The Tigers in the Tower

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Pub Date 18 Nov 2020 | Archive Date 20 Aug 2021
Lion Hudson Ltd, Lion Fiction

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"A Little Princess – with tigers! Orphan and outcast Sahira Clive is a brave and plucky heroine with a brightly burning heart. I was rooting for her all the way to the end of this thrilling – and thought-provoking – adventure." Ally Sherrick, award-winning author of Black Powder

Sahira’s family are travelling to England to deliver two majestic Indian tigers to the menagerie in the tower of London.

But tragedy strikes and sickness steals Sahira’s parents from her on the journey. Left alone in London, Sarhira finds herself confined to a miserable and dangerous orphanage. Despite her heartache and the threats she faces, Sahira is determined to carry out her father’s last request – to protect God’s beautiful creatures: her tigers. To do so, Sahira must set out on an adventure and use all her powers of persuasion to engage the help of some new friends along the way.

Can the quest to find her tigers a safe home, lead Sahira to find her own place of hope and belonging in this strange and foreign land?

"A Little Princess – with tigers! Orphan and outcast Sahira Clive is a brave and plucky heroine with a brightly burning heart. I was rooting for her all the way to the end of this thrilling – and...

Advance Praise

'A delightfully engaging global escape! Golding pulls readers into a tale of London’s Tower Menagerie with the classic feel of Kipling’s The Jungle Book. The Tigers in the Tower is not only a well-researched adventure for animal lovers, it is a story of hope, love, and family that will capture the heart and imagination of readers young and old.' - Lauren H. Brandenburg, author

'An almost magical adventure into an exotic corner of London’s history. Colourful characters and vivid imagery bring to life the remarkable story of a feisty girl. The Tigers in the Tower is a must read for animal lovers of all ages. Like Sahira, I’ll be dreaming of tigers for days to come!'Luke Aylen, author

'This book is an adventure you won’t want to miss!' - Sharon Dirckx, author

'A delightfully engaging global escape! Golding pulls readers into a tale of London’s Tower Menagerie with the classic feel of Kipling’s The Jungle Book. The Tigers in the Tower is not only a...

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ISBN 9781782643173
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Featured Reviews

This book is absolutely amazing. I cried, I raged, and above all I absolutely loved Sahira's journey. The story is about a young Indian girl who is sent to live in England after the death of her parents, and the only thing she has is her two beloved tigers. Her journey into a new land and the prejudices and injustices she faced truly had me riled up for her. Her strength of character and will was astounding. It portrayed a realistic portrayal of the prejudices that she faced in the time. Overall this was an amazing story about one girl's venture into finding herself and paving a life for her and her tigers despite all the obstacles and injustices she faced. I would highly recommend this wonderful story to anyone.

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a enjoyable read. children will enjoy it. it’s the type of stories i loved as a child i recommend to children. reminds me of the tales i heard when i was small

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trigger warning
<spoiler> lethal illness, being orphaned, animal cruelty, bullying, grief, domestic abuse, corporeal punishment </spoiler>

As the ship finally reaches London, only Sahira and the two Indian tigers, Rama and Sita, are alive. The people from the East India Trading Company, who not really know what to do with a coloured child, sent a message to her lordly grandfather and put her in an orphanage.

They tell her it would be a very good orphanage, but as it's situated in Whitechapel, it will come to no surprise to you that the children get exploited for cheap labour, are underfed and beaten.
All the while, Sahira misses the tigers, the last link to her past, to her family.

This book made me feel things. Not all of them good.
Let me address the metaphorical element in the room: This included one of my personal trigger topics and I will spend the evening trying to keep myself from doing things because I read this. It's not the first time I've said this, but trigger warnings are important and there is no logic reason why publishers don't give them. You read the books you publish, you edit them, you know what's in them. Of course, it could happen that you overlook a topic, but then at least you would have tried - and if the readers tell you you need to add something, just do it.
It won't cost you anything but would appeal to readers. Not all of them, but the books that <i>do</i> come with warnings can use it to their advantage.

Other things this made me feel were things I was supposed to feel, like anger at the orphanage people, adults who dismiss a child's words because they think they know better, who don't even bother to listen and really have no business being in contact with children.
People who are cruel to animals make me angry. So angry.

I felt with Sahira and her friends and was really hoping we'd get a good solution to all plotpoints. We did.

I like both that we have a character that bothers to analyse an animal's situation to see where the problem might lie, and that, in this case, we have a <i>girl</i> doing that. As much as I like Hagrid, I am sick of only boys in middle grade fiction being well versed in animal knowledge and try to befriend every creature they can.

Further, I liked how the topic of Sahira's cultural heritage was acknowledged. While her late father was a British lord, her mother was a Persian noble woman, and Sahira grew up speaking and reading both English and Farsi, with a sprinkling of Hindustan as she's from India.
The British people she meets usually assume she's a Hindoo princess, which annoys her to no end. She shifts between both worlds and thus has, sadly, problems to find a new home after her parent's death.
Also, this book illustrates how you really need to know people so they can get your chums to work out how it should go.

I have a soft spot for parrots that randomly interrupt conversations to spew rude words.

I recieved a copy of this book in exchange for a honest review.

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An unique and touching story about a young girl and her tigers finding a home and their place in the world as she Lost her family and home and needs to fight for herself.

