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 center), 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 that Rosemary fell in love with her husband, George; here that she 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, aging, and friendship.
|Publisher:||Simon & Schuster Audio|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 1.50(h) x 5.00(d)|
About the Author
Libby Page graduated from The London College of Fashion with a BA in fashion journalism before going on to work as a journalist at The Guardian. After writing, her second passion is outdoor swimming. Libby lives in London, where she enjoys finding new swimming spots and pockets of community within the city. Mornings with Rosemary (originally published as The Lido) is her first novel. Follow her on Twitter @LibbyPageWrites and Instagram @TheSwimmingSisters.
Read an Excerpt
Mornings with Rosemary
Step out of Brixton underground station and it is a carnival of steel drums, the white noise of traffic, and that man on the corner shouting, “God loves you,” even to the unlovable.
“Tickets for the Brixton Academy tonight,” yells a ticket tout at the station entrance. “Buying and selling, tickets for the Brixton Academy!” Commuters shake their heads at promoters and preachers who try to thrust leaflets into their clenched hands. You push through the crowds and walk past the Rastafarian selling incense and records outside Starbucks. Across the road is Morleys, the independent department store that has stood on the street for years. “Love Brixton” glows in neon lights in the nearby window of TK Maxx.
Today spring flowers bloom in buckets at the flower stand: daffodils, tulips, and fat peonies. The florist is an old man in a dark green apron with soil under his nails and a gold chain around his neck. Whatever the weather, he sells “Sorry”s and “I love you”s at a reasonable price. Wrap it in brown paper and tie it up with ribbon.
Next to the station is Electric Avenue: it heaves with people and market stalls selling everything from vegetables to phone chargers. The air smells of sweet melons and the tang of fish. The fish lie on beds of ice, turning it from white to pink throughout the day and reminding you that you should never eat pink snow either.
Market traders fling prices across the street at each other, discounts thrown like Frisbees. Catch it quick and throw it back.
“Three for a tenner, threeforatenner.”
“Don’t miss out, three for a fiver, THREEFORAFIVER.”
“Three for a fiver? I’ve got five for a fiver!”
On the other side of the street Kate walks quickly home from her job as a journalist at the Brixton Chronicle. She doesn’t have time to examine vegetables. Or maybe she just wouldn’t know what to look for. It may be spring, but Kate is living under a cloud. It follows her wherever she goes, and however hard she tries she can’t seem to outrun it. She weaves through the crowds, desperate to make it back to her house and to close the door behind her and climb into bed. When she is not at work, her bed is where she spends most of her time. On the street, she attempts to block out the sounds around her, trying not to let them fill her up and overwhelm her. She keeps her head down and focuses on the pavement.
“Excuse me,” she says, stepping past a plump elderly woman without looking up.
“Sorry,” says Rosemary, letting Kate pass. She watches the back of the young woman hurrying away—the woman is petite with a midlength light brown ponytail flicking behind her with the speed of her walk. Rosemary smiles, remembering what it was like to be in a rush. At eighty-six, she rarely goes anywhere fast. Instead she carries her shopping and walks slowly away from the market and toward her flat on the edge of Brockwell Park. She is dressed plainly but neatly in trousers, comfortable shoes, and a spring mackintosh, her thin, wavy gray hair pulled back from her face and secured with a clip. Over time her body has changed to the point that she barely recognizes it anymore, but her eyes are still the same—bright blue and smiling even when her mouth isn’t.
Today is Rosemary’s shopping day. She has made the rounds at all her favorite shops and stalls, said hello to Ellis the fruit and veg man, and collected her weekly brown bag of food. She has popped into the secondhand bookshop run by Frank and his partner, Jermaine. The three of them chatted for a while, Rosemary sharing the window seat with their golden retriever, Sprout, and looking along the shelves for something new or something she might have missed last week. She likes stopping there and breathing in the musty old smell of hundreds of books.
