Cover Image: The Lido

The Lido

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Member Reviews

Such a lovely book about how friendships can bridge age heal hurts. I enjoyed the community, friendships and  characters Libby Page brought to life.

I’ll definitely be looking for Page’s next book.
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The Lido is the kind of book that makes you feel good about humanity and makes you want to be a better person.  It is the kind of story that makes you look at your community with fresh eyes and think maybe it is time to come away from your little screen and the world curated through social media.  That being said, I read The Lido on my Kindle app on my little screen while traveling, which is one of the many applications for the Kindle app that make modern life a blessing to readers.

Kate is a reporter for a community newspaper in a small London neighborhood.  She suffers panic attacks, lives in a boarding house with roommates she does not know, and feels disconnected from her parents and sister.  All of this changes when she meets Rosemary, an elderly woman whose life story is intertwined with the local lido, which is slated for closure and redevelopment as a posh fitness center for the residents of the new apartment complex built on its grounds.  Rosemary introduces Kate to swimming and through swimming to herself, to the neighborhood and its characters, and to the neighborhood’s history through her personal history.  Rosemary grew up in the neighborhood and at the lido.  World War II and post-war London provide a romantic backdrop for a portion of Rosemary’s story, which becomes centered on her romance with her late husband, George, for whose memory Rosemary wishes to save the lido.  Ordinary people taking action to shape their lives and their communities.  Good stuff.

The story is engaging and the characters are likeable.  It’s a great summer or travel read–even on the tiny screen of the Kindle app.

Advanced copy provided via
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2.5 Stars- Rounded 

Kate is a 20-something reporter for a Brixton newspaper, writing stories that are best described as cage-liners, as her dreams of journalistic acclaim are buried beneath a less than glamorous life, panic attacks and her inability to truly get out and live because of her anxieties.  Someone who is very much in her own head, and far too concerned with why she can’t do something, than allowing the obstacles to pop up if they decide to, she felt very constrained and constricted.   But, when she’s assigned the story about the closing of the Lido, as with all she tackles, she’s determined to give it her best shot.  Rosemary has been swimming at the Lido since she was 6, some eighty years now. A source of memories, struggles and even housing her ‘younger self’, Rosemary losing the Lido would be as traumatic as her losing her George, her partner for years.  

So – if this were a review of the premise alone: the story would be a winner. It’s sweet, with Rosemary showing (by example  and simple supportive comments) Kate how to step forward confidently, and to stop thinking of herself in every situation, rather move into the situation to see what or how you manage it.  The gradual growth of Kate does come through, as does the curious view that Rosemary has of herself – almost fractured into the younger one, swimming before heading off to work, dating a younger George, pre-wrinkles and the slower, perhaps even more fragile older woman.  Unfortunately, this review can’t be about the premise – and the writing and plotting also have to be commented upon. 

I believe that Page had a concept that, while lovely, was far above her own capabilities at this time. Prose went from clunky and overly descriptive to swinging for ‘sharp and of the moment’ and missing more often than not.  There was a decided sense that meandering about until an issue popped up and could be sorted: making much of the story move without real purpose to an end that, to be honest, was nothing new or different. That in and of itself isn’t a bad thing, where the story fell short was in the pat ending combined with characters that also were familiar and didn’t present any spark of light that made them new and different.  Add to this several passages that served neither the story nor the characters, often wordy and ponderous and the lack of appropriate editing shines like a beacon.  Funnily enough, even with all of the misses, the lack of decided and defined purposeful writing and even a more often frustrating than likable Kate, I didn’t hate the story – as the intention of a friendship that spans generations and gives support and help to both parties was clear.  It just wasn’t enough for me to recommend this book, although I think that with time and some consistent work on the craft of novel writing, Page will have some wonderful stories to tell. 

I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility. 

Review first appeared at   I am, Indeed 
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First we meet Kate Matthews.  In her early twenties she has moved from her home in the suburbs of Bristol to take her chances in the big city of London.  She has settled in the London community of Brixton where she shares a house with four other people who she barely knows.  She has been here for two years now and is very lonely and depressed.  Also, lately she has been experiencing panic attacks.  She works as a journalist for a small community newspaper, The Brixton Chronicle. When she is not at work, she is usually in her bed.

"Stories were Kate's friends when she found people challenging. She searched them out, hiding among them in the library and tucking herself into their pages."