While the pacing felt a little off a times, I was very interested in the main character qnd her journey with the tigers which pushed me through some moments in the middle and beginning where it lagged a little.

In the end i found it to be a delightful story with a diverse cast that i wish i had read when i was a child.

Certainly a must for Middle Grade fans

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This story follows a young girl, Sahira who is half English, half Indian, and has traveled to England as an orphan and a “foreigner.” As an orphan the only “family” that she has left are the tigers that came with her on her journey. There’s lots of historical context throughout. Topics of colorism and racism are discussed throughout in ways that are heartbreaking but wonderfully described for a middle grade audience.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this novel and I was instantly invested in Sahira’s story. Best of all- it has a feel good conclusion.

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This was a fantastic updating of classic Victorian/ Dickensian child hood fiction, like A Little Princess or The Secret Garden. The protagonist is accompanying a pair of tigers from her home of India to the tower of London, but her parents die on the way. Of course, she ends up in an orphanage with cruel adults and children, friends to make and adventures to have. The cast of characters includes the prime minister and Robert Peel's son and the zookeepers at the tower of London. This would be a great book to go with school topics about Victorian London, animals or India. The heroine is mixed race, with a Muslim mother and aristocratic English father, and she faces racism and sexism, which would lead to some great discussion. I loved this book, and would be happy to read it with year four and up, 8+.

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Here is my review of The Tigers in the Tower ahead of the blog tour in September. I will post it to my blog then.

Lose yourself in the rich symbolism and powerful messages of The Tigers in the Tower by Julia Golding. Sahira faces the jungle of Georgian London with no one but two majestic Indian tigers. Having lost her parents to fever on the treacherous sea voyage from Calcutta to London, Sahira must fend for herself and fight to protect these beautiful big cats. A ghost of former self, she must face loss, grief, loneliness and rejection as those around her try to whitewash her appearance and force her to deny her treasured mixed heritage.

Sahira’s father was transporting the tigers to the King’s Royal Menagerie in the Tower of London – a wondrous collection of creatures never before seen in England. When she is separated from her feline friends, Sahira does all she can to be with them and protect them from the dangers that lie ahead. These tigers are her family, her home and everything that is important to her. With an unlikely collection of new friends, Sahira defies everyone who stands in her way to fight for what she believes is right.

The language of this story is truly magical. With subtle references to the great poem The Tyger by William Blake, readers are immersed in the value of literature and poetry. Words memorised can never taken away and Sahira clings to the strength of language and story her parents instilled in her when she was young. The imagery of animals, and tigers specifically, is absolutely beautiful and speaks deeply to those who commune with cats.

The Tigers in the Tower is a wonderful story about fitting in and finding your place in the world while staying true to yourself. It teaches readers to be confident and strong even in the most difficult situations and to trust their instincts about what is right and who they are. Everyone is important and everyone’s story is valuable. Sahira shows us that strength comes from within and our past pushes us forwards into a positive future. Like a tiger, her quiet strength, determination and focus lead her to the place where she belongs.

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I am a great fan of Julia Golding and she has really surpassed herself with this book. It is absolutely brilliant with its evocation of early 19th century England and the tribulations of being a mixed race child, alone in a strange country. The sense of time and place is very strong and will make many people want to explore further.

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Thank you to NetGalley for giving me a free copy of this in return for an honest review.

This story begins with Sahira losing both her parents whilst travelling from India to London and her luck doesn't get any better throughout the story. She is faced with many prejudices with a father who was English and an Indian mother. She constantly feels like she belongs to nowhere, her fathers family doesn't acknowledge her as family so she ends up in an awful orphanage.

This was a gut-wrenching story that I couldn't not feel helpless whilst reading. It really shows you how hopeless it would have been for an orphan in 1820.

On a brighter note, the historical accuracy of animal keeping in London in the 19th century was amazing. The animal element of the story was captivating and fascinating.

On the whole, it was a very enjoyable read!

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The premise of the book is a young girl, named Sahira, came over to Victorian London, with her parents and 2 tigers that they were selling, having caught them in India. Tragically, Sahira's parents die during the voyage over and the tigers go off to their new home and Sahira, forced to become more 'English' is sent to a rather detestable and cruel orphanage. At this orphanage, Sahira, renamed Eleanor, is subjected to horrendous abuse and bullying, mainly due to the fact that she is foreign. Eventually, she finds her way to the tigers she befriended and spends as much time with them as she can as they are the only real link to her old life that she has left.

This book perplexed me in many different ways. I loved the premise of the story but don't feel that it was executed as well as it could have been. I did, unfortunately, feel a bit uncomfortable reading a story about an Indian girl written by a white writer. It didn't feel right and, as such, I don't think the character of Sahira was as rich as she could have been. My favourite character was the loveable Ned. He was wonderfully written and I adored his escapades with Nebby.

I did enjoy the story and the development of it and felt the ending was just perfect.

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Pleasant novel that sometimes struggles with pacing, particularly at the overly neat conclusion. Sahira is an excellent MC and one of the few biracial characters to appear in works set during this time period. Most of the supporting characters were interesting as well, although I found the immense cruelty of some of her fellow orphans and the cowardice and lack of care of many of the adults to be extreme and unlikely. I don't necessarily cosign the comparisons to "A Little Princess," but I can see how the two books might be read together in a comparative exercise.

