‘A joyous feel-good debut novel about community, friendship and outdoor swimming.’I have one very special person to thank from the outset for my copy of this wonderful and heart-warming book, Katherine Sunderland (aka BibliomaniacUK). You will find Katherine’s incredible book blog over at https://bibliomaniacuk.blogspot.ie/I was having a mini crisis and Katherine sent me a copy of The Lido to cheer me up…and Katherine…..it did!!The Lido, published April 19th by Orion, is a very special book, described as the feel-good read of 2018 and ‘perfect for fans of Joanna Cannon’s The Trouble with Goats and Sheep and Gail Honeyman’s Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine.’If you haven’t read this Sunday’s Times Top Ten Bestseller yet, you are in for a very special treat.If you need anymore convincing, please do read on for my thoughts..
About the Book:
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.
‘Sometimes in life, you need to swim outside the lanes….’
The Lido is the debut novel from Libby Page and is a book that I really am so delighted to have read. Set in London, The Lido tells the tale of The Brockwell Lido, a place I knew nothing of until I started reading this book. Actually I had never heard or knew anything about the existence of any of these incredible facilities, these Lidos that are so much a part of communities all over London. The Brockwell Lido opened it’s doors for real in July 1937 and in more recent years it was closed from 1990 to 1994. A successful campaign run locally resulted in the reopening of the pool and since 2003, it has been listed Grade II on the National Heritage List for England (Source : Wikipedia)
In The Lido, Libby Page, imagines what would happen if The Brockwell Lido were to close and has created a magical and very special story around it. Libby Page is now an avid outdoor swimmer having discovered her local lido when she first moved to London from Dorset when she was eighteen. Not knowing anyone, this was Libby’s way of immersing herself in the community and starting a conversation. Having witnessed the closure of local gathering places for the development of residential and commercial property, Libby was inspired to write The Lido, a book which has already been optioned for a feature-film adaptation and will be published in over twenty other territories globally.
The Lido is a love story. It is a tribute to all the people who walk through the doors of these incredible places and find connections with strangers through a common love of swimming.
Rosemary is 86. Having recently lost her beloved husband George after 65 years of a wonderful and blessed marriage, Rosemary’s only safety net to keep her head above water, literally and figuratively, is her morning ritual of a swim at The Brockwell Lido. Rosemary has visited the lido daily from a young age, even through the Blitz. It has been a sanctuary to her, a place where she now feels George is by her side as she floats in the blue water and watches the clouds above her. Winter or Summer is all the one to Rosemary. She has her routine and her memories at the lido. She has her friends at the lido and she finds the will to keep going, without George, in her daily ritual.
But now the corporations are moving in. The lido is in financial difficulty and the council is threatening to sell the land to a developer who intends filling in the pool and building a members-only tennis court. Rosemary will not allow this to happen and starts to write up flyers which she posts in local businesses to rally support to keep the lido open.
Kate is a young journalist recently moved to London. Kate is lonely, very lonely and is finding it extremely difficult to settle into life in the big city. Her loneliness becomes all encompassing but she finds herself unable to admit it to any of her family, leaving them in the belief that she is managing just fine. Her job on the local paper is the initial stepping stone for her in the reporting industry and she is unwilling to admit that she is really struggling. A chance opportunity comes her way that opens up a whole new world for her. She is sent on assignment to write up a piece about the potential closure of the local lido and it here that she meets Rosemary. Rosemary encourages Kate to try out the pool and, though initially hesitant, Kate soon discovers that she likes swimming. At the pool there is a very friendly atmosphere, no matter if you are a judge, a nurse, a shopkeeper, a teacher, once you step into your togs, everyone is the same.
Soon Kate finds herself part of the lido story and part of Rosemary’s story. The warmth and welcome shown to Kate by all she meets, encourages her to open up a little and be part of something exciting and new.
With the threatened closure of the lido imminent Kate and Rosemary become a team. We witness the development of a very special new relationship but we also get to see the love of George and Rosemary over the years and how very magical their love truly was.
The Lido is most definitely up there with my top reads. I finished the last few pages on a beach in Co. Clare on a very busy May Bank Holiday weekend with tears rolling down my face. I cried for Rosemary and George, I cried for Kate, I cried as my head just filled with memories of days of old.
The Lido is a book that had a huge impact on me. The first thing I did upon finishing it was to research these wonderful institutions online. I did not know such an incredible number of lidos existed. I grew up in Cork City and we used to have our own lido, ‘The Baths’. I treasure the memories of summers spent slashing and diving, of Summer’s evenings swimming in the stillness when the crowds were gone home. The Baths are gone now, replaced by a hotel, but my memories will always remain special to me. Thanks to Libby Page, I was able to travel back to those carefree days and feel the sun on my skin and the giggles with my buddies as we eyed up the handsome lifeguard!!
I dare you not to love this book as much as I do. The Lido is an inspirational novel full of hope and joy. It is a truly moving story about never giving up, about believing in yourself and most importantly it is a story about friendship and love.
Thank you so very much Katherine for sharing your love of Rosemary and Kate with me. I will cherish their story.
Purchase Link ~ The Lido
Libby Page wrote The Lido while working in marketing and moonlighting as a writer. The Lido has sold in over twenty territories around the world and film rights have been sold to Catalyst Global Media. After writing, Libby’s second passion is outdoor swimming. Libby lives in London where she enjoys finding new swimming spots and pockets of community within the city.
Follow Libby on twitter @libbypagewrites