first chapter. Alluring, heartrending and simply irresistible... This story will give you all the feels as well as break your heart into a million pieces before you reach that final page! (hide spoiler)] P.S. Find more of my reviews here.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Mairead Hearne (swirlandthread.com)

    ‘Be careful what you wish for….Be careful who you love…’ The Lion Tamer Who Lost is the fourth novel from Louise Beech. Published by the fabulous Orenda Books, it is described as ‘a devastatingly beautiful love story with a dark and tragic heart’. A novel exploring LGBTQ themes, it tells the fateful tale of a beautiful love that is tarnished by secrets of the past. This is a book that you might need the Kleenex for folks…you have been warned!! Ben is a troubled soul. Now on a lion reserve in Zi ‘Be careful what you wish for….Be careful who you love…’ The Lion Tamer Who Lost is the fourth novel from Louise Beech. Published by the fabulous Orenda Books, it is described as ‘a devastatingly beautiful love story with a dark and tragic heart’. A novel exploring LGBTQ themes, it tells the fateful tale of a beautiful love that is tarnished by secrets of the past. This is a book that you might need the Kleenex for folks…you have been warned!! Ben is a troubled soul. Now on a lion reserve in Zimbabwe, Ben is searching for escape. Slow to make friends and very much a loner, Ben is struggling to come to terms with the many difficulties in his life. While there, he takes on the responsibility of a young lion cub, Lucy. Lucy and her twin brother, Chuma, are orphaned. Without the assistance of the reserve, these poor siblings would find it very challenging to survive alone in the jungle. Ben spends his days, and many nights, helping Lucy and forming a very tentative bond with her. This time he spends alone with Lucy gives him the opportunity to straighten out some of his own thoughts, in an attempt to make sense of the direction his life has taken. Ben’s mother passed away when he was younger. His brother went into the army, leaving Ben at home with a father who had his own troubles to deal with. His father has a serious drink problem as well as many other issues, making life for Ben very, very tough. Andrew is a writer, many years older than Ben. They meet in the college library before Ben’s trip to Africa takes place. Andrew is attempting to gather his thoughts together in the hope of someday releasing a children’s book. His idea for the book is about a little boy with challenges of his own, an inspirational book for kids entitled The Lion Tamer Who Lost. From their initial meeting it is very clear that their paths will cross again and inevitably it does. Andrew lives a very private life, letting few into his personal space. When he meets Ben, he knows there is something very special about him, something fragile and rare. The Lion Tamer Who Lost explores the relationship between Ben and Andrew. Ben has his own history with his father and seems to be battling life on so many levels. When we join him in Zimbabwe, his life has changed beyond recognition and will continue to do so. Ben and Andrew, Andrew and Ben. Their story has that Romeo & Juliet feel about it, that of ‘the star-crossed lovers’. Andrew believes in wishes but, only ever in a wish that is possible. From a young age he has kept one wish locked away, one he can never imagine happening, yet one he had always hoped for. The tagline of this book is ‘Be careful what you wish for..' and in Andrew’s case he makes a discovery that will have an impact on his future and that of many others, when his wish finally comes true. The Lion Tamer Who Lost is a very poignant novel, dealing with so many issues, that, as a society, we are striving to improve upon. Louise Beech has captured a moment, a sweet and beautiful moment, that as a reader, you wish could be locked away and cherished forever but alas, life will always intervene. The story of Ben and Andrew is filled with love and regrets, grief and heart break. The Lion Tamer Who Lost is quite an intense read, quite an emotional read, but also, for me, it is a book filled with a magical energy. Love can happen anywhere, between any two people, regardless of gender, colour or creed. The problem is with us, as a society, and how we perceive this love. Louise Beech has written a book that will hopefully open a few minds to the fact that ‘being different’ is ok. The Lion Tamer Who Lost is a heartbreaking tale, a novel that will leave it’s mark on you and will make you think….. I will leave with you with this beautiful quote from the ‘novel within a novel’ of The Lion Tamer Who Lost.. ‘You never dance alone, you are always dancing on the bigger feet of those who loved you first’ Passionate. Sensitive. Touching.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Lainy