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I received an advance reader copy ofthis book to read in exchange for an honest review via netgalley and the publishers.

This was an emotional read about a young mixed race girl who had become an orphan in the 1820s. The orphanage situation is heart wrenching in places as it must of been awful for children living in them in those days.

The animal parts of this book were amazing. I loved how they were incorporated in with the story and found it fascinating.

This is a fantastic story for children aged 9-15.

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Firstly, I'd like to say that this book made me sad, cry, angry, happy, laugh out loud, groan in annoyance, roll my eyes, curl my hands up into fists <i>and simultaneously</i> make me want to stop reading completely and never put it down.

Sahira arrives in London after a long voyage across the sea, where her parents died due to illness. She is the protector of two Tigers, both of whom find her presence a comfort even within the cage they are on.

As much as I would like to say everything got better from there - it didn't. Be ready for the stream of 'oh it'll get better!' to dashed or set back, because this is an emotional roller coaster - but one that is worth seeing through to the end.

The animals in this book, and the fact that we finally have a female who cares and understands for them is amazing. Love the name drops for those who would have actually been in London at this time, like Wellington and Darwin.

The racism Sahira faces makes me so sad. I wish I could have wrapped her up and helped her - especially when adults thought they knew better simply because they were older. We all know that isn't always the case! There are so many adults in this book I would have happily carted off for hurting Sahira.

Not the usual type of book I'd read, and even though I felt emotional while reading this book - it was worth reading. Enjoy the ride!

TRIGGER WARNINGS SHOULD BE USED FOR THIS BOOK. Publishers please think about this more next time!

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Sahira is a young Indian/English girl who just lost both her parents while traveling to England. All Sahira has left to her name is the clothes in her trunk and the blue boots on her feet. The last remembrance of her parents are the two tigers, Rama and Sita, who were saved from death and are now with her on the journey to England. Sahira must live in an orphanage and adapt to the ways of English society. Along the way, Sahira learns a lot about life, friendships, and a love for her tiger friends that no one can deny. This book felt like a mash up of Annie and A little Princess. I highly recommend this read to anyone who enjoys a courageous young lady protagonista. The only downside for me was the ending; which fell a little flat. The ultimate showdown did not live to my expectation or excite me like other books of it's kind have done before. But with that aside, I am overall pleased with this novel.

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“Sahira knew only too well how they felt. Fitting in with this new London life felt a little like sloughing off her old ways, revealing a new and vulnerable skin.”

Thank you to NetGalley for an early copy of this book for review.

CW: Bullying, physical abuse, child abuse, grief, loss of parents.

Sahira doesn’t have an easy time from the first time she steps foot on the page. Traveling to a new country, she’s already lost her family and she’s about to lose her animals, which she’s come to think of as family, too. Whilst dealing with grief, she’s thrown into a land that doesn’t want to accept her as who she is and is desperate to bend her to their will. It’s not an easy story to read and yet it’s really impactful.

Sahira is a really inspiring character. Not only does she always fight for what she believes in and the people that might be less fortunate than her, but she doesn’t give up. She just brushes herself down and tries again – which is hard. She’s constantly being battered from multiple directions, but she just ties the laces on her blue boots tighter, holds her chin up high and carries on. She kind of defies gender conventions or, maybe more accurately, the need to fit in a gendered box, being as happy to parade around pretending to be a princess as she is to pretend to be a boy. She’s smart and brave and she’s a perfect role model for girls – especially for girls who don’t usually see themselves in books.

Sahira makes a number of different friends once she gets to London. Whilst they’re rarely perfect and aren’t always there for her, it was good to see Sahira have some light in her life. My favourite had to be Ned, with his constant gratefulness for Sahira and his love of a certain striped beast.

Her best and most loyal friends are, of course, the tigers. I loved her relationship and the loyalty she returned to them. I also really appreciated the gentleness and understanding she put into each species. I really hope she got to become an explorer when she became older.

I loved how Sahira’s experiences translated onto her view of the world. Of course it would be easier for her to understand and navigate this huge, scary city if she thinks of it as a familiar jungle.

The orphanage felt like a suitably depressing place. Sahira did better than most to keep her hopes up, but my heart broke for every time they came crashing down. I really despised everyone in that orphanage (bar maybe two) and all I wanted to do was give Sahira a hug.

I’ll be honest, I had a little issue with the pacing. The start was felt quite dense and, when mixed with this overwhelming sense of sadness, it felt a little slow. I thought it really picked up when Sahira started visiting her tigers again and interacting with other children that were interested in the animals’ welfare. I found the end to be really fun and exciting, though, and I liked the high-stakes side of it. It felt like a satisfying happy ending.

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Sahira lost her parents to fever on board the ship which was taking them to London by The East India Company representatives who her father worked for.
Along side her are two tigers that were being delivered to the menagerie in the Tower of London but before her father died he asked her to keep a promise to protect them. Arriving at London she had no where to go as no one would take care of her because of her native background, the only place would be an orphanage. This is her journey to find a way to get back to them and fulfil her promise.

I truly loved this story. It was so heartwarming and played with all my emotions. Sahira is a intelligent 12year old girl who would not be accepted because of her ethnicity. This quote just sums up her struggles that no one cares for her and that the tigers is all she has left to feel close to her parents.
“But one look at that unfortunate complexion and they will know” sniffed Mrs Bingham. “There’s no whitewashing her scandalous birth.”

