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The Tower, The Zoo, and The Tortoise - Julia Stuart I am feeling generous by not giving this book a 1 star rating. It really is just a sappy love story that has hardly any redeeming qualities.

First, the language is just overbearing. She tries to be either cutesy or smart and it just falls flat to me: "She then hunted around, searching amongst the rubble of their relationship for past hurts that she held up again in front of him. Balthazar Jones responded in kind, taking her examiner's torch and shining it on ancient grievances. No shadow was left unlit and by the time they left the table, every fissure of their teetering love had had been exposed to the damp morning air." another example (but these really are everywhere) was "it was of such hilarity that the chaplain's library membership was terminated on account of his explosion of mirth when he read it." Really, it is just overwritten and Stuart is trying way too hard to appear erudite.

Second, I was unbelievably annoyed that the characters were always referred to by both first and last names (and Dr. or Rev. when appropriate).

Third, every character in the book was involved in a love story. This wasn't just a love story, it was sixteen parallel love stories none of which were developed or interesting, but all quaint and simplistic.

Fourth, the word hirsute appeared 3 too many times. Stuart learned a new word and felt she needed to overuse it in her new book.

Fifth, the "plot" (which was just a campy vehicle for these simplistic love stories) was stupid. Why would they move the super-important animals to the Tower and why would the Queen put this random guy with NO ZOOLOGICAL expertise in charge of them? It really reminded me of a kid's book where the main character gets to do something really cool but for which he is not at all qualified.

Overall it is not worth reading, but it is short and doesn't really require much attention or effort.