Is there life after the circus has left town?
Circus performer Justine Belmont works with big cats, but when the circus is disbanded and the old lion is sold to a private menagerie at a stately home in Norfolk, she is asked to spend a few weeks settling him into his new environment. When she arrives at the estate, however, she receives a mixed welcome.
The groundsman Tom Yates resents her presence as he doesn’t feel he needs her help with the lion. He revises his opinion when he sees the bond between her and the big cat, and she and Tom grow closer, although Justine remains torn about her feelings for him. The lady of the house, Priscilla – who is married to the reclusive owner, Lord Brooks’s, grandson – is not so easily convinced. She perceives Justine as a threat for the male attention and her plans for the manor. And her two young daughters are a little too curious about the lion for their own good.
When unsettling events occur, Justine begins to wonder if there is more to Priscilla’s animosity than meets the eye. Can Justine keep herself and everyone else safe until it’s time for her to leave again and start a new life elsewhere?
I have to say that this isn’t probably an obvious choice of book for me but I was very pleasantly surprised. It is the second book in the Norfolk Mysteries series but am assuming that each book probably features different characters as this definitely reads as a stand alone.
As a child who wouldn’t be fascinated with the circus and the people and animals that work within one? I was really intrigued as to how this story was going to work with a lion and a performer going to a stately home. I mean it isn’t your everyday type of story but it worked really well.
I liked Justine and Tom. Justine is more stronger in personality from her circus background. I liked how she stood up for herself and didn’t let people put her down. Tom on the other hand is more soft spoken but it made him more likeable because of it.
As this is a novella it didn’t take long at all to devour, I loved the setting of the stately home and whilst not overly festive, you really get the sense of family which I’m sure for most of us is what Christmas is all about.
A Lion Is Not Just For Christmas was a great little read that held me captive through out. As with any story line to do with families, you are guaranteed a bit of drama and as Justine tries to settle into life at the stately home, there is plenty of that. There are even some unexpected surprises. Would definitely recommend giving this one a go.
My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for a copy of this book. All opinions are my own and not biased in anyway.
A Lion Is Not Just For Christmas is available to purchase from Amazon. (Please note that link used is an affiliate link).
Author Bio –
Henriette Gyland grew up in Northern Denmark but moved to England after she graduated from the University of Copenhagen. She wrote her first book when she was ten, a tale of two orphan sisters running away to Egypt, fortunately to be adopted by a perfect family they meet on the Orient Express.
Between that first literary exploit and now, she has worked in the Danish civil service, for a travel agent, a consultancy company, in banking, hospital administration, and for a county court before setting herself up as a freelance translator and linguist. Henriette recently began to pursue her writing in earnest winning the New Talent Award in 2011 from the Festival of Romance and a Commended from the Yeovil Literary Prize.
Henriette lives in London.
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