The detailing in this story is perfection and I could imagine every scene in my mind like it was a movie.

I was kindly given the opportunity to read this in advance, thanks to Lion Hudson Ltd through NetGalley for an exchange for an honest review.

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Take one girl, orphaned on the way to England for the first time from her homeland of India. Deserted and left in an orphanage, separated from the only family she has, and stripped of even the name that she knows, Sahira must fight for her own sanity and survival. Fortunately, along the way, she makes new friends, is re-united with old and forges a new life for herself.

Technically, this is historical fiction, and would definitely appeal to lovers of that genre, but there is also so much here for adventure-lovers, those that want to learn more about the struggles of others and those that simply want an extremely well-written story. I would recommend this to any mature reader of about 9 years upwards.

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On her journey from India to 1830 London Sahira becomes an orphan. Being mixed race (daughter of a British Captain and a Persian noble woman) she doesn’t fit in anywhere, and we follow her as she tries to find a home for herself and her tigers.

This is a great story about the prejudices (both regarding race and sex) Sahira faces as a ‘savage’. It is about mourning for the loss of her parents. And it is about fighting for what is right and never giving up on your dreams. It was heartbreaking to read about the life Sahira found herself in the orphanage. It was so unfair. And yet she never gave up, and never gave in to the bullies. She really was an admirable main character to follow.

And then there were the animals. It was sad to see the way they were treated then, but also great to read they were in the process to understand them better, and to try and make them actually happy. I also loved the small role Darwin had to play in the story.

I cannot comment on the cultural accuracy Julia (a white woman) portrayed in this book, but to me she seemed knowledgeable enough. Sahira is raised with both Christian and Muslim customs, and speaks English and Farsi, as well as Hindustani. She gets annoyed when being mistaken for Hindoo, and does speak all three languages throughout the book.

For all the sad and unfair moments that make your heart ache, this book has a very happy ending, which also nicely wraps everything up. I am very happy I read this book, and would like to thank Netgalley to provide me with a copy for review.

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Sahira Clive arrives in England with two Royal Bengal tigers that she must deliver to the Tower of London Menagerie. They are her last link to her home in India, and to her parents, who died on the voyage to England. Friendless and alone, she is forced to live in a grim orphanage; her one joy is being able to go and see the tigers at the Menagerie. But then, when the Menagerie is in financial troubles the tigers are to be sold. Can Sahira rescue them, and will her father’s family rescue her from the cruelty of the orphanage?


It was the gorgeous cover that first caught my eye; the girl with the brown skin and swirling red hair, flanked by those tigers, just ooze power and mystery. I soon found that The Tigers In The Tower is an absorbing tale full of adventure, adversity, friendship and beautiful animals. Sahira is exactly the type of bright, outspoken heroine to appeal to fair-minded and compassionate young animal-lovers. The book has a wonderful cast of likeable friends and boo-hiss-worthy villains. I loved the fact that it featured a protagonist with an intercultural and interfaith family, and the passages that evoked the beauty of India’s natural world. The gentle humour offsets the hints of darkness in the novel, and a brisk pace with plenty of conflict and setbacks keep the tension building towards a satisfying conclusion.

There were one or two aspects that perhaps could have been thought through a little more. For instance, although I thought Sahira was a wonderful heroine, I found myself wishing she had a name other than 'Clive' as I couldn't help thinking of the troubled history associated with Robert 'Clive of India' (probably not something most children would notice!). I also felt that, while Golding took pains to show the particular influences of both parents on Sahira’s upbringing, the focus on her special relationship with her father somewhat overshadows her relationship with her mother. Richard’s words are often quoted whereas Noor-un-Nissa's are not; she has no voice in Sahira’s memories, and so we get less of a sense of her personality.

None of this takes away, however, from the many positive things in the novel. Golding deftly portrays the different characters' motivations for their actions - even those that aren’t morally right: there were many times I felt indignant for Sahira’s treatment by others, yet I couldn’t help but feel for the dilemmas facing Emily, Anne and even Sahira’s aunt. Sahira makes a positive role-model in being assertive and resilient, but also compassionate and generous. Golding also sensitively examines the attitudes of sections of English society towards mixed-race Anglo-Indian children, which would make a great starting point for conversations with children about racism, prejudice, and British colonialism.

I thought the cameo appearance by Charles Darwin was a brilliant touch, and the history of the London Zoo and the Tower of London Menagerie was fascinating. Regarding the latter, I’m in full agreement with one of the characters who declares, ‘His Majesty’s Keeper of the Lions – that sounds like the best job in the world.’

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I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This is an excellent historical fiction middle grade set in 1830s London. Our main character, Sahira, is the daughter of an English lord's son and an Indian noblewoman, who are travelling from India to England to deliver two tigers to the Tower of London. We learn that a tragedy has occurred as Sahira's parents have died on the voyage. Instead of exploring England with her parents and meeting her father's family, Sahira finds herself alone and unwanted and is placed in a grim orphanage. Well alone that is except for her two tigers. As the only link to her parents and her previous life, Sahira is determined to make sure they are taken care of. However, as you might expect, two tigers are not easy to look after and Sahira goes through many adventures, making new friends along the way.

