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The Lion Tamer Who Lost

Shortlisted for the Sapere Books ‘Most Popular Romantic Fiction’ Award at the 2019 RNA Awards

Longlisted for the Polari Prize

A heartbreaking, breathtakingly beautiful love story with an unforgettable tragedy at its heart, from the critically acclaimed, award-winning author of Maria in the Moon and Call Me Star Girl


‘Beech eloquently conveys their feelings and longings and sets atmospheric, vividly drawn scenes that transport the reader from grey and damp England to the searing heat of the lion reserve …The Lion Tamer Who Lost will touch the most hardhearted of readers with its persuasive, well-drawn and memorable characters’ Daily Express

'A devastating, tender and powerful story love story, beautifully and bravely told. You will lose your heart to this book. I adored it’ Miranda Dickinson
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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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‘A stirring novel, beautifully written, reminiscent of the early work of Maggie O’Farrell’ Irish Times

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

‘An excruciatingly passionate love story… In its surprising turns and lovely particulars … A beautiful text’ Foreword Reviews

‘This book really got under my skin as a beautiful portrait of love, loss and longing’ Irish Sunday Independent

'An incredible, poignant piece of work. Louise Beech had cemented her place as one of Britain’s finest modern storytellers’ John Marrs

'A beautiful, honest and tender love story that I won’t forget for a long time …Their love had me trapped in its spell, their tragic moments had me sobbing like a baby … A triumph’ Fionnuala Kearney

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

‘Digs deep emotionally, but is funny and feel-good, too’ Fiona Mitchell

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.

  • Publisher: Orenda Books (September 20, 2018)
  • Length: 334 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781912374298

More books from this author: Louise Beech