After the bookshop, Rosemary steps inside Brixton Village and is hit by the smell of cooking spices and the noise of people talking and eating at tables in the passageways—the same noises and smells she has become accustomed to through her weekly visits. The market is airy and some restaurants provide blankets that people drape over their shoulders or laps as they eat. Strings of lights hang from the high ceiling, making it feel like a Christmas market even in the spring.
To Rosemary and her friend Hope, whom she meets here for a weekly catch-up and slice of cake, it’s still Granville Arcade, the only place where Hope could find the Caribbean foods she so missed when she first moved to Brixton when she was twelve. It is now filled with independent restaurants, shops, and stallholders. The change still unsettles them but they like the coffee shop where the young barista knows their orders and starts making them as soon as he sees them approaching through the window. And the cake is delicious. Hope speaks proudly about her granddaughter, Aiesha, and her daughter, Jamila—busy as usual with work. When Jamila passed her final medical exams, Rosemary had sent her flowers with a card that read, “Dear Doctor . . .”
Hope and Rosemary reminisce about when they worked in the library.
“Do you remember the first time Robert plucked up the courage to ask you out?” says Rosemary with a laugh. Hope’s husband, Robert, had been a bus driver before retiring a few years ago, and when they were both young he would visit the library every few days after his shift, looking around eagerly for Hope’s hourglass figure.
“It took him long enough,” Hope says, laughing. “I’ll always remember how you used to disappear up a ladder and stack books when he was there so he’d be forced to speak to me.”
The two women chuckle together, both of them relishing this part of their week. But now Rosemary’s feet hurt and she is ready to be home.
“Same time next week?” says Rosemary as they part, hugging her friend and realizing that at sixty-eight, Hope, too, is now an old woman. She squeezes her a little tighter—to Rosemary she will always be the cheerful young girl who started at the library when she was eighteen and who Rosemary took under her wing.
“Same time next week,” says Hope, giving a final wave as she turns off down the street to collect Aiesha from school (the favorite part of her day).
Now, Rosemary passes the queues for the bus stops and crosses the junction where the old cinema stands on the corner, the names of this week’s films spelled out in white letters on the black board. Opposite is a large square where elderly men sit in chairs and smoke while teenagers skateboard around them.
As she gets farther away from the station, shops turn into terraced houses and blocks of flats. Eventually she reaches the Hootananny, the rickety old pub famous for its live music. A strong, sweet smell floats from the benches outside where people sit and drink pints and smoke. Here she turns left and follows the road that wraps around the edge of the park toward the mid-rise building where she lives.
The lift, often broken, is working and she is relieved.
Rosemary has lived in the flat on the third floor for most of her life. She moved there with her husband, George, in 1950 when the building was newly built and they were newly married. The front door leads straight into the living room, where the most noticeable thing is the bookshelf that runs the full length of the right-hand wall.
The kitchen next to it fits a table, two chairs, and a television that rests on the washing machine. When Rosemary has unpacked her shopping, she crosses the living room, opens the doors, and steps onto the balcony. Her navy swimsuit hangs from the washing line like a flag. There are plants out here: just a few potted lavender, nothing too extravagant—it wouldn’t suit her. Rosemary can see Brockwell Park stretching ahead of her, taking her far from the noise and the crowds at Electric Avenue.
Spring is in bloom and the park wears a new green coat. There are the tennis courts, a garden, and a small hill with an old house that used to be a manor and is now used for events and a concession selling ice cream and snacks to sticky-fingered children. Two sets of train tracks loop around the park: the real one and a miniature one that is only for the summer and very small children. The sun is just starting to set and Rosemary can see people, enjoying the lengthening days. Runners make their way up the hill and down again. And on the edge of the park closest to her balcony a low redbrick building wraps its arms around a perfect blue rectangle of water. The pool is striped with ropes that split the lanes and she can see bright towels on the decking. Swimmers float in the water like petals. It is a place she knows well. It is the lido, her lido.
Reading Group Guide
This reading group guide for The Lido includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Libby Page. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.