Sahira's wonderful personality shines out of this book and she is just a joy to follow as a main character. Her intelligence, her love for animals, her sense of justice and her determination make for a very compelling character. You really want her to succeed and you feel each unfairness and disappointment along with Sahira. The animals she meets and the friends she makes all add to the charming feel of this story.

For those who like to learn new information while being entertained by the story, the author has clearly done a lot of research and there are many historical details. As well as learning about the history of the Tower's menagerie, the story shows people's attitudes to exotic animals at the time and the ways in which they were treated. The time period is portrayed very well and we glimpses into the power of the government, the establishment of the police force and the methods of transport being used at this time.

The atmosphere created by the author is spot on. Sahira's experiences at the orphanage have an Oliver Twist/Jane Eyre feel to them and the villains are truly Dickensian. When Sahira tells tales of her life in India, she brings wonder and colour to the story and you can picture her running free with her animals.

Throughout the story, the author addresses themes of belonging, understanding and prejudice (against race, sex and religion). Sahira's appearance leads many people to make assumptions about her before they even get to know her. While the setting is historical, the issues covered are still so relevant today.

I would recommend this book to readers aged 8+ who like historical settings or stories with animals. Be aware the book does include parental death, a scene of corporal punishment and other violence to children.

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Free ARC provided by NetGalley, thank you so much.

Sahira’s family are travelling to England to deliver two Indian tigers to the menagerie in the tower of London.
But tragedy strikes and Sahira’s parents die on the journey. Upon arrival in a England Sahira finds herself confined to a miserable and dangerous orphanage as the English side of her family refuse to have anything to do with her all because of her mixed heritage. Sahira is determined to carry out her father’s last request and protect her tigers despite threats she's facing every day.

What a marvelous little story of a young girls love for the animal kingdom. Sahira is facing all sorts of challenges but she stops at nothing to ensure the tigers well being and even though it is absolutely heart breaking to read parts of it you know that all things will end well when someone this passionate and determined has taken upon themselves to protect you

I'm going to get my daughter to read this because I know she's going to love it

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Thank you so much to Netgalley and the publisher Lion Fiction for this ARC in exchange for a true honest review.

I have to say that this was my first book by Julia Golding and after reading this beautiful book and story, she is now one of my favorite writers that I'm going to follow.
This is one of the best stories I've read this year, it made cry, resent the human beings, then smile and feeling hopeful.
What an amazing story. My heart broke for this little girl facing all these insufferable situations with all those horrible people. She faced death, discrimination in all its high colors and violence. A little girl of two different cultures one Indian Muslim and the other British Christian, facing the lost of her parents in their travel to England with a cargo of two tigers to deliver to the menagerie in the tower of London. Sahira Clive discover the ugly truth about how people see her because of her complexion and not as just the daughter of Captain Clive. She is seen and judged as a savage unwanted orphan and thrown into a horrible orphanage where she will learn how to face bullies and injustice the bad way. But she made good friends that will help her in her little odyssey to get back to her true home and family. You can not not get attached to this little girl and feel for her. She is amazing, smart, kind, beautiful and emotionlly spiritual. I loved everything about her.

I loved Sahira's story and character, it reminded me of all these books: "Anne and the Green Gables" with "Little Princess" and "The book of the Jungle". It was a page turner that I could not stop reading when I got the time to start it.

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This was such a refreshing book to read. The main character, Sahira has to make her way alone in the world after tragedy strikes her parents.

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I really enjoyed this book! I used to love “A Little Princess”, so I was excited to read a new book based on that classic. I really liked Sahira, though I felt sad for her for all she went through. Just like a “A Little Princess”, this books packs an emotional wallop!

I loved the contrast of cultures. Sahira lived in India before going to England and it was interesting to see the differences between the cultures. I felt bad for Sahira because many characters in the book didn’t accept her culture and tried to change her and suppress who she was.

I liked how Sahira relates to people by comparing them to animals. For example, when some people gang up against Sahira, she thinks of what happens when ducks gang up against a solitary one and how vicious they can be. Her father worked with animals and taught her many things, so that is how she understands people’s actions, through a lens of how different animals act.

I really enjoyed this book! It is beautifully written, and I loved Sahira!

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Well this was a truly delightful tale. My heart broke for Sahira during her days at the orphanage. I can’t imagine feeling like you have no one to love you or even care for you. It made me think of all the children who are either without a home or without a loving home. I loved her and Ned’s friendship and how it developed through the story. Not to mention the one family member who sought to include her even though as a child himself, there was not much he could do. I love how Sahira cared and demonstrated her feelings for the tigers. Oh that we all had something or someone we would fight for and fiercely defend.

This was such a fun imaginative story. I can’t wait to share this with my own children.

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This book really took me by surprise. A beautifully written story about Sahira Clive and her tigers, Rama and Sits.
Sahira has been orphaned on the journey to England and is separated from her beloved tigers.
The story is about love, friendship and understanding and is written beautifully. I was gripped from the beginning.

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I loved this story! It reminded me of the Little Princess and the Secret Garden, with characters and misfortunes worthy of a Charles Dickens novel.

Sahira is brave and determined to care for her tigers, even after losing both her parents on the voyage to England and being forced into a harsh orphanage where criminals have the upper hand and the proprietor is greedy and cares nothing for his charges.

She makes friends and braves many challenges on her quest to help her tigers. And she helps many other people along the way, never once backing down or giving in to bullies, no matter how much trouble she lands herself in.

