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Monday, November 16, 2020

The Candlelit Menagerie by Caraline Brown

Lillian was a misfit for 18th century England. Freakishly tall, only wanting to wear breeches, cut her hair short like a boy Lillian was not transgender but just different. Finding her way to a a owner of a menagerie of animals (all exotic at the time) she found her niche and was for the first time happy. The animals loved her and it seemed almost as if she was a whisperer to them. She kept an eye out for their welfare and knew that the owner could not mistreat his animals with her in charge. Love also found its way into Lillians life and when subsequently she conceives and bears a child who dies Lillian is heartbroken. When given a baby chimp to mother and care for, Lillian finds a substitute in the baby whom she looks after, nurses and cares for as her own. The story finds its way to the Prince of Wales own menagerie owner who is curious about this strange woman. The story winds its way from London to Brighton to the Prince of Wales own zoo he wants to set up but over riding it all is Lillian's deep love for the animals in her care, irrespective of their being exotic or expensive. The story is not just about the exotic animals that were so attractive to the British, but also about the history at the time in London including the executions at the Tower. The story of Lillian finding love and contentment in her marriage was another dimension to the story. Sent by Skyhorse Publishing for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

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