The Lido by Libby Page

Sometimes a book just leaves you wanting more – and stays with you long after you finish it – making it a very difficult job to pick up another read. I believe that this describes a ‘book hangover’ – and that was what ‘The Lido’ gave me.

‘The Lido’ has been sitting on my shelf since the start of the year, and I just had not picked it up, not for any particular reason, other than the fact that I am a mood reader. However, I should have realised that this book would actually have been a perfect read to boost my mood (until the ‘book hangover’ bit at the end).

I could really relate to Kate and the loneliness that she feels at the start of the book; it really reflected how I found some of my experience of living in Italy for a year. It was very easy once you were home to close a door and retreat back into your own company and avoid socialising. Until, for me, I met the family that treated me as though I had always been part of their family. And, for Kate, it is the moment that she meets Rosemary, an 86-year-old widow, who wants to save the lido in Brixton. For Rosemary, the lido is the place that keeps her connected to her husband George and, for Kate, the lido becomes the place that allows her to feel as though she belongs in her new home town. So, the unlikely pair, along with many other fantastic characters, campaign to save the lido and preserve it for future generations.

This is a fantastic, uplifting story that reminds you of the importance of friendship, and that friendship can be found anywhere – but it also reminds you of the importance of community spirit.

I really liked the way that memories of George held by Rosemary were seamlessly entwined into the narrative (and, trust me, they pull at your heartstrings). You move between past and present (for both Kate and Rosemary) without fully realising it’s happening and with no interruption to the story being told.

I honestly cannot rave about this book enough. I felt truly connected to the stories and the characters. I cannot fault anything, and I will be recommending it to everybody who feels that they need an uplifting and positive read – and to be reminded of the beautiful side of human nature.

So, if you only pick up one book I have reviewed this first half of 2023, then make it this one.

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