I loved this book. This book was comparable to Amelie or Chocolat. This book was funny and sweet and sad and poignant and whimsical and adorable. It was not some manic-pixie-dreamgirl whimsiquirkalicious concoction. It felt genuine.
The Tower, the Zoo, and the Tortoise is the story of Balthazar Jones, a guard at the Tower of London. Just previous to the novel, he and his wife, Hebe, lost their 10-year-old son Milo. He just died in his sleep. Neither of them has been able to properly deal with their grief, so Balthazar has developed odd habits like getting up in the middle of the night to collect different types of rain. Hebe works at the lost-and-found office for the London Underground, and spends her days trying to find the owners of such odd objects left on the subway as a gigolo’s diary, a magician’s cabinet, and cremated remains. One day, a government official arrives at the Tower and declares that the Queen has decided that instead of housing her royal menagerie at the London Zoo, it will be moved to the Tower. This is an effort to increase tourism, which the residents of the tower despise. Balthazar is put in charge of the project, since he is the owner of the world’s oldest tortoise. Wackiness ensues.
This novel has a host of odd and quirky characters, all of whom are suffering from some sort of heartache or loss. I just realized that I’m making it seem as thought this is a sad book. This is not a sad book, in fact, some parts were hilarious. The reverend is a closet romance novelist who is desperate to find a wife. I could definitely re-read this book.