Next we meet Rosemary Peterson.  In her late eighties, she also lives alone.  She has been a widow for the past two years. Her late husband, George, was the love of her life and her reason for living. Across the street from Rosemary's flat is the Brixton Lido.  The Lido has always been a huge part of Rosemary's life.  She swims there every day and has since she was a young child.  She and George shared many loving memories there.  She has gone there during the war, during the London riots, and countless other occasions.

"Rosemary is eighty-six but in the water she is ageless."

We learn of Rosemary and George's story.  They met the day that WWII ended. Their story will make you laugh, and make you weep.

Now, Rosemary's beloved Lido, which has been in existence since 1937 is under threat of closure.  It seems a large property company want to buy the real estate it sits upon to build a gym and tennis courts for their tenants.

Back to Kate.  Used to trivial jobs of reporting on lost pets etc., she finally is given a story with some substance.  She is to research the story of the Lido, before it becomes a Brixton memory. She goes there to find out more about the potential closure of the outdoor pool. She is directed to interview Rosemary, who knows more about the Lido than anyone else.

Rosemary agrees to the interview - but ONLY if Kate swims in the pool.  Kate does, and following her interview with Rosemary, the two become loyal friends.  Daily swimming in the lido helps Kate with her anxiety.  She becomes invested in the plight of the pool and begins to help Rosemary 'save' her lido.

"Hope is the most painful thing."

Along the way, the reader becomes immersed in the community of Brixton.  The myriad cultures represented in its population.  Even the wildlife get a few mentions. We meet Rosemary's many friends. The gay couple who run the local bookshop.  The man who sells her produce, a teenage boy who swims at the lido, a new mother who brings her baby to the pool. ..


This book reminded me a lot of the works of Fredrik Backman.  Libby Page has captured his method of using spare sentences that evoke emotion and deep understanding.  Like Backman, her characters become friends with the reader - to the point where you miss them when the last page is turned.  It also reminded me a bit of last year's "Lillian Boxfish takes a walk", only in my opinion it was much better.  Instead of paying homage to New York, as in Lillian's story, it pays homage to Brixton, London.

This is a novel of loneliness, friendship, aging, love, and loss. The writing flows as effortlessly as water in a pool. The descriptions are vivid - so vivid that you can almost smell the chlorine and taste the character's salty tears.

"The Lido"  is a remarkable debut novel that I highly recommend.  A joy to read!
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When I read that The Lido is recommended for those who love Frederik Backman, I knew it was one I needed to check out. I was really afraid of being let down, but The Lido didn’t disappoint.

Kate is a lonely journalist living in a small community in London. Struggling with panic attacks, Kate keeps to herself and survives on microwave meals and DVDs. When her boss at the newspaper assigns her a piece about the local lido’s potential acquisition and closure, Kate meets Rosemary and everything changes.

The lido (an outdoor pool and activity center, for those of us outside England) has been a big part of Rosemary’s life. She and her recently departed husband met in the park outside the lido, and their apartment is just across the street. Rosemary sees the lido as a hub of activity, the beating heart of her hometown, and a final link to her beloved George. When a development company makes an offer to buy the lido and makes known their plans to close it to build a private gym for tenants of their luxury apartments, Rosemary springs into action. Kate’s articles bring wanted attention to her cause, and the two women begin to develop a friendship.

This was such a lovely read. It was indeed reminiscent of Backman’s A Man Called Ove. It also called to mind some of my favorites, like The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry and The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend, and more recently The Lost for Words Bookshop and The Bookshop of Yesterdays.
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The Lido by Libby Page. The Lido is a swimming pool that brought Rosemary great joy which Rosemary brought to so many other people and family members. One of the cutest parts was when Rosemary and George climbed over the fence at night and they had to call the police because the branch broke. They were in there 70s at the time.
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Libby Page's debut novel, The Lido, is a charming and uplifting story about the friendship that develops between a young journalist and a 87 year old woman. Their friendship is based on their attempts to save their local lido (“lido” is British for an outdoor swimming pool) from being torn down by a big developer. This is Kate's big break to become a real reporter as she gets caught up in the necessity of the lido to community life.
Page captures everyday life in modern London expertly, while interweaving two love stories. The central theme is the timelessness of romance, love and marriage.
This reviewer noted two major problems with the logistics of this lovely story, firstly Kate is young lady suffering from mental health issues, namely generalized anxiety and panic attacks. Although these psychological troubles have a major impact on how she performs, both personally and physically, there is no mention of professional help for her. By ignoring the importance of addressing one's mental health the author has done a great disservice to her readers who either suffer from, or know someone who suffers from, these issues. The second logistical issue found in this novel is the spryness of 87 year old Rosemary. There are very few, if any, people of her age who could accomplish what she does every day!
If you can overlook these logistics and just accept the story for what it is here's proof that you can, indeed, fight City Hall!
I received a free copy of this ebook via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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4 delightful stars to The Lido! 

