I lived in Brixton many moons ago. I loved a lot of things about my time there; the vibrancy, the kaleidoscope of cultures, the buzz and the markets and the independent cinema and the fact that it was at the end of the Victoria line which meant I always got a seat on the tube. It’s the first place I lived in London post-university, and somewhere that will always remind me of the electricity and the energy of the city I once called home.
Sometimes I love reading books that are set in faraway lands; countries I’m yet to visit and cities unknown – others times there’s nothing better than reading a book set somewhere you know well, whose pockets you’ve explored; whose parks and pavements and pathways you’ve walked. There’s a sense of familiarity, and of knowing that seeps through the pages; and such was true of Libby Page’s debut novel The Lido.
I was on a seven hour stopover in LA when I read The Lido, en route back to Sydney after a two week trip to London, but from the very first page I was back in Brixton; I could smell the sizzle of jerk chicken and hear the sing-song of the market sellers. The sense of place throughout the book is a strong one, and the setting is as prominent a character as its two protagonists Rosemary and Kate.
A tale of friendship, of unity, of compassion and community, The Lido tells the story of eighty-six year old Rosemary, who has lived in Brixton her whole life, and twenty-six year old Kate; a newcomer to London who feels lost in London’s labyrinth of loneliness. They form an unlikely friendship when Kate is assigned the closure of a local Lido to cover for the small newspaper she writes for; a place that Rosemary swims at daily, and within the walls of the lido Kate is surprised to find a tight knit community thriving beneath the outward bustle and coldness of the city. With the future of the Lido at risk, so too is the community built around it and both Kate and Rosemary are determined to do all they can to save it.
I loved a lot of things about The Lido – I loved its characters, its depiction of life in London – a city that can be isolating and lonely yet warm and wonderful if you’re lucky enough to call it home. I loved the depiction of female friendship between Kate and Rosemary, and how as a reader you can’t help but root for the saving of the Lido. I loved Rosemary’s back story, the growth of Kate’s as the tale progressed, and the way in which each and every one of the characters are so raw and relatable.
A compelling and uplifting read from the get go, The Lido is a charming tale of hope, of finding your feet in a big city and of learning to dive in at the deep end.
About The Lido
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.
About Libby Page
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.
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