Kate is a twenty-six-year-old who works for a local paper in Brixton, London, covering forgettable small stories. When she’s assigned to write about the closing of the local lido (an outdoor pool and recreation center), she meets Rosemary, an eighty-six-year-old widow who has swum at the lido daily since it opened when she was a child. The lido has been a cornerstone of nearly every part of Rosemary’s life.
But when a local developer attempts to buy the lido and replace it with 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 she pieces together portraits of the pool and 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 begins to open up to Kate, transforming them both in ways they never knew possible.
Topics & Questions for Discussion
1. Describe the opening of The Lido. How does it establish Brixton as a character? Do the interludes throughout the novel of life there help you to understand the community better? What do you think of Brixton? Is it somewhere you could see yourself living?
2. When Kate is first introduced to the reader, she is described as anxious, “living under a cloud. It follows her wherever she goes, and however hard she tries she can’t seem to outrun it” (2). What was your first impression of her? What do you think of the life she creates for herself in Brixton? Does she seem happy to you? Why or why not?
3. Describe your first impression of Rosemary? Do you like her? Rosemary is acutely aware of the results of aging, from the aches in her knees to the free bus card that she is now eligible to receive. Both are “a part of her life now that she resents. She still always pays for her bus ticket, on principle” (14). What does this detail tell you about Rosemary? In what other ways does she attempt to exert control over the aging process?
4. Rosemary agrees to allow Kate to interview her about the lido on the condition that Kate goes for a swim. What prompts Rosemary to require this? How does swimming in the lido expand Kate’s view of it? Would you have agreed to Rosemary’s request?
5. Describe Kate’s relationship with her sister. Is Erin a good older sister to Kate? Why or why not? Why do you think Kate is nervous about introducing Erin to Rosemary? What do the two women think of each other?
6. Rosemary and George are described as “a couple, like the quotation marks around a sentence” (73). Is this an apt description? How would you characterize Rosemary and George’s relationship? Do you think it was a solid one? Why or why not? How did they compliment each other?
7. The early articles that Kate writes for the Brixton Chronicle are “not stories that she would show the tutors who taught her journalism master’s classes” and the fact that her mother collects them in a scrapbook “makes it even worse” (9). Describe the Kate’s articles. Why is she ashamed of them? Why do you think her mother’s saving them compounds Kate’s feelings? Do you think she is a good journalist? Explain your answer. What skills does her job require?
8. When Kate was studying to be a journalist, she struggled to take the words of her classmates “as a comment on something she had created outside of herself, rather than a personal attack” (210). Is this still true of Kate? One of her colleagues tells her that she is too personally invested in her stories. Do you agree? How does this affect Kate’s stories?
9. When Kate thinks of Erin and her life “she feels left behind, as though Erin has run off into the distance and Kate is left frozen on the starting line terrified by the sound of the gun marking the start of the race” (55). Compare Kate’s view of Erin’s life with its reality. Are there any issues that Erin struggles with? What does Erin think of Kate? What causes the two to open up to each other? Were you surprised by any of their disclosures?
10. Rosemary tells Kate, “When you’re my age you’ll understand. . . . You begin to miss yourself” (62). What does Rosemary mean? What parts of herself does she miss most?
11. Why is Rosemary initially reluctant to reach out for help in saving the lido? What changes her mind? Describe the people who join or aid the protests to save the lido. Do any of them surprise you? Which ones and why? What reasons do the others have for helping?
12. While Kate doesn’t know Jay particularly well “his strawberry blond hair and kind face are part of the fabric of her days at the paper and somehow soothing” (119). How is Jay able to calm Kate? What role does he play in the protests? Why is the lido important to him?
13. When asked about why the lido is important to her, Rosemary “can’t begin to say everything so instead she says the start of the truth” (64). Discuss some of the reasons the lido is so important to Rosemary and to the community of Brixton. If Kate were asked the same question, what do you think her answer would be? Are there any places in your life that are as important to you as the lido is to Rosemary and Kate? Tell your book club about them.
