Originally published: 19 April 2018
Author: Libby Page
Published by: Orion
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Length: 384 pages
Reading dates: 10-15 October 2018
Star Rating: 4/5
Set in Brixton, London this is the story of the community there and how they come together to try and save the lido being turned into a tennis court by a housing developer.
Rosemary is 86 and has been going to Brockwell Lido all her life. All her memories of her marriage to her beloved husband George centre around the lido and the life they shared there. Even at 86, Rosemary still visits and swims there daily.
Kate is a 26 year old journalist, working for the local paper and is desperately lonely, often suffering from panic attacks. When her boss asks her to look into the threatened closure of the lido, Kate meets Rosemary, and an unlikely but beautiful friendship forms between the two women.
What struck me was the true sense of community in Brixton – Kate through Rosemary soon meets a wonderful set of characters who make her feel welcome. Frank and Jermaine who own the struggling bookshop, greengrocer Ellis and the people who work and frequent the lido are all so lovely.
The story is mostly set in the present day but we do look backwards to Rosemary’s childhood, how she met and fell in love with George, the love and heartbreak they shared together.
It is a real heart-warming story – the friendship between Rosemary and Kate is beautiful and they both help each other. Rosemary senses Kate’s loneliness and reaches out to her and in return when Rosemary is ill with the flu, Kate is the one to care for her. I love that their friendship saves them both. The outcome is perhaps a little predictable (but to be honest I didn’t mind that), it is a beautifully emotional story, which several times almost moved me to tears.
I’d love to visit Brixton now (the descriptions are so vivid and it sounds wonderful) and I’d love to see Brockwell Lido and maybe even go for a swim!
I was lucky enough to meet Libby at the Guildford Book Festival last weekend and get my copy signed.
About the author:
Libby Page is the debut author of The Lido, published in the UK by Orion and by Simon and Schuster in the US. Rights to The Lido have been sold in over 20 other territories around the world.
Before writing The Lido Libby worked as a campaigner for fairer internships, a journalist at the Guardian and a Brand Executive at a retailer and then a charity.