I was rooting for Sahira the whole time, and thoroughly enjoyed reading about her adventures and exploits and especially her love for the animals. Middle grade readers of all ages will love this adventure that's full of heart.

*I am participating in an upcoming blog tour for this book. I will post my reviews on my blog and tumblr blog on November 19.

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Sahira was a very 'real' character to me. Like others have mentioned, this book draws similarities in my mind with 'The Little Princess' and I think 'The Secret Garden' somewhat. These were just the kind of books I loved as a child. Overcoming real adversity, division and racism, Sahira (and the tigers) are a great addition to children's literature. Recalling the time when the Tower of London's menagerie was still present at the Tower. This fascinated me. I would recommend this book heartily to my class, as I think the fact that Sahira is so strong, motivated and real as a character works well within this book. She has spirit, a real embodiment of the kind of constant problem solving and resilience needed for the time, despite everything that she experiences. Thank you for the ARC, NetGalley!

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5 stars

This is a book which many people need to talk about. I don’t know why there is not much hype about it. This is one of the great books with stunning illustrations which kids would enjoy more for the middle grade students.

This is about a girl who grew up a mixed race in the 1820s. She was an orphan who had to stay at horrible places which i myself felt emotional about!

I don’t want to spoil too much! Highly recommend to pick this up :)

Thank you for the lovely advance copy Netgallery !

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The Tigers in the Tower is an enchanting tale full of action and adventure.

Sahira's family is traveling to England to deliver two tigers to the menagerie in London. However, they fall prey to sickness leaving Sahira alone in the care of people who want nothing to do with her.

With such a heart-wrenching beginning, the book commanded my attention and did not leave it till the last page. Golding skilfully captures Sahira's feelings. She is a free-spirited girl. However, she is now not only an orphan but is also trapped in a patriarchal society. As if being a girl was not enough of a punishment, she also must deal with the prejudice against her dark skin, a by-product of being a mixed-race child. Double whammy!

Alas! If the girl's woes could end here. Orphaned on the ship while traveling to England, she could not even fully process her grief before she has to learn to live in a miserable orphanage. Again, Golding poignantly sketches how dejected Sahira feels about being uprooted from her childhood home and having to deal with vicious bullies in the orphanage. I felt her anger at being patronized by people who did not know her culture.

Yet, even in this utter darkness, our girl remains brave and befriends some souls who help her survive.

However, it was the scenes involving the animals that I admired the most, especially, the scenes with Rama and Sita, the tigers. Golding conjures vivid imagery of the various animals encountered in the book.

Being an Indian, I also wholeheartedly treasured the Indian representation in the book. Sahira's mother was Indian, belonging to the city of Hyderabad. The descriptions of the exotic spices, food, garments, and the bazaar of Calcutta (now Kolkata) were accurate. I could feel myself standing there with Sahira as she reminisced about her visit to the bazaar of Calcutta looking at the various stalls selling a variety of merchandise.

Moreover, there are some clever analogies between life in the jungle and human survival.

Sahira was undoubtedly my favorite character in The Tigers in the Tower. I was rooting for her throughout the book as she fought against every injustice meted out to her. When she could not and instead chose to retreat because she was on the weaker ground, I applauded her intelligence. She was indeed a brave heroine. Further, she is supported by an able cast of supporting characters, whether be it her friends in the orphanage, the kind Mr. Cops, the cruel Mr. Pence, or the pompous people she befriends in the menagerie.

To conclude, regal descriptions of the wildlife, a poignant sketch of the life of an orphan girl, sensitive portrayal of bullying and racism, a fast pace, and a happy ending make Julia Golding's The Tigers in the Tower worth reading. I heartily recommend this middle-grade fiction to adventure lovers.

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Sahira is alone in the world after her parents died on the voyage from India to Englad. They were transporting animals to become part of the King's Menagarie and all had been fine until her parents caught a fever from a sailor, leaving Sahira an orphan. She is quickly scuttled off to an orphanage.

Having a Muslim mother from India, Sahira's ethnic identity is looked down up by her peers as well as the orphanage staff. A spunky, intelligent 12 year old, Sahira wants nothing more than to live with and take care of the tigers with whom she had crossed the ocean. But neither the zookeeper, nor his wife have any interest in taking on a boarder. Sahira's prominent grandfather, wants nothing to do with her-- fearing she may ruin his other granddaughters' social prospects.

There are hints of The Little Princess within the story but with the wonderful addition of Sahira's rich, cultural upbringing in India. While she tries to hold on to her Indian identity, her new guardians are doing all they can to erase not only that but also any inheritance she may be owed.

When the tigers become lethargic and refuse to eat, the zookeeper is forced to request Sahira's help to bring them back to health. This leads to an arrangement with the orphanage to allow Sahira to help the animals daily. When the zookeeper offers money to the orphanage for the use of Sahira, the deal is sealed. Those moments at the zoo help make up for the misery Sahira experiences at the hand of resident bullies.

Sahira is a well-educated young woman and readers will learn a great deal about animals as well as history as she shares stories and educates other characters. Sahira's spunk and determination in spite of incredible obstacles (and determined enemies) will have readers cheering for her from the very first page.

