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The Elephant Keeper by Christopher Nicholson
In The Elephant Keeper, a ship docks in Bristol, England in 1766 with a cargo of exotic animals from the East Indies, including two elephants. A wealthy merchant buys the elephants and entrusts their care to Tom Page. Tom knows nothing about elephants, but through trial and error, he learns to tend to their needs and forms a close bond with them. The elephants are eventually sold separately, and Tom follows Jenny to an estate owned by Lord Bidborough, It's a peaceful pastoral life for the two of them, but as they move from owner to owner, they face challenges and cruelty they must overcome together. Christopher Nicholson's debut novel has received positive reviews with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch saying, "But more importantly, Tom and Jenny's long journey makes The Elephant Keeper an extended meditation on human needs and how our choices shape a better or lesser existence. In a kind of 'It's a Wonderful Life' episode, Tom even visits the life that might have been his. This part of the tale serves as a wise but sorrowful coda for this poignant, heartfelt novel."