    Time taken to read - in and out over 2 days Pages - 350 Publisher - Orenda Source - Bought Blurb from Goodreads 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 Time taken to read - in and out over 2 days Pages - 350 Publisher - Orenda Source - Bought Blurb from Goodreads 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. My Review We open with Ben in Zimbabwe, in a lion reserve doing what most of us would love to, being close to and helping save lions from the mess humans have created. Whilst Ben is over there, his heart and thoughts are in England with another. As the chapters roll on we get to not only experience the privileged of being so close to such magnificent beasts and travel via book location to a country I likely will never see. We know Ben has ran from something or rather left something behind but it isn't until the book opens up do we get to know its secrets. The location and book goes between Ben and Andrew, their relationship, how they met and how they impacted on each other. Andrew is older, a writer struggling to get published and both he and Ben share their love of lions and it isn't until you get deeper into the story you get a bit more understanding of it all. The Lion Tamer Who Lost is a love story that covers so much, families, relationships, homosexuality, love, secrets, a lion sanctuary, duo location. The scenes set in Zimbabwe are so vivid you can almost taste the air. The personal struggles Ben faces you can't help but get drawn into and it evokes emotion. A wee book with a big roar (see what I did there!), emotive, moving and it just makes me want to snap up all of Beech's other offerings. I think this is my first dance with this author, it won't be my last. I need to check my TBRM and bump up any others of hers I have on it and buy up those that I don't. 4.5/5 for me this time, I kept hearing about this book from other book worms, now I have read it I know why, grab a copy guys you won't regret it.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Eva

    Good grief. I need a minute. Or a lie-down. Or maybe a few stiff drinks to get past this huge lump in my throat. I don’t really consider myself a particularly emotional person (although I did once cry at a diaper commercial but that’s another story), yet somehow Louise Beech always manages to rip out my heart, stomp all over it and leave me a big, unattractive, blubbering mess. We first meet Ben in the magnificent surroundings of Zimbabwe, where he’s volunteering at a lion sanctuary. It’s rather o Good grief. I need a minute. Or a lie-down. Or maybe a few stiff drinks to get past this huge lump in my throat. I don’t really consider myself a particularly emotional person (although I did once cry at a diaper commercial but that’s another story), yet somehow Louise Beech always manages to rip out my heart, stomp all over it and leave me a big, unattractive, blubbering mess. We first meet Ben in the magnificent surroundings of Zimbabwe, where he’s volunteering at a lion sanctuary. It’s rather obvious from the start that Ben is trying to run away from something or someone but the what or the who is only teasingly revealed and it took me a while to figure it all out. Back in England, we get to know Andrew. He’s a children’s author with a long outstanding wish. But when his wish comes true, he wishes it hadn’t. I’m not telling you any more than that. You need to just jump into this novel and be completely swept away. The Lion Tamer Who Lost is a powerful, tragic and incredibly emotional love story. With realistic and believable characters that almost jump from the pages, I quickly found myself utterly invested in their lives. Their pain was my pain, their tears were my tears, their heartache was my heartache. What an incredible talent Louise Beech has to evoke all these emotions. This beautifully written tale is not to be raced through or devoured. Every single word on every single page is to be savoured, to be cherished, to be felt deep down into your very core. It’s so hard to explain but it’s just … special. Original, compelling, emotive, exquisite and in case you weren’t able to tell, it left me lost for words but it is a gem of a book I will treasure forever. This is the fourth book by Louise Beech I’ve read and I can never find the right words (or any words really) to do them any justice. She is the most amazing storyteller and if you’ve not yet read any of her novels, you’re doing yourself an extremely big disservice. Start with this one, work your way back. I promise you will thank me later! In the meantime, I will (im)patiently sit here and await whatever it is Louise Beech comes up with next because I just know it will be special once again.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jo Furniss

    The latest novel from Louise Beech tells the story of Ben and his older lover, an author called Andrew. After running away to volunteer at a wildlife sanctuary, Ben recalls the events that drove him to fulfil a childhood wish to work with lions. What takes him home again, is a wish of another kind. For all its cinematic beauty and erotic charge, Louise Beech creates a melancholy air of doom. The romance feels precarious from the start, founded as it is on chance meetings, coincidences and even a The latest novel from Louise Beech tells the story of Ben and his older lover, an author called Andrew. After running away to volunteer at a wildlife sanctuary, Ben recalls the events that drove him to fulfil a childhood wish to work with lions. What takes him home again, is a wish of another kind. For all its cinematic beauty and erotic charge, Louise Beech creates a melancholy air of doom. The romance feels precarious from the start, founded as it is on chance meetings, coincidences and even a nasty road accident. It’s unclear if Ben and Andrew are meant to be together or if their relationship has endured despite fate’s best efforts to keep them apart. From the streets of Hull to the plains of Zimbabwe, meaning is layered through the novel in rich prose that deepens like the colours of a sunset over time. Louise Beech writes: “The sun edged across the sky, lingering like a child not wanting to go home for tea.” For me, the emotional fallout of this beautiful novel is lingering like a friend of that child, wishing they could play together a little while longer.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Doug Reyes

