Review – The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech

The Blurb

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…

My Thoughts

Louise Beech has fast become one of my favourite authors. She is my ‘go-to’ writer when I want to read a book that is going to take me to a whole other level emotionally and when I want more from the writing than just a good storyline. So, I was really pleased (and lucky) to get my hands on an early copy of The Lion Tamer Who Lost.

The Lion Tamer Who Lost is the story of Andrew and Ben, two men who it appears that fate is determined to bring together. Since childhood, Andrew has made wishes and kept them in a box … He may now be wishing that his latest wish hadn’t come true. Ben promised his mother that he would volunteer at a lion reserve in Africa … when he finally achieves his promise and his dream, it has a bitter taste.

With prose that you just fall into, Beech demonstrates, once again, that she is an incredibly talented wordsmith. With numerous passages underlined in my copy, each word that Beech uses has maximum impact on your emotions. She manages to make you laugh, cry and pause to think in a few pages. The Lion Tamer Who Lost left me reeling with a whole range of raw feelings.

Alongside believable, authentic characters, Beech has created the most wonderful sense of place in The Lion Tamer Who Lost. Switching between Zimbabwe and Hull, she captures the essence of both, let’s face it very different, places. I have never been to Zimbabwe, but Beech had my imagination soaring as I spent time there with Ben, soaking up the weather, the sights, sounds and smells. Now Hull, on the otherhand, is a place I know very well and Beech has captured the place and the characteristics of some of its inhabitants perfectly.

During his stay at Liberty Lion Park, Ben has to essentially raise a lion cub, Lucy, that has lost her mother and I adored these parts. As he tries to help Lucy find her place and confidence within the pride, Ben also has to find his own self and place in the world. Something that does not come easily to him.  

The Lion Tamer Who Lost is a book about complex family relationships and learning to find and love yourself and Beech writes tenderly about some difficult and complicated issues. It is also a story about the often-harsh reality of love. The combination of these 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.

The Lion Tamer Who Lost was published by Orenda Books on 15 July on Ebook and is out on paperback on  30 September. You can buy a copy HERE.

My thanks to Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books and Louise Beech for the advance copy in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.


2 thoughts on “Review – The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech

  1. I have this on my list to read! Btw, Idk if you have Sky or not, but if you have, did you notice that Sharp Objects (their new showing) is based on the Gillian Flynn novel of the same name?

    1. I hope you enjoy it, Pat. You will have to let me know what you think. I’ve heard that Sharp Objects has been made into a TV series. I don’t have Sky and, if I’m honest, I’m a bit wary about watching a programme based on a book I really like, if that makes sense? I always tend to get annoyed, hahaha.


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