#BookReview ~ A Lion Is Not Just For Christmas by Henriette Gyland @henrigyland #BookBoost

I didn’t think I would be able to read this in time for the #BlogBlitz the other day but the blurb attracted me so much I downloaded it and read at leisure 🙂 x

Series: 2nd in the Sweet Romance Mysteries series set in Norfolk

Genre: Romance Mystery

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?

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About the Author

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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My Review

I haven’t read anything by this author before and didn’t realise it was the second in a series but that hasn’t spoilt my enjoyment one iota it just gives me a reason to look at her other work.

I was always fascinated as a child with circus stories (blame Enid Blyton!) and dreamt that it would be a wonderful lifestyle. I’m sure the harsh realities would soon have sunk in but hey the beauty of reading is the ability to lose yourself for a while and I certainly did in this book.

A Lion Is Not Just For Christmas has rather a stunning cover, the lion Rexus is the star of the show. Justine has grown up in the troop and is distraught when funds and the withdrawal of exotic animals in captivity performing no longer allow the circus to continue. As it is disbanded and all her family move on she is sent with Rexus to a private home to settle him in with the Lord who has purchased him and will give him a home as a ‘retired’ boy in his menagerie.

Her arrival at the mansion is met with some disdain, Priscilla the wife of the ‘heir apparent’ is an absolute beast and her precocious children are following in her footsteps. Justine rues the day she ever agreed to go when she is treated as the unpaid help .. if anything needed doing it soon fell to her.

She soon notices Tom the handyman and the Lord takes an interest in her but he is simply considered crazy by the rest of the family. The whole development of this story is written with an easy style that keeps you intrigued. There is a certain amount of tension created dealing with a wild animal and the author ensures the message of love and respect is loud and clear. I like to think the lion can live out his life in comfort and not in a possible poor circus environment.

It’s only a shortish book but ideal to read with a mug of something warm and tasty while solving the subtle clues along the way that add some mystery to a highly enjoyable book. I liked the refreshing change where romance isn’t the main attraction .. the lion easily gets that role! There is a nice little twist that I didn’t see coming which leads to a very satisfying ending.

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