14. What are some of the ways that the residents of Brixton attempt to save the lido? How do Kate’s and Jay’s professional roles influence their methods of protest? Were there any that you thought were particularly successful? Which ones and why? How would you have protested to save the lido if you were in Kate’s position?
Enhance Your Book Club
1. If possible, go swimming with your book club. What was this like? Did you find it as refreshing as Rosemary does or as calming as Kate does? Why do you think being in the water helps both women?
2. When Rosemary and George begin living together, she asks him “how shall we organize the books? . . . Shall we have a shelf each?” (103). Do you organize your books in any special way? If so, tell your book club about your method.
3. The Lido has been optioned for a film. Who would you cast as Kate? As Rosemary? How would you structure the film?
4. The Lido has been compared to A Man Called Ove. Read both books with your book club and discuss them, comparing and contrasting the themes of each. In what ways were they similar? Do you think that Rosemary and Ove were alike? If so, how?
A Conversation with Libby Page
Congratulations on the publication of The Lido! What was the most rewarding part of publishing your debut novel? Was there any aspect that surprised you?
Thank you! I have dreamed of being an author since I was around six years old, so having that dream come true has been an amazing experience. I quit my job in marketing shortly after receiving my publishing deal, and I feel so lucky to now be able to spend all my time doing the thing that I love. I didn’t really know much about the publishing process when I wrote my book, so it has all been a huge learning experience for me.
For Kate, “Seeing her own name . . . printed alongside her article in the Guardian feels surreal but thrilling” (214). Before becoming a novelist, you also worked as a journalist there. Can you tell us about the first time you saw your name in print?
I actually first saw my name in print when I was very young. As a child I entered every writing competition I could find and subscribed to a magazine for young writers. I entered far more competitions that I won, but when I first saw a poem I had written in the magazine it really inspired me. It made me believe that if I loved writing as much as I did, and worked really hard at it, that maybe one day I might be able to do something as exciting as having my own book published. I feel so grateful for those early experiences that fueled my drive to write.
Like you, Kate is both a swimmer and journalist. Is this where the similarities end? Are there any autobiographical elements in your story?
I think most writers draw on their own experiences in some way to fuel their writing. Although Kate is very different to me in many ways, there are certainly aspects of my life that I used as inspiration for my writing. I moved to London from a small town (actually much smaller than Bristol, where Kate is from) so know what it feels like to arrive in a big city and struggle to find your feet. I think there is a perception that your early twenties are going to be the best years of your life, but I know for myself and many of my friends there were also lots of stressful elements in trying to find our way in the world. That was definitely something I wanted to explore in my book, and I hope that anyone who may have had a similar experience is able to relate and realize they are not alone.
Can you tell us about your writing process? The Lido is intricately plotted, moving seamlessly between past and present and between Kate and Rosemary’s stories. Did you plot out the entire book before you began writing it?
I spent about six months prior to writing The Lido planning the story. This didn’t mean plotting the entire book; instead I wanted to really flesh out the characters and the themes in the story before starting to write. That way it meant that the characters and the story were able to take themselves in their own direction to a certain extent. That said, I had the idea for the final line of my book very early on. I found that it helped to know the point that I was working towards.
Your descriptions of life in Brixton from the lido to the market stalls are incredibly vivid and written with great affection. Did you base those descriptions on time spent at there? Do you still visit Brixton? Are there any other places in London that you love?
I lived in Brixton for a while as a student, and really fell in love with the area. It felt to me a very distinct community but also a community that was under threat. By the time I started writing the book I had actually moved to North London, but I drew on my fond memories of Brixton and went back regularly for inspiration. I do still spend time there and it will always hold a very special place in my heart. But one of the things I love about London is that there are always new places to discover. I now live in North East London and have enjoyed getting to know that area—from the River Lea that I run alongside most mornings to local community groups that I have become involved with. Some other favorite places in London include Hampstead Heath and the swimming ponds there, the canals in Little Venice, and the beautiful view from the top of Primrose Hill. I feel very lucky to live in this city!