The exciting conclusion reminded me a bit of Little Orphan Annie. I highly recommend this story that packs in lots of adventure, loyal friends, and a thoroughly satisfying conclusion!

Parental Advisory: Charles Darwin is a minor character in the book and he offers some explanation of his theories about adaptations of species. Could provide some opportunities to research and discuss the validity of his theories. There is also some discussion of Sahira's mother's religion.

Disclaimer: I received a digital copy of The Tigers in the Tower from the publisher Lion Hudson, Ltd. through NetGalley for the purpose of review. No other compensation was recieved.

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"A Little Princess" meets "The Jungle Book" in this beautiful tale of a brave girl holding on to hope and fighting for her loved ones.

Sahira is the star of the story. She goes through so much in the tale. She faces bullying, racism and nearly loses all the things she holds dear to her heart. At times, I wanted to go into the pages and hug and support her for what she goes through. Yet, she remains strong and fights against all odds. Even the supporting characters like Mr. Pence, Mr. Rummage, Ann, and Emily add nicely to the story.

Moreover, the author writes the story in such a whimsical and charming manner. At times, I felt like I was reading an old children’s classic. Also, the story gets intense as the plot progresses. I loved the scenes where Sahira faces Mr. Cops to save Rama and Sita from Jamrach. The author also does a beautiful job of describing the animals. On a side note, I did not know what a marmoset till I read this story.

However, I would have liked the author to space the cast evenly in the plot. It felt like there were a lot of names thrown in only for specific parts of the story. For instance, characters like John and Bobby show up in the latter half of the tale. Even the ending felt rushed with a sudden twist that I did not expect.

Apart from that, this was a charming tale. I would recommend this story if you like middle-grade adventures or tales set with Indian characters and animals. Overall, I enjoyed reading The Tigers in the Tower.

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It was a fantastic read!! An amazing story representing Indian ethnicity. Exotic magical adventure with colourful characters and vivid imagination. Fast paced and short read. I really like the incorporation of animals in this story.
Recommend to all children !!

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As soon as I saw the words “A Little Princess” in the blurb I knew I had to read this book. Growing up I adored the movie “A Little Princess” and I even remember crying in elementary school over Sara and her situation at the boarding school. It is a story that has stayed with me all the way to adulthood. What Julia Golding did with this spin on that classic story just amazes me. The stories of India folklore that Sara tells during her time in the boarding school come to life in Golding’s The Tigers in the Tower.

I knew that I liked Sahira from the moment we first meet her on the pages of this story. She is resilient, kind, smart, and quick-witted. All of these traits served her so well over the course of her journey. She manages to make friends, fend off bullies, and make her own way in the world, which is not a small feat for an Indian girl plunged into a world of prejudices against her. Sahira is the definition of someone rising above their circumstances. She took her life into her own hands and decided that no adult was going to make her feel bad about being herself in their world.

The story elements in The Tigers in the Tower were nicely paced and made for a lovely, quick read. I believe that many middle grade-aged children will be able to appreciate the social issues that are tackled in this novel as well as the importance of being kind to any person of any background. The animal facts in this book are also very interesting and fit really well within the plot. These extra little facts didn’t feel random at all and it boosted Sahira’s background in taking care of wild animals.

This book is definitely getting a re-read from me in the near future and this book is something I will be planning on sharing with my future children (I hope they have a love for reading lol).

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The Tigers in the Tower by Julia Golding is one of the best books I read this year.

The novel is set in London in the 1830s. Sahira is on a ship to England to get a better education. Unfortunately, her parents die on the journey, on the sea. Sahira is shunned both in India and in England. Her mother is a Muslim and her father is a Britisher which is unconventional both in India and England.

Sahira lands in London with her pets, two tigers. Sahira is taken to an orphanage with a cruel and greedy caretaker. Her only hope in her life is her two tigers which were taken to a menagerie. Sahira manages to get a job at the menagerie to take care of the tigers but the owner wants to sell them. Will Sahira be able to save her tigers and keep them under her care?

I loved the ‘Indian Princess’ character reference of Sahira and glimpses of her life in India with her parents. Sahira is shown as a brave and smart girl, who fights for the things that matter. She faces bullies at the orphanage, makes new friends, and seeks help at unexpected places to save her tigers. The situations that Sahira landed in almost broke my heart. As I approached the end, I almost prayed that Sahira’s life should turn over for the better.

The Tigers in the Tower is a modern classic that is worth reading. Thank you @netgalley and @lionhudson for the ARC.

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I have just finished reading The Tigers in the Tower by Julia Golding and I have a feeling it will sit with me for quite a while. This book is middle grade historical fiction of the highest order. The story centres around Sahira whose father was an English gentleman and mother was a Persian lady. As such in 1830 she is seen as an outcast wherever she goes. She doesn't seem to be wanted by her English relatives or her Indian ones. She finds herself alone and unwanted in a country that she doesn't know with only 2 tigers are her link to her previously happy life; for sadly her parents died on the journey from India to England.

My heat went out to Sahira right from the beginning of the story. This is a fierce, proud and spirited young girl trying to hold her head high and remain positive and resilient when her whole world has been taken away from her. From the beginning I found myself hoping that someone would show Sahira some kindness, and got emotional at even the smallest acts of kindness shown to her, such was the amount of empathy I felt for her plight. I don't know if it is because I am a parent or because I am a teacher, but I just really felt for her.

