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The Lion Tamer Who Lost

Published Date: 7th March 2018

Available in

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EBook
9781912374304
£5.99
15 July 2018
Paperback
9781912374298
£8.99
30 September 2018
Audiobook
Coming Soon

Description

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 he 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?
A dark, consuming drama that shifts from Zimbabwe to England, and then back into the past, The Lion Tamer Who Lost is also a devastatingly beautiful love story, with a tragic heart…

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‘Vivid, passionate and exquisitely told, this love story will live on in my heart for a very long time to come. A poignant, surprising and all-consuming read’ Katie Marsh

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‘I cannot remember when I was last so touched by a story. Tin Man meets Brokeback Mountain – it really is that good. This isn’t a book you just read, it’s something you absorb. An incredible, poignant piece of work. Louise Beech had cemented her place as one of Britain’s finest modern storytellers’

John Marrs

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‘A beautiful, honest and tender love story that I won’t forget for a long time. With wishes, promises, betrayals, heartbreak and joy – Ben and Andrew’s story spans time and distance. Their love had me trapped in its spell, their tragic moments had me sobbing like a baby. The scenes in Zimbabwe had me right there, inhaling the heady scents and listening to the lions roar. This is Louise Beech at her very best. A triumph’ Fionnuala Kearney

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‘Beech sets up the love story quietly and convincingly. And then – bang – something astonishing and completely unexpected happens to Ben and Andrew. This is where the narrative really gathers pace. I had read patiently until that point then I raced my way to the end. The book digs deep emotionally, but is funny and feel-good too’ Fiona Mitchell

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‘Storytelling at its finest. Louise Beech is a beguiling wordsmith. Prepare to be hooked’ Amanda Prowse

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‘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. It’s a stunning and very brave book’ Gill Paul

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‘Louise Beech does it again. The setting alone makes this book worth a read, the lightly handled metaphor of a place where damaged beings go to recover provides a sumptuous backdrop that 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 while trying so hard not to. A moving read’ S.E. Lynes

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‘Heartfelt and wry, this will transport you into a keenly observed world; secrets are hidden, people are flawed, but humanity endures’ Ruth Dugdall

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‘Louise Beech is a natural-born storyteller with an elegance about her writing that never fails to move me’ Michael J. Malone

 

‘This is real life, bruised, torn and coffee-stained, refusing to give up … simply stunning’ Su Bristow

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‘There are times when you finish reading a book and know that part of it will stay with you always. This will be one of those books’ Claire Allen

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‘It put me in mind of John Irving. It’s that feeling of being in the hands of a master storyteller and just trusting him or her so completely’ Laura Pearson

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‘Nothing about this story disappoints. The African setting, the excellent writing, and above all, the immaculate storytelling. It’s a cleverly constructed book too. I loved the chapter headings which give us a glimpse of the story within the story. Another triumph. A beautifully crafted book’ Carole Lovekin

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‘Again, Louise Beech has totally blown me away with her storytelling ability. I loved this beautiful but painful love story; which is also about coincidences, loss and difficult relationships. This is a story about the strength of love and what sometimes needs to be sacrificed for it’ Madeleine Black

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‘Adored this beautiful and inspiring book’ Kate Furnivall

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‘Already one of my favourites of 2018’ Liz Robinson, LoveReadingUK

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‘A stirring novel, beautifully written, reminiscent of the early work of Maggie O’Farrell’ Irish Times

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‘Quirky, darkly comic, heartfelt and original’ Sunday Mirror

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‘This achingly sad story has wonderful characters, including the spiky, sweary Catherine’ Sunday People

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‘A beautiful and compassionate read’ Prima

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‘Fans of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine will love it’ Red

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‘The Lion Tamer Who Lost by the talented Louise Beech is a heart breaking yet ultimately uplifting tale about a gay love affair, set between a lion sanctuary in Zimbabwe and London’ The Lion Tamer Who Lost is recommended in the Good Housekeeping

Author

Louise Beech is an exceptional literary talent, whose debut novel How To Be Brave was a Guardian Reader’s Choice in 2015. The sequel, The Mountain in My Shoe was shortlisted for the 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 competition, as well as shortlisting for the Bridport Prize twice. Louise is currently writing her next book. She lives with her husband and children on the outskirts of Hull – the UK’s 2017 City of Culture – and loves her job as Front of House Usher at Hull Truck Theatre, where her first play was performed in 2012.
Follow Louise on Twitter @LouiseWriter and visit her website: louisebeech.co.uk.

Online Reviews

‘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 … 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’ The Book Review Café

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‘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’ Laura Rash

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‘It was about the strength of love and the selfless sacrifices that people make at a time of crisis, and also having the maturity and courage to deal with life’s setbacks if things don’t go as planned.. I knew this book would be a tearjerker as soon as I immersed myself in Louise Beech’s story, with her poetic words leaping off the page like little sparks of light. I had tissues, chocolate and counselling service on standby by the time I reached the end. Each one of her books is unique – nothing like her previous ones, but just as compelling and compassionate. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next!’ Off the Shelf Books

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‘The characters are so well drawn, the relationship so sensitively observed, I was reminded of Patrick Gale’s A Place Called Winter. (I adore Gale because his male, gay characters are always relatable.) And that’s the trick, Beech has pulled off … I turned the cover and fell headlong into a wonderful surprise. Because nothing about this story disappoints. The African setting, the excellent writing, and above all, the immaculate storytelling. It’s a cleverly constructed book too. I loved the chapter headings which give us a glimpse of the story within the story. Another triumph. A beautifully crafted book which will do a great deal to further an understanding of gay relationships. From a writer coming into her power’ Carole Lovekin Author

