This is a book full to the brim with everything; love, heartbreak, friendships, relationships, perseverance and how important communities are. It is the ability to throw a bunch of people together, old and young, to fight for something they have all fallen in love with that has helped Libby achieve something so tearfully, beautifully written. Libby has made something for all generations to love through the power of Rosemary and Kate; two souls joining forces and creating the perfect friendship along the way.
‘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 is 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, and to prove that the pool is more than just a place to swim – it is the heart of the community.
The Lido is an uplifting novel about the importance of friendship, the value of community, and how ordinary people can protect the things they love.’
I started The Lido amongst the heat of last week, sitting on a park bench with an ice cream in hand, diving into this fresh faced read. I got lost in the words and was mesmerised by the worlds of Rosemary and Kate. Two incredibly different people that Libby uses to portray many issues from anxiety to loss, but most of all, she uses these characters, and many more, to tackle an issue that communities are facing now – the Council closing places that bring people together; children centres, youth centres, libraries, but in this case Libby has used the environment of a lido to get her voice across to us, and it works so well.
The flashbacks told from the voice of Rosemary made me feel all warm inside. I aspire for my own marriage to be like hers and George’s. The love, laughs and adventures they had together is inspiring, and it is so nice to see Rosemary remembering all of the good times they had together, with us grasping a sense of the struggles, from never conceiving to George’s final moments. As a result, Rosemary cannot entertain the fact that the lido may be closing, and she will use all of her 86-year-old force to try and prevent it.
Kate, a journalist, needs something to focus on to stop her anxiety from rearing its head, and saving the lido is exactly what she needs to help her. She throws her everything into this task, and along the way she makes a forever friend in Rosemary. They both come to depend on each other, which is something everyone needs in life, to be able to rest some of their problems on another person – ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’. Kate also clearly needs some love and desire in her life, will this happen for her?!
I loved the ending, it is what could happen in real-life. Libby has pulled all edges of the story together in one almighty crash of fighting for love. Libby is a storyteller of the finest calibre and I am excited for her future in the literary world.
Thank you to Rebecca Gray at Orion for providing me with a copy of #LoveTheLido in return for my honest opinion in the form of a review.
I urge you all to experience the delights of this book which is out now.