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers? Anything that you wished you knew?
My main advice would be to stick at it! I have wanted to be an author for as long as I can remember, but there were certainly times when I doubted I could actually make it happen. It took me a year to find a literary agent, and I was close to giving up when I found my now agent. I am so glad that I persevered. As writing is (usually!) a solo activity it can at times be quite isolating, so I would definitely recommend keeping friends and family close—I feel so grateful to have the support of my loved ones when I’m finding the writing tough, or just want someone to talk to about an idea. Also, don’t be afraid to step away from your writing if you’ve hit a block—I find some of my best ideas come when I am out for a walk or a swim and my mind has a bit more space to wander.
Similarly, do you have an advice to aspiring swimmers? Swimming in the lido brings a sense of peace to Rosemary and Kate. What would you like to tell your readers who are reluctant to take the plunge?
I actually only really learned how to swim a few years ago, so I would say it is never too late to discover a love of swimming! I learned to swim as a child but was never very confident in the water. A few years ago my sister, who is a strong swimmer, gave me some lessons and with a lot of practice I learned to improve my stroke and my confidence. Don’t be put off if you have to start small—I started being only able to manage a length or two at a time. For me swimming outdoors is more about the experience of being in the water than it is about swimming, so even a quick dip can feel really rewarding.
Both Kate’s and Rosemary’s first experiences swimming were particularly memorable to them. What was yours like? Did you swim in a local lido? If so, can you tell us about it?
As a young child we had a tiny local outdoor pool that we went to with my school. I don’t remember much about it other than it always feeling very cold! Throughout my childhood I enjoyed splashing in pools on holiday with my family, but it’s only as an adult that I’ve become a confident swimmer and really taken to the water.
What do you hope that readers take away from The Lido?
I hope that reading The Lido might make readers consider the value of places in their own community, whether it’s a local library, bookshop, or swimming pool. It’s easy to take these for granted, but I think our towns and cities would be so much sadder if such places no longer existed. They represent values of community and friendship that I believe are important to all of us as humans and are worth fighting for.
Are you working on anything now? Can you tell us about it?
I have been working on a second novel—the theme of which is still to be revealed! It is a standalone book, so not related to The Lido, but I hope that readers of The Lido will enjoy it too. Watch this space!
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The Lido by Libby Page is a heart-warming tale. Rosemary Peterson has watched a lot of her local area of Brixton in London change drastically over the years but one constant has been the local Lido where Rosemary loves to swim and socialise. Now, like many of the local, traditional shops and amenities, it is threatened with closure. Kate is a new to the area, reporter tasked with reporting on the plight of the Lido and in doing so encounters Rosemary. As the two women talk Rosemary opens up to Kate and a wonderful friendship blooms. I loved this book from the very first chapter. It was like a birds-eye view of the market and the passing interaction between Kate and Rosemary was a fabulous way to start the story. Following Rosemary as she goes about her shopping excursion and meets up with her friend Hope. With whom she had worked in the library for years prior to its closure. This first chapter cleverly tells us quiet a bit about Rosemary and the area in which she lives. It is an example of the strength of writing maintained throughout this moving tale. I could almost see, hear and smell the market and this was a feeling that continued throughout much of this story. The Lido is such a beautiful story and I enjoyed every single page of it. It is well written with true feeling and an understanding of the importance of friendships old and new. Kate is in her 20’s and Rosemary is in her 80’s but as Rosemary and Kate spend time together and fight to save the Lido their friendship grows. Through Rosemary, Kate learns a lot and grows as a person. This book also highlights the impact that the closure of social amenities like Lido’s and libraries is having on the people that have spent years enjoying them. Considering that this is Libby Page’s debut novel it is an outstanding, heartfelt tale.