I’m on a streak with charming reads these days, and I am feeling uplifted! 

Kate is a cub reporter working for the local paper in Brixton, London. As a cub, she is responsible for the smallest assignments. She also has severe anxiety that affects her work and daily life. 

Kate’s next assignment is writing about the closing of a lido (i.e., outdoor pool and recreation center), where she meets Rosemary, a widow in her eighties. Rosemary has been a fixture at the lido since she was a child, swimming in its pool daily. Not only that, but she met her husband there, and she has healed swimming in that pool since her husband’s death. So the pool is a fixture, a grounding, for Rosemary as well. The lido is closing due to development, leaving Rosemary feeling lost.

Kate is instantly charmed by Rosemary and the lido, and she makes this story much bigger than a small, forgettable one. She works with a photographer to piece it together through her interviews with Rosemary, and the community chips in, too, all in hopes of stopping the closure of the pool. 

What I loved most about The Lido is the relationship that developed between Kate and Rosemary. Each needs to heal in her own way, and this was possible through their bond. I also adored the Brixton setting with its quaint shops and strong sense of community. 

The Lido is an uplifting story of friendship, hope, healing, and a life well-lived at any age.
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This book is a sweet and delightful story about the unlikely friendship between a young and older woman. I really liked the story because, as a teacher/librarian, I have had this types of that seems like two people from different generations couldn't have much in common but inevitably, they change each other's lives.  I was unfamiliar with what a lido was but I loved googling photos of the cool swimming pools that are very common in other parts of the world. I think the strength of novel came in the form of the vignettes of George and Rosemary. I enjoyed seeing their love story unfold. Overall, a charming book in the vein of an Elizabeth Burg novel.

Thank you to NetGalley for an advanced reader copy in exchange for my honest opinion.
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Get ready for this feel good, heart warming, emotionally gravitating read by Libby Page in The Lido.
In a world were everything changes one thing always stays the same, the love for one another, the memories we hold dear, the legacy we leave behind.
For Rosemary Peterson her community is where it all began and where she hopes it can all remain.
It's not just a Lido but a location full of laughter, love, learning, kindness, compassion, empathy, and friendships, family, relationships and so much more.
Lido is HOME!
They say all good things must come to an end but not if Rosemary and George have anything to say about it and certainly not with the new cub reporter writing about just how meaningful The Lido is to everyone who encounters it.
Paradise Living is threatening this quiet peaceful spot as they want to get rid of the pool and make a residents only gym with tennis courts .
Perhaps they are unaware of the significance of the pool and the memories held dear by so many including Rosemary. So Rosemary meets with Kate to describe in detail how she escaped the disaster of WWII , fell in love and proposed by George in swim trunks here.
This is the very same spot Kate learned to swim and where the community came together not only before but after George's death.
For Rosemary she's afraid of being left behind and for George he was always afraid of being a nobody.
However, this is now a fight worthy of battle as the community round up support in unexpected ways from unsuspecting and unlikely people.
As the story plays out the readers are provided with a plethura of emotions that warm the cockles of the heart and soul.
A beautiful ending that will leave you speechless as the memories live on for the world to see!
Thank you Libby Page, her publisher, NetGalley, and Aldiko for this ARC copy in exchange for this honest review!
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Charming novel about two women and a swimming pool.  If that sounds odd, it's not.  Rosemary has been swimming at the Brixton Lido since she was a child; she's a widow in her late 70s now.  The Lido is woven into the fabric of her existence- it was at the heart of her love affair with her husband and she swims there every morning.  Kate is a young journalist at sea in London, stuck with panic attacks and unsure of her bearings.  News that the Lido will close galvanizes both of them.  They form a friendship and an alliance to fight the developers who plan to turn it into a tennis court.  The protest is only a small part of this story, which is really about the people.  The story moves back and forth in time and several chapters seem unconnected (a fox hunting for food for example) but it all works beautifully.  You know how this one must end but it's so engaging.  Thanks to the publisher for the ARC.  This is one I'll recommend for a gentle, encouraging, well written read.
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This is the story of Kate and Rosemary, two women of differing generations that meet each other through an article Kate writes to save the local lido. 

