Monday, June 24, 2019

The Lido - by Libby Page: Book Review

Title: The Lido. A novel
Author: Libby Page
Pages: 384
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: July 10th 2018
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Format: Kindle

The beginning drew me in, but as the novel progresses the pace slows down. What makes it slower is all the flashbacks and reminiscence Rosemary has. It's too much at times and it adds up to slow and dull patches. The writing is very simplistic, although it tries to be... interesting, I guess, with turns of phrases. If the writer continues to write maybe she'll get better at it. It reminded me very, very little of Fredrik Backman, as the inner cover said.

Although I understand and empathise with Kate, I think her Panic and her insecurities are too easily dealt with. Yes, friends to push you more, something to challenge you profesionally, something to do outside work, and people you enjoy spending time with - all these are important. But for some, Panic doesn't get to be locked away and banished so easily. It was also pretty obvious that the lido will help Kate feel more at ease. A too simple solution.

The story was told alternatingly so as to present Kate's and Rosemary's  lives. Rosemary and George's love story and marriage are nice to read about, but then it became boring; the same thing told with different words and snapshots of their lives. I wish we were told more about them other than their going to the pool and their marriage bliss. There are also a number of characters the author didn't focus a lot, but enough to make the reader see that the lido is the collection of all the people who use its facilities and it's at the centre of the community. I wish we learned more about some of them. Less about Rosemary and more about the others.

The story as a nice beach read. I admit, though, that at times I needed a break because of the repetititve tone. The community portrayed is that of a small town; actually, even smaller. A pocket community in a bustling city. It was a nice look back on all the traditional institutions of a small community: the lido, of course, the library, the cafe, the small newspaper, the park, the same familiar faces of the people you always bump into. But it's weird that everyone is so nice all the time, and when they are in the wrong they make up for their mistake without being prompt. And on the same note, there is hardly a conflict. The closing of the lido, which is "the conflict" is predictable. Rosemary's words towards the end "It's over." rose absolutely no emotion within me. That's not the expected response from a reader, I dare say. Even the proposition and the "presentation" Rosemary gives at the big, fancy advertising company is shallow. It must be a novel if they fall for her simple words. The author's observations take up more than all Rosemary had to say.

This is a slow paced novel, cute and sweet, good for when you want to read a bit, it's a nice one for a slow day by the pool, or any body of water, actually. I had higher expectations from it, though.

I received a free e-book copy of the novel from the publisher. All thoughts expressed here are my own.

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