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‘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!’ The Book Trail

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‘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 … 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’ The Book Review Café

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‘This beautifully crafted story takes us from the past in East Yorkshire to the stunning plains of Zimbabwe and a sanctuary which helps to rescue lions and release them back into the wild. Against the wild beauty of this country Ben’s story unfolds and as it does so we learn so much about him, his family and where his heart lies. For all that the sumptuous background will have you smelling and breathing in the redolent scent of the African days and nights it is in the kitchen of an East Yorkshire home that we will understand the true nature of love and sacrifice. Moving, honest, and heart-breakingly tender, The Lion Tamer Who Lost had me in tears more than once. Verdict: A beautiful, poignant, stand out book of 2018. I urge you to read it. Live and Deadly

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When reading this novel I felt like everything else that was happening in the world vanished. It was impossible to be distracted whilst reading. This is rare for me, I’m best reading with nothing happening in the background but with this book it didn’t matter. It took over everything. There is so much to love. Bob Fracklehurst ( a character who regular readers will know), the humour that is present in a relationship with a soul mate, the wrong words, the excerpts from Andrew’s book at the top of each chapter. I could go on and on. I’m not ashamed to say I cried. More than once. I cried at the relationship between Ben and Andrew a few times and I also cried over Will. The man who knew he had made mistakes, and regretted them. An absolutely brilliant novel, told as always from the heart’ Stephs Book Blog

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‘There’s a simultaneous complexity and simplicity about him that makes him a compelling character and presence. I’ve always said that How To Be Brave was secretly my favourite of Louise Beech’s books – but I’m really not so sure any more. This book was total perfection, beautiful, breath-taking, heartbreaking, and one of the very best books I’ve read this – or any other – year’ Being Anne

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Louise writes a guest post about how writing The Lion Tamer Who Lost opened her eyes a little wider. Women Writers, Women’s Books 

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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!’ Louisa Treger

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‘I love Louise’s books because although her novels aren’t my usual go-to genre (contemporary, literary fiction), I can’t help but become completely captivated by the way she tells her stories and the beauty of her characters. Her books are always beautiful, poignant, and magical. I would recommend them to anyone … A truly unforgettable story’ The Misstery

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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 … 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’ Breathing Through the Pages

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‘Louise Beech is the masterfully talented writer of The Lion Tamer Who Lost. She captures the heart of readers by diving deep into the characters of Andrew and Ben beautifully. I’ll be honest I didn’t take many notes because this was so darn good that I didn’t want to stop to even jot down any and I don’t believe that has ever happened to date. In fact, I read this in one sitting without a stir. I was captivated and entranced being brought into this story as if I was a part of it all … Such an emotionally heartfelt read that is truly unique in anything I’ve ever read…Loved it!’ Donna Hines, Goodreads

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‘The combination of the themes and the way Beech has delicately woven the intricate threads of the story together make The Lion Tamer Who Lost a very special novel. I have loved Beech’s previous books (although I still have to read How To Be Brave) but The Lion Tamer Who Lost may be my favourite yet. Incredibly moving, at times desperately heartbreaking and always tender, The Lion Tamer Who Lost reminds us that if fate exists, it is fickle and may not always be leading you to the outcome you expect. A truly outstanding and beautiful book’ Bloomin Brilliant Books

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‘The clever author, whose previous book Maria in the moon, which I also loved, covered some pretty difficult subjects, takes a handful of taboo and thought provoking topics and blends these ingredients together into a perfect, beautifully iced cake, which you bite into only to find a shockingly bitter and terrible core. Family dynamics are the main underlying base to this gateau, filled with love and passion, sprinkled with wishes and hopes, and sandwiched together with loneliness, impossibility, sickness and pain … But, many of the characters, the ones you grow to love and even the ones you dislike and get very exasperated with will surprise you and by the end, you will feel a part of the disparate family at the core of the story’ Beady Jan’s Book

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‘This beautifully crafted story takes us from the past in East Yorkshire to the stunning plains of Zimbabwe and a sanctuary which helps to rescue lions and release them back into the wild … For all that the sumptuous background will have you smelling and breathing in the redolent scent of the African days and nights it is in the kitchen of an East Yorkshire home that we will understand the true nature of love and sacrifice. Moving, honest, and heart-breakingly tender, The Lion Tamer Who Lost had me in tears more than once. A beautiful, poignant, stand out book of 2018. I urge you to read it’ Live and Deadly

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‘Beech writes with an eloquence that defies easy classification. Her narrative develops with initial stealth, throwing up so many questions that its direction is often a puzzle. At times the mood is dream-like and poetic, at others hard-hitting and unsparing … The consequences are devastating and tragic, only partially tempered by moments of bittersweet reconciliation and seeds of future hope. Ultimately, you come to care deeply about Ben and Andrew’s story and I have to admit, more than once, that I may have had something in my eye’ Claire Thinking

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‘I don’t think I can do a review that will do this book justice and show just how good it is so I am going to keep it short and sweet – it is brilliant – buy it!! In all seriousness I loved everything about this book, the writing style is superb, the plot is excellent and I loved the characters. The setting is brought to life as the words flow and you feel completely immersed in the story … One of my highlights of 2018 – superbly written and another cracking book from Louise Beech!!’ Donna’s Book Blog

Reviews