Orion Books April 2018
‘The Lido holds so many memories for us all.
For children who have never been to the seaside it is their summers and their freedom.
For parents it is the memory of seeing their child swim for the first time – that moment when you just have to let go and let them fly.
And for me, well for me it is my life.’
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 feels 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, to show the importance of friendship, the value of community, and how ordinary people can protect the things they love.
I liked the look of The Lido and the sound of The Lido as soon as I saw it and I am delighted to announce it was everything I wanted and expected it to be! With 2 well developed central characters in Rosemary and Kate, this really is a wonderful story of friendship and its healing powers. Rosemary has always lived near the Lido and it holds a wealth of memories for her, the prospect of it closing magnifies her sense of loss because it has played such a big part in her life. For Kate it starts as a story for her newspaper, her life is sad and lonely as she struggles to make a career away from home but she finds so much more in the legacy of the Lido and a much bigger story to be told.
This is a warm and nostalgic read, detailing a community where people stay, live and work, where their parents knew each other and there is a wealth of memories from days gone by. Rosemary is a lynchpin of this neighbourhood while Kate in contrast struggles to be seen. But these women crucially have a strength that will compliment the other and in this way their friendship develops, for Kate this is a story of recovery, while for Rosemary this is her life.
I read this with some friends on Instagram and we all agreed Rosemary was something very special, a wise woman, a healer. For me this book is part of a modern theme in contemporary fiction which draws on the strength of humanity, the kindness of others, the community and all that encompasses. It is a book I will be recommending for its ‘feel good factor’ and for making me want to swim outside and support my own neighbourhood!
The book itself is written in alternating chapters from Rosemary and Kate’s point of view as they work together to save The Lido. Written entirely in the third person, Rosemary’s story details her past, her history with The Lido. Interspersed among these chapters were some snippets of other Lido users, which the group I read with all agreed added depth to the story and gave a flavour of the diverse community. This book is idealistic and uplifting as people come together for a common cause. I felt it contained a wisdom and some valuable lessons about how we live, getting involved and noticing others and valuing what we have within our community…because we don’t always know what we have lost until it is gone.
‘The next Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine’ The Independent