Author: Libby Page
I reviewed other two books by Libby Page before, the Island Home and the 24-hour Café. Accidentally, I worked my way through her books in the reverse order so now I read her first book The Lido. As with the other two books, I loved it and once again, Page thrills me with her love of water and London.
The book is about a friendship between Rosemary, an old, retired woman who has swum in lido in Brixton all of her life and has memories of her late husband George with whom she swam until he died, and these memories include their first dates, the first time they made love, and all holidays, and Kate, a young journalist working in local newspapers in Brixton. The Lido is not just a place for swimming, it is also a place of community in Brixton, and it is a beach for people who cannot afford holidays in the coast. What is more, Lido is a place to escape the everyday struggle and Page beautifully describes how water makes you feel young, nothing hurts even if you do have weak knees like Rosemary, and the cold water overwhelms you and sets you free. So, like in the Island Home, there is water here but whilst I do always see water in Page’s books (which is why I love her writing), she also writes about communities. In all three books, the storyline centres around communities, the Kip Island in the Island Home and the community supporting and accepting each other. In 24-Hour café, a community of people who come to the café in a city of strangers, and now also Lido, a community in Brixton where people come to relax and swim.
In the case of the Lido, it is under attack from a development company that wants to redevelop the area, build luxury apartments, and turn the lido into a tennis court. Kate, an otherwise unsuccessful and invisible journalist who normally writes about missing pets, suddenly gets a local story that launches her career. But what is more, she meets Rosemary and then the whole community, which she never noticed despite living there for a while. Suddenly, the story becomes personal activism and a desire to save lido and make a difference. It also means saving herself because lido provides Kate with relief and the support she needed…
What is also wonderfully written here is Kate’s battle with the Panic, or anxiety and panic attacks that she secretly deals with in her house with flatmates she does not know and never sees, thus bringing again the notion of London as the city of strangers as with the 24-Hour Café but also London as a place of small communities. The lido provides Kate with shelter and recovery because water indeed heals, I could not agree with that more.
Another wonderful book by Libby Page and, it goes without saying that I pre-ordered her new book getting published in February 2023 and cannot wait to read another story of community and hopefully water 😊
Thank you for reading.
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