Book ten of the challenge!! I have reached my personal goal and I’m really pleased I managed it, fingers crossed I can get a few more for this years challenge…
A tender, joyous debut novel about a cub reporter and her eighty-six-year-old subject—and the unlikely and life-changing friendship that develops between them.
Kate is a twenty-six-year-old riddled with anxiety and panic attacks who works for a local paper in Brixton, London, covering forgettably small stories. When she’s assigned to write about the closing of the local lido (an outdoor pool and recreation centre), she meets Rosemary, an eighty-six-year-old widow who has swum at the lido daily since it opened its doors when she was a child. It was here Rosemary fell in love with her husband, George; here that she’s found communion during her marriage and since George’s death. The lido has been a cornerstone in nearly every part of Rosemary’s life.
But when a local developer attempts to buy the lido for a posh new apartment complex, Rosemary’s fond memories and sense of community are under threat.
As Kate dives deeper into the lido’s history—with the help of a charming photographer—she pieces together a portrait of the pool, and a portrait of a singular woman, Rosemary. What begins as a simple local interest story for Kate soon blossoms into a beautiful friendship that provides sustenance to both women as they galvanize the community to fight the lido’s closure. Meanwhile, Rosemary slowly, finally, begins to open up to Kate, transforming them both in ways they never knew possible.
In the tradition of Fredrik Backman, The Lido is a charming, feel-good novel that captures the heart and spirit of a community across generations—an irresistible tale of love, loss, ageing, and friendship.
A few years ago I saw a lot of people reading this book and saying how good it was so when I was looking for a new audiobook and it popped back up on my radar I knew I had to read it. I love books that just fill you up with happiness and this is certainly one of those books, even when there are uncertainties within the characters or it feels like the odds are stacked against them there was still this pervading sense of hope.
It is amazing that such a simple concept for a story can really pull on your emotions but I think because at its core this story is all about the characters and Libby Page has done an amazing job in bringing these characters to life. I found there was a lot for me to relate to in Kate’s character and I loved that she finds her inner confidence through meeting so many wonderful new people and I loved her developing friendship with Rosemary. Rosemary is the kind of character that I just instantly wanted to hug, she’s just lovely and it was so nice to see how her relationship with George evolved over the years, those sections of the book had me feeling everything one minute I was laughing or I would have a wee tear in my eye.
I have to say that whilst Kate, Rosemary and George take centre stage in this book there is a cast of characters that make up the Brixton community and they are also all well developed and give you a real sense of what it is that Kate and Rosemary are fighting for. I definitely felt myself pulled into this community and wanted so badly for them to be able to save the Lido because I could really feel how much it meant to all the characters.
The narration was amazing Claire Corbett did a fantastic job of giving each of the characters a distinct voice and bringing the story to life, she made it easy to feel part of the world that these brilliant characters belong to.
If you are looking for an uplifting and beautiful story with friendship and community at its heart then I would highly recommend The Lido.