    Who is Louise Beech? And how, after 25 years of selling books have I never heard of her? And who is she to write a story that broke me down to tears? I gasped out loud at the central critical reveal of this book, and the punches to my gut just kept coming. I am forever grateful that I live a life in which I can still be surprised, even thrilled to discover a new author, a new beautiful work of fiction. This novel is gorgeous and devastating, a tender and brutal love story, a harsh and honest portr Who is Louise Beech? And how, after 25 years of selling books have I never heard of her? And who is she to write a story that broke me down to tears? I gasped out loud at the central critical reveal of this book, and the punches to my gut just kept coming. I am forever grateful that I live a life in which I can still be surprised, even thrilled to discover a new author, a new beautiful work of fiction. This novel is gorgeous and devastating, a tender and brutal love story, a harsh and honest portrait of the fraught relationship between fathers and sons. Beautifully done. One that I will not forget any time soon.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Julia

    Probably one of saddest love stories I have ever read. Beautifully written but oh so so heartbreaking and sad.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Yvonne

    Wishes and dreams are part of life, but what happens when the things you wish and dream for are not as you imagined they would be. Dreams are great, but if you follow your dream for an alternative motive then in reality it isn’t what the dream was meant to be. Andrew the wish-maker and Ben with the dream are meant to be together, but why… This is a story that I just found myself being captivated with from the very start as I met Ben in Zimbabwe at a lion sanctuary. This is his dream and also a fu Wishes and dreams are part of life, but what happens when the things you wish and dream for are not as you imagined they would be. Dreams are great, but if you follow your dream for an alternative motive then in reality it isn’t what the dream was meant to be. Andrew the wish-maker and Ben with the dream are meant to be together, but why… This is a story that I just found myself being captivated with from the very start as I met Ben in Zimbabwe at a lion sanctuary. This is his dream and also a fulfilling of a promise , but I realised that instead of being ecstatic and excited about helping lion cubs, Ben was subdued, there but not quite there. Here was a man with something on his mind, and as the story flitted between Zimbabwe and Hull I discovered a story that just blew me away. In Hull I got to meet Andrew, a chance meeting allows Andrew to meet and get to know Ben. The story tells of their friendship and then their relationship,also of their feelings for what others may think. Family, relationships, misunderstandings and expectations really do come into play and the author deals with this in such a natural and wonderful way. There is so much that I absolutely loved about this book, as well as the story line itself one thing that really stood out for me was the attention to detail. As a reader I like settings to be described in as much detail as possible but not in great long passages, this author has the ability to describe in detail in a short and vivid way. Not only did I get an image of the sights and sounds but also of taste and smell, from the mud coffee to the aromas the lions. For me it is the additional little details that are just as important. Now the story line, it flits back and forward in time and also between Hull and Zimbabwe. The main characters are Ben and Andrew and I really did get to them well, there are other characters that also have major parts to play in the story, but Ben and Andrew are the key characters. The story is about many things, but love and relationships are the main ones. The author deals with Ben and Andrews relationship in such a beautiful way, and also on the flip side the way that a person may think that some may not like same-sex relationships. The story moved along at a nice pace, building up and filling in details and history of the characters and their families and then suddenly took a route that not only caught me unawares, but also had me with my heart in my mouth. It moved into such an emotionally charged story as the author had me on the edge of tears. I tried my hardest to keep them in check for such a long time and just as I started to breathe normally again I came across three words that had me in a total sobbing mess. There are several parts of the story that had me balancing on the emotional see saw, and I think that many others will be the same. This is a beautiful, emotional, passionate, wonderful story that had me absolutely glued from the first page to the very last. An absolute must read for readers who want to experience an author who knows how to take a reader on a fantastic literary journey.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Tripfiction