If you want to spend some time with many warm and interesting characters and feel right at home in their tight-knit community, this is the book for you. The two main characters, Rosemary and Kate, are at opposite ends of life yet become close friends, each one helping to save the other. Kate is a reporter for a local newspaper, and she and her boss have a relationship reminiscent of Mary Richards and Lou Grant. The other townspeople are a diverse and likeable mix who show what the word "neighbor" really means. The book is filled with detailed descriptions that help you really get to know the town it is set in, which is almost like a third main character. While the writer seems to be stretching a novella into a novel at times, with repetition and slowness of pace, it is a real treat to spend time in the company of her realistic characters. I especially liked the look at Rosemary and George's long term, love-filled marriage .
When your eyes are glassy and your nose is dripping and your heart is full - you know you just finished a good book. I honestly don't know what drew me into this book? The drawn cover with cheery blue waters and skies? The description? Or the fact that this book is marketed in the likes of A Man Called Ove by Frederik Backman? Probably all of them combined - and boy am I happy that I picked it up. Despite picking it up because it was similar to A man Called Ove I was astonished at just how similar the two books actually were. There was an elderly grieving person, there was an unlikely friendship, infertility, heartwarming romance, a wedding, a gay couple and a strong community. Check, check, check. This is honestly my only grief with this book - it was just way too similar. I especially liked the anxiety representation in this novel - it was real and relatable and it brought a great dimension to the story. I also think that I am a sucker for unlikely friendships and this book has got one of the best ones. But I am even a bigger sucker for a tangible, soft and oh so romantic love story. Rosemary and George's love was so real I could feel it pouring over the pages. Their relationship was the most beautiful thing I've ever read about in a book. I adored them and I aspired to be like them - they were so unapologetically in love and it showed in everything they did. I cannot wait for July so this book gets published and I could post some quotes from it - I highlighted a lot of them! There were some true gems there. I definitely recommend this book, especially because the story is about a lido (an outdoor pool) and it's almost summer time - you won't find a more perfect book! Also, get our your swimsuits out because this book WILL make you want to swim.
The Lido is an uplifting, heartwarming debut novel showing how relationships and community connections can change lives. Kate who is prone to panic attacks is an introverted low-level journalist for a community newspaper who is assigned to cover a story about the potential closing of the local Lido (outdoor, open swimming pool) and community center for a developer who proposes to build apartments with a private tennis court in its place. The receptionist at the pool suggests Kate interview 87-year-old Rosemary who has been swimming at the Lido for 80 years. These two lonely souls forge a friendship as they endeavor to save the Lido, in the process allowing each of them to grow and discover an inner strength. The coming together of the community to preserve the Lido shows the importance of community and the importance of those relationships brought together by a community. This book will pull at your heart-strings as you experience their hope, loss, determination, struggles, and love.
When the neighborhood swimming pool known as the lido is set to be sold many people are upset. Rosemary, in her eighties, has a special attachment to the place. It has played a big part in her life. The local newspaper sends a young reporter, Kate, to cover the rumored sale of the lido. Kate, who deals with anxiety and panic attacks, wants to interview Rosemary for her article but it won’t be as easy as that. Rosemary agrees but only if Kate will swim at the lido with her. Just about the last thing Kate wants to do is buy a swim suit and then go swimming. But she’ll do it for the story. What follows is the story of a community and a place that is important to them all. A story of an unexpected friendship for Rosemary and Kate – at opposite ends of life but kindred spirits all the same. It’s a story about never losing hope. If you’re looking for a warm hug of a book about life this could be one for you. I’m so happy I had a chance to read it and I was really glad to have a box of Kleenex nearby as I finished reading. 4.5/5 stars