But it is also the story of the lido. And all the people that love it. 

I recently had the opportunity to read this book, and I LOVED IT. The writing was simply beautiful. I loved how Kate and Rosemary developed as characters. I fell in love with both of them and the pool they were trying to save. And I fell in love with all the wonderful characters in this cute community. 

As someone who has also struggled with debilitating panic attacks, I also really appreciated how the author depicted these attacks. It was very true to my experience. And I appreciate the awareness she brought to this. 

Beautifully written book with chapters and stories woven together. One of my favorite books of the year. Get your hands on a copy of this book when it releases July 10! 

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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The author captured my emotions and sympathies in much the same positive directions that Fredrik Backman does in his novels.  Ms. Page is very talented and I appreciated the experience of coming to know her as an author, specifically for the reverence that was demonstrated for the historical and the unsung contributions of ordinary lives.
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4.5 stars
The Lido is a great feel good story about community, swimming and friendship. Kate is a young journalist that is hoping to write feature articles for her local paper. She profiles 86 year old Rosemary who has swum in the lido (community outdoor pool) all her life. Kate writes about the closing of the lido and starts a friendship with Rosemary and other neighbors. I enjoyed learning about Rosemary's life and how Kate changed from an anxious, solitary character to a confident and happier person.
I'm looking forward to reading Libby Page's next book.

Thank you to Netgallery for giving me the opportunity to review this book. All opinions are my own.
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The Lido is a beautifully written and heartwarming story. I want to go visit Brixton immediately because it was described so well in this book, and sounds like such a lovely place. I fell in love with the characters of Kate and Rosemary, and I adored their unlikely friendship. The Lido is one of those books that really makes you feel the struggles and triumphs of the characters. The Lido is a stunning debut novel, and I can’t wait to read whatever Libby Page writes next. 

I received a copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.
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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
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I really enjoyed this book. It is a simple, feel good story, of an unexpected friendship that develops between a younger reporter and an older woman who she meets through her job. They work together to try to prevent the closing of the community lido (pool). 
I fell in love with all of the characters and loved the way the story unfolded. It made me smile and cry. 
I would definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for a lighter, feel good read.
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This book was a feel-good story about Kate a young woman who goes to interview the 86-year-old Rosemary.  She is trying to save the community pool.  Rosemary has used the pool all her life and it has kept the community together.  A developer wants to use the land.   

It is feel good story- many have mention this - but it is true.  I very much enjoyed this moving tale.  

the history and the friendship then and now are written well.  Thank you, Net Galley, for giving me this book to review.
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This is a love story but not in the usual boy-meets-girl style (although there is that as well). Rather, 'The Lido' is a love story filled with nostalgic simplicity. Rosemary and Kate have both lost themselves: one a geriatric who is struggling to come to terms with her new widowhood; the other a young twenty-something trying to make it in a big city whilst riddled with panic. The pair develop an unlikely friendship that crosses generations, with Kate bringing Rosemary into the modern world and Rosemary providing Kate some roots in which to ground herself. This is a perfect girls weekend away-style book. Quick and easy reading with the odd lump in the throat quality to it, 'The Lido' is about falling in love with your community, and its people; it reminds us that human connection is why we’re alive. – Leza Bredenkamp

This review will appear in Romantic Intentions Quarterly #2, out July 2, 2018.
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Thank you to Net Galley for my complementary e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating: 5/5 Stars 

My Synopsis: Rosemary Peterson has lived in the Brixton area of London for most of her life. She has seen many things around her change, but one thing remains constant and true: she loves her local Lido. Kate Matthews, a 20 something writer who is struggling to find herself when she finds Rosemary. The unlikely pair spark up a friendship when Kate writes an article about the lido. As their friendship grows, Kate finds the community she has been seeking and realized that she that she isn’t as alone as she once thought. 

My thoughts: I LOVED this book and it is one of the best books I have read in 2018. It is upbeat, heartfelt, and beautifully written. This is the kind of book that feels like a warm hug, and I never wanted it to end. I love author Libby’s Page beautiful character development, how she ties in Rosemary’s memories of the past, and the focus on the importance of friendship and community. I gave this book 5 stars and would give it more if I could! 

For Fans Of: Heartwarming reads, Fredrik Backman, Nostalgia, Summer memories, Friendship
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