    A novel of betrayal, redemption and love, set in Zimbabwe and Yorkshire Love goes with us – it is light and has easy-to-grip handles and needs no passport The Lion Tamer Who Lost is almost a book within a book. Andrew is writing a children’s book with the same title and by chance with a character who happens to be called Ben (book Ben) – and Ben in real life becomes his lover. Andrew also has a wish box but although some ambitions may be realised, things can also turn out very differently than anti A novel of betrayal, redemption and love, set in Zimbabwe and Yorkshire Love goes with us – it is light and has easy-to-grip handles and needs no passport The Lion Tamer Who Lost is almost a book within a book. Andrew is writing a children’s book with the same title and by chance with a character who happens to be called Ben (book Ben) – and Ben in real life becomes his lover. Andrew also has a wish box but although some ambitions may be realised, things can also turn out very differently than anticipated. In other words, be careful what you wish for! Andrew and Ben find each other at a time when each is struggling with the ripple effects of a difficult background. Ben in particular has to defend himself against his bigoted father Will (who never seems to have had a moral compass ..and there are plenty of revelations to come). Ben’s stress manifests in counting to keep his world ordered and he also suffers from acyrologia, the inappropriate use of some words. As the book opens we find Ben in Zimbabwe, caring for lions and in particular for Lucy, a tiny cub who is assigned to his care. We also know early on that something has happened to his relationship with Andrew and as the story unfolds, the reader discovers how profound and meaningful that relationship has been for both. Clearly Ben has escaped to volunteer at a lion sanctuary, in part to do his bit for lions but also to gather his thoughts, ponder his familial situation and reflect on his relationship with Andrew. In Zimbabwe he finds solace with Esther, the two volunteers working together, enabling their respective cubs to return to the wild. Being in Zimbabwe with the lions is nothing like the pitiful lion he once saw at the circus, a shackled creature. And that is the essence of the novel, how can any of us be free when we are moulded by family structure, illness and defined by societal norms? Releasing lions into the wild in Zimbabwe is somehow a redemptive process…. The author clearly has tremendous passion for certain causes and values, and in this book explores how freedom can be won, despite constraint. With love, many things are possible. Zimbabwe is perhaps more of an indicative setting, an expression of a place that is exotic and very different to Yorkshire and thus setting, in TripFiction terms, is not overly strong.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Susan Hampson

    I didn’t think that anything could possibly compete with the beautiful scenes in this story, of Ben’s lifetime dream of going to Africa to work with lions, especially his connection with Lucy but wow was I wrong. That story itself would have made a cracking book in its own right but author Louise Beech takes destiny and fate to a climax that no other book has. This is one very special read that will not go away when you turn out the lights. Fate had an uncanny way of throwing together Ben and And I didn’t think that anything could possibly compete with the beautiful scenes in this story, of Ben’s lifetime dream of going to Africa to work with lions, especially his connection with Lucy but wow was I wrong. That story itself would have made a cracking book in its own right but author Louise Beech takes destiny and fate to a climax that no other book has. This is one very special read that will not go away when you turn out the lights. Fate had an uncanny way of throwing together Ben and Andrew, normally because of some sort of accident but from the first time they met they were like a magnet and metal, impossible to keep apart. Set in the UK and Zimbabwe the contrasts are dramatic, with all my senses, not just sight, being constantly fooled on every page, the colours of the landscape and smells of the lion cub nursery, and the softness of the lion’s coat, all so expertly and vividly brought to life. While in the UK it was like a marathon of my emotions were being set alight, I am talking extremes, the everything that is ecstasy to the emptiness when you have nothing left. That is when Louise Beech’s writing jumped the barrier from being brilliant to having that extra pinch of pixie dust because it was pure magic! The characters felt so real with their fears and secrets, their wishes and dreams. I loved the wish box which made me want to click my heels, close my eyes and chant I believe in magic because I wanted Andrew and Ben to be together forever, with every wish they made to come true. This is such a beautiful love story but don’t think for one moment that this is all sugar and spice because this is far beyond what you first think. This story knocked me on my butt so many times that in the end I wanted to curl up and stay there total traumatized. The Lion Tamer Who Lost is a tremendous winner. A truly memorable read and in my top three books of the year. Breathtakingly perfect!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    So I had purchased this book on my kindle a long time ago and finally got around to reading it. It was hard to get into with family around noisy playing board games (if you’ve played Avocado Smash you’ll know what I mean!) But once I did I was sneaking off to read all the time. I was interested to uncover Ben’s story as it played out, and to understand his and Andrew’s relationship. I’m not sure about Ben, he’s a bit of a strange cat. There’s a bombshell, and it really threw me! I felt quite ick So I had purchased this book on my kindle a long time ago and finally got around to reading it. It was hard to get into with family around noisy playing board games (if you’ve played Avocado Smash you’ll know what I mean!) But once I did I was sneaking off to read all the time. I was interested to uncover Ben’s story as it played out, and to understand his and Andrew’s relationship. I’m not sure about Ben, he’s a bit of a strange cat. There’s a bombshell, and it really threw me! I felt quite icky and it challenged me to work through my feelings on the situation. I was flipping back and forth between what I felt Ben should do. It was fairly heavy towards the end but I’m pleased with how it panned out. I’m not sure this will be everyone’s cup of tea. I don’t think I have read a book with a gay male character and relationship before, so that was a nice change.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    First of all this book needs more than 5 ⭐️s! I am a reader not a writer, and throughout this book I kept thinking, “Nothing I can write will do it justice.” This is the beautiful love story of Ben and Andrew. It takes place between England and Zimbabwe and yes, fantastically, there are lions! This is also the story of coming back to family despite incredible harm done. About 100 pages in, I knew this book would destroy me. Toward the end, I repeatedly put it down, overwhelmed with emotion and sim First of all this book needs more than 5 ⭐️s! I am a reader not a writer, and throughout this book I kept thinking, “Nothing I can write will do it justice.” This is the beautiful love story of Ben and Andrew. It takes place between England and Zimbabwe and yes, fantastically, there are lions! This is also the story of coming back to family despite incredible harm done. About 100 pages in, I knew this book would destroy me. Toward the end, I repeatedly put it down, overwhelmed with emotion and simply not wanting it to end. Louise Beech has become one of my favorite authors. As of now, this is easily in my top two books for the year.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Bri (bloodydamn_taveren)

