Meet Rosemary, 86, and Kate, 26: dreamers, campaigners, outdoor swimmers…
Rosemary has lived in Brixton all her life, but everything she knows is changing. Only the local lido, where she swims every day, remains a constant reminder of the past and her beloved husband George.
Kate has just moved and feels adrift in a city that is too big for her. She’s on the bottom rung of her career as a local journalist, and is determined to make something of it.
So when the lido is threatened with closure, Kate knows this story could be her chance to shine. But for Rosemary, it could be the end of everything. Together they are determined to make a stand, and to prove that the pool is more than just a place to swim – it is the heart of the community.
The Lido is an uplifting novel about the importance of friendship, the value of community, and how ordinary people can protect the things they love.
Published 19th April 2018 by Orion (UK)
You know how every now and then a book comes along that you just completely and utterly fall in love with? The Lido is one of those books. It isn’t full of big twists, grand and fanciful worlds or sensational story telling. Its beauty is in its simplicity. A story of ordinary people, living ordinary lives but bursting with humanity and tenderness, I adored everything about it.
Kate moved to London to start a new life as a journalist. Only two years on she’s desperately lonely and riddled with anxiety. When she’s assigned the closure of a local Lido to cover for the small newspaper she writes for, she’s meets eighty six year old Rosemary, and is surprised to find a tight knit community thriving beneath the outward bustle and coldness of the city. But with the future of the Lido at risk, so too is the community built around it. Kate is determined to do all she can to save it.
I absolutely got Kate and her feelings of loneliness, having experienced it myself in the past. I found myself nodding as Libby Page absolutely perfectly describes feelings of isolation, failure and separation – it’s so real and raw I could almost feel them myself.
I also loved the depiction of the community within a community, how if you scratch the surface you can find these little pockets of friendship, support networks and belongingness. It’s a sad fact that these communities are becoming increasingly rare and difficult to maintain, as facilities close and people become more and more shut away in their own bubbles. The Lido is a place that all walks of life can access, and draws attention to the fact that as these council and community run facilities close, there’s whole sections of society who loose access completely.
But what, or who I really loved was Rosemary and her story. She’s a real heroine and lynch pin of her own community. I’d love to know a Rosemary or aspire to be like her when I’m her age. She strong, passionate and loyal. But her story is filled with an extremely tender love story which was just so utterly romantic it melted my heart.
The Lido is one of those special books, reminding us that actually, the extraordinary is usually found in the ordinary and that people are stronger together. It’s sheer feelgood and heartwarming from beginning to end. Libby Page’s depiction of the sense of community at the Lido was so evocative, I almost felt I was part of it myself as I was reading and really wished I was when I’d finished. Tender, emotional, simply beautiful, I can’t recommend you pick this up and give it a go yourself enough!
(I read an advance copy courtesy of the publisher)