This is a very touching story about an 87-year old woman named Rosemary who lives in the Village of Brixton in England. Her apartment's balcony overlooks "The Lido," otherwise known as the local community pool. More than anything else in her long life, she associates this pool with much of her happiness and fondest memories. She swam there as a child during the war, and even had her first date there with George, her beloved late husband. Now at the age of 87, she still starts her mornings at the lido with a refreshing swim, then hangs her wet swimsuit to dry like a triumphant banner on her balcony. In fact, most of the time the doors to her balcony are open so as to let the welcoming sights and sounds of the lido drift in. Now the lido is in danger of closing, targeted by a firm named "Paradise Living" to be cemented over and become a private members' gym. Rosemary spearheads a protest effort by distributing homemade "Save the Lido" fliers throughout the neighborhood. This comes to the attention of the local newspaper who assigns newbie reporter Kate to flesh out an article. To that end, Kate contacts Rosemary for an interview, which triggers major changes in Kate's life for the better. Rosemary insists that Kate go for a swim before she will grant Kate an interview. Kate complies, finding the peace and serenity it provides a soothing revelation. A sufferer of panic attacks, battling depression and anti-social tendencies, Kate finds the lido's waters replenishing to her well-being. Kate authors a running series of articles on the mounting anti-closure lido protest, of which she becomes an enthusiastic participant. At the same time, she becomes a loving and close friend to Rosemary. In doing so, she opens the door to other friendships and even romance. This was a gentle, pleasant and poignant story that will touch your heart with its sense of community and simple pleasures in life. Thank you to publisher Simon & Schuster who provided an advance reader copy via NetGalley.
Have you ever moved to a new city or state and been nearly swamped by loneliness? I have! And that's Kate Matthew's situation now that she's moved to South London and gotten a job reporting for a local newspaper. It's gotten so bad that she's suffering from overwhelming panic attacks. "I had always been anxious but it got so much worse once I was in London." Most of her assignments have been of the 'lost pet' variety but now her boss wants her to cover the proposed sale of the Brockwell Lido, the local outdoor pool and gym, by the Lambeth Council to make room for more profitable property development. Kate is told she should interview eighty-six year-old Rosemary Peterson, who has been coming to the pool almost daily for eighty years. Rosemary agrees to the interview IF Kate will go swimming in the pool. And that one acts changes Kate's life. Soon she and Rosemary have become fast friends and Kate is helping to organize a protest to stop the sale. This is a lovely, heart-warming story about love and friendship, standing up for what's right in the face of greed and Progress with a capital 'P'. Wonderful characters make this story come to life. Highly recommend! Many thanks to the publisher for providing me with an arc of this new book through NetGalley for my honest review.
This is a debut novel by Libby Page. The book tells the story of a community and of the characters of individuals who come together to try to save the neighborhood pool or lido. Each character is explored through their connection to the pool and then beyond. The action centers on Rosemary and Kate. Rosemary is in her eighties and has gone to the lido for most of her life. While other children were taken out of the city during WWII to avoid bombs, her mother kept her close at hand so she has never been without the lido. When a posh apartment developer shows up to close the pool, Rosemary is inspired to try to save it. Kate is a young journalist who is having problems adjusting to her place in life. She meets Rosemary, who challenges her to try the lido. When she does, she is also inspired to help Rosemary in her quest. The story tells of their quest and that of those whose life touches and intersects with them. The story made me laugh and made me cry. It made me think and daydream. It made me want to know more about the people who surrounded the lido. I can’t think of anything more I could ask for in a novel. I look forward to more books in the future by this talented author. I was provided a digital advance reader copy of this book by the publisher via Netgalley.
The Lido is simply a lovely book. It is a story of friendship between the generations and the joys of community. Kate is a twenty-six year old reporter who suffers from a panic disorder. She is assigned the story of the lido, an outdoor pool, that is threatened with foreclosure. In covering this story, Kate moves ahead in her own life. Kate works with eighty-something year old Rosemary on the lido campaign. The story of the lido links with Rosemary's childhood and marriage. Widow Rosemary recalls the love of her George throughout the novel in touching and moving ways. Surprise of this book...author Libby Page is only in her 20s and this is her first novel. Bravo Ms. Page! You have written a sweet, touching and life-affirming story.