    “The lioness let her cub go. She didn’t want to. She knew what danger lurked in the shadows. But she also knew that a lifetime without fight was a lifetime without purpose.” How is a book allowed to be so breathtakingly beautiful and tragically hopeful? How is something made up of mis-words and wishes and human mistakes so profound? I smiled quietly like a boy who could tame lions because he had already lost. I soared across the colors of the savanna. I was a sobbing mess on the floor of a bleak E “The lioness let her cub go. She didn’t want to. She knew what danger lurked in the shadows. But she also knew that a lifetime without fight was a lifetime without purpose.” How is a book allowed to be so breathtakingly beautiful and tragically hopeful? How is something made up of mis-words and wishes and human mistakes so profound? I smiled quietly like a boy who could tame lions because he had already lost. I soared across the colors of the savanna. I was a sobbing mess on the floor of a bleak English apartment. The Lion Tamer Who Lost is a canvas of golds; of being caged and finding freedom in being untamed. It is a book of secret wishes I’ve written on carefully folded post-it notes and placed in a box with a too big lid. And behind my shoulder I forever hear a lioness’s voice. She calls “run, run, run. Do not forget me.”

  30. 4 out of 5

    Gill Paul

    This is a novel about a gay love affair, about being who you are and who you want to be – and about lions! It opens in the Liberty Lion reserve in Zimbabwe, where Ben has volunteered and is sitting outside to watch the sunrise: “textured browns, like a tray of different flavoured toffees". Everyone there seems to be running away from something and Ben is no exception. Through his eyes and those of his boyfriend Andrew, we hear about their complicated love story. The whole novel is skilfully woven This is a novel about a gay love affair, about being who you are and who you want to be – and about lions! It opens in the Liberty Lion reserve in Zimbabwe, where Ben has volunteered and is sitting outside to watch the sunrise: “textured browns, like a tray of different flavoured toffees". Everyone there seems to be running away from something and Ben is no exception. Through his eyes and those of his boyfriend Andrew, we hear about their complicated love story. The whole novel is skilfully woven together, with complex, utterly convincing characters and an impossible moral dilemma at the core. It’s a compelling read through to the emotional final pages. I love the poetry, the wisdom, and the insights into life at a lion sanctuary, so vivid that the reader can hear and smell as well as visualise them. My favourite bit involves Ben actually sleeping in a lion's cage. Don't miss it! It’s a stunning and very brave book!

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