As I read the book I became more drawn into the world of Georgian London and became more and more invested in Sahira and the array of characters that were to become her friends (and enemies). Sahira embodied the character of her tigers through the story and showed fierce determination in trying to keep them safe, fierce determination as well in the will to not give into the bullies who only showed her cruelty and spite.

At it's heart this is a story about finding your place in the world, it's about character and staying true to what is right, it's about family and friendship. Through the story Sahira learns to deal with her plight and the message that people adapt and are resilient sings through clearly.

The story is beautifully written and evokes the feeling of the time vividly. The world of the Tower of London menagerie is one I know little about (only what I have read whilst visiting the Tower on a trip to London a few years ago) but it is absolutely fascinating. Also seeing famous characters like the Duke of Wellington and Robert Peel brought to life (however briefly they were in the story) was a bit of a thrill for me.

What really made the story for me though was the characters. Apart from Sahira herself, there are the people who befriend her including Mr Cops the head of the Menagerie, Ned the bootboy, Bobby, son of Robert Peel and a few others. They become almost an adopted family for Sahira and show their true value towards the end of the story.

I'm unashamed to say that I had a lump in my throat by the end of this book. Reading it was tense at times, but only because my heart ached with the cruelty that had been shown to Sahira by the Newton twins and Mr Pence, who ran the orphanage that Sahira found herself in. I spent the first half of the story cheering at every show of strength and defiance from Sahira as she showed the same fierceness as her tigers and refused to bow to her tormentors and the second half of the story desperately hoping that there would be hope for Sahira and an end to the cruelty that had been directed towards her. I won't spoil the ending of the story for you but it was a faced paced whirlwind of a ride by the end and I was left extremely satisfied by the conclusion.

This book would be perfect for aged 9+ but I am sure some children slightly younger would enjoy it as well. The language is rich and vibrant and really evokes the times and characters. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves a character rich story, especially if they are also fans of historical fiction.

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(3.5) I’ve been watching a lot of Alfonso Cuarón’s work recently. One of my last classes before graduating was about cinema and literature and his work was the focus of one the biggest projects for the class. So when I read about this book that promised to be similar to A Little Princess, I was intrigued.
The Tigers in the Tower is the story of Sahira, a girl who loses her family when they embark on a journey that would take them to England. Alone in an unknown country, she decides to find a way to make her parent’s last wish come true: make sure Rama and Sita, the two Indian tigers traveling with them, are taken care of and looked after.
In order to do so, Samira goes on a fantastical adventure around London, discovering friends and allies in the most unexpected places.
This book was great; it reminded me why I love MG books so much. It touches many hard topics like racism, colorism, abuse and bullying, making sure to do so in a respectful way. Although the ending wasn’t my favorite, I still feel like it’s a great, quick read.

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The Tigers in the Tower is a quick read geared toward middle grade readers. The story centers around Sahira, who is grieving the loss of her parents, and her determination to fulfill her father’s wishes to protect the tigers. Sahira’s journey is an emotional one with her facing many challenges, prejudice, and conflict. She is painted as a vivid character and her emotions and passion shine through in the writing. There are a lot of characters introduced along the way - some middle grade readers may need to take notes as a strategy to remember all of their roles. I enjoyed the incorporation of the animals in this story, as well.

Some of my favorite quotes from this novel:
“Don’t worry. Like Sinbad, I’ve travelled to places they’ve never been, faced down threats they can’t imagine. They haven’t met anyone like me before.”

“Did Sahira care? Not a whit. In fact, she was pleased they didn’t like it.”

“See: you do understand London.” Only when thinking of it like a jungle, Sahira decided. The beasts at the top – the lions like Wellington – did not want to give any territory to other creatures, defending the pride of the privileged. Hyenas like the Newtons liked it most when the jungle was lawless and the lion sleeping in his den. Having the lion employ – Sahira tried to think of a suitable comparison to policemen – elephants to drive off the hyenas from the grazing population was doubtless an unwelcome shock to the scavengers.”

I received a copy of this title from the publisher via NetGalley. This did not affect the content of my review and all opinions are my own.

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The Tigers in the Tower is a truly beautiful book interwoven with history and culture. Sahira is an amazingly clever and strong character and I loved reading about her journey and her schemes with her friends. With well-developed characters, a dark backstory, and plenty of laugh-out-loud moments, this book is an absolute joy to read. Julia Golding’s stunning writing pulls you from your world and drops you in the middle of 17th-18th century London and then takes you back to India through Sahira’s storytelling in this gorgeously atmospheric tale. This feminist historical fiction novel explores social issues from the time period as well as problems that still exist to this day. I always love learning something new from a good book and this one definitely taught me a bit of Indian history and culture as well! The plot of The Tigers in the Tower is intricate and darkly sophisticated. Sahira faces many obstacles that no child should ever have to and yet she perseveres. I must admit that the book did get a bit slow at some points but it is 100% worth pushing through that. The orphanage trope does seem a little bit overdone but in this context still managed to be mostly unique. Outside of those things, though, The Tigers in the Tower is a wonderfully elaborate and immersive story perfect for history nerds, fans of The Jungle Book (the original, there are no talking bears in this one) alike, or anyone looking for something beautiful and unique.

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I really enjoyed this book. It was easy to read and follow the plot line. I loved the characters and their personalities. Would recommend.

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