REVIEW: A Little Life

“Life is so sad, he would think in those moments. It’s so sad, and yet we all do it.”

Why Did I Read This Book?

I always love a good challenge and I love pushing myself to try things that will take me out of my comfort zone. So when I saw everyone reading A Little Life, I knew that if I only read one book this month, it had to be this one.

“Wasn’t friendship it’s own miracle, finding another person who made the entire lonely world seem somehow less lonely.”

What Did I Think?

A Little Life is one hell of an emotional rollercoaster but I knew what I was getting myself in for before opening up its pages. When I finished the book, I was seemingly OK, yet after telling my boyfriend that I’d just finished the book, the FLOOD of tears just came. All of a sudden I was a blubbering mess, having taken the time to reminisce on what I had just read/experienced. 

The book follows the life of tortured soul Jude St Francis, who goes throughout life suffering from his experience as an orphaned boy. It’s hard to sum up the story without spoiling it all for you, but the story starts by following four friends and throughout the book we follow how their friendship evolves, with the focusing shifting more towards two of the boys, Williem and Jude. 

Friendship is such a huge factor in the book, and I’m glad that Jude had so many supportive people around him. Although he had an awful start in life, you join his story when things begin to look up for him, but as with any heartbreaking story, it’s not always happy forever. 

I was nervous about reading this book because it is over 700 pages, but I never felt at any point that the story was dragging or I was becoming uninterested. The story is so encapsulating that I was hooked on every page which really and pleasantly surprised me. 

Jude experienced a life full of suffering and his story, albeit fictional, has made me aware of the different ways people deal with trauma; especially childhood trauma which we are too young to process at the time. Suffering, especially when it comes to mental health, can take many different shapes and forms, and if anything this book has made me understand and empathise with those whose history and hurtful memories affects their personality and the way they live for years later. 

Before I go, let me just say that if you are thinking of reading this book, I need to warn you that there are EXTREMELY distressing and difficult moments within the story. So much so, I couldn’t go straight to sleep after reading this book in case I had nightmares. Thankfully, I have read distressing content like this before so I could in a way, process it. However, if you haven’t read anything distressing before, I can imagine it is an incredibly difficult read so just be aware.

“There’s no expiration date on needing help, or needing people. You don’t get to a certain age and it stops.”

A Little Life

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Publisher: Picador
Published: 2016
# of Pages: 720
Genre: Contemporary, Queer Fiction
Trigger Warnings: sexual abuse, child abuse, violence, prostitution, violence, self-harm, explicit scenes, drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence, medical pain, amputation, Stockholm syndrome, depression, suicide, death, grief
Links: Goodreads, Amazon, Blackwells

The BBC National Short Story Award

I was kindly asked to be involved in the launch of the 2020 BBC Radio 4 Short Story Award by Comma Press and I couldn’t believe my luck! I was gifted a copy of the 2019 anthology and as someone who hasn’t really read that many short stories, what better opportunity to broaden my horizons and fall in love with a form that has been entertaining readers for years.

The Award

The BBC National Short Story Award is one of the most prestigious for a single short story, with the winning author receiving £15,000, and four further shortlisted authors £600 each. The stories are broadcast on Radio 4 and published in an anthology. The 2019 winner of the BBC National Short Story Award was Welsh writer Jo Lloyd, who won for ‘The Invisible’, a timeless story set in Wales and inspired by social divisions and folklore. Previous alumni of the award include Lionel Shriver, Zadie Smith, Hilary Mantel and Jon McGregor. 

The 2019 Shortlist

‘The Children’ by Lucy Caldwell – A writer researching the life of 19th-century child custody reformer, Caroline Norton, draws parallels between motherhood then and now.

‘Ghillie’s Mum’ by Lynda Clark – A mother and son struggle to fit into society with their seemingly uncontrollable shape-shifting abilities in this story of mental health stigma.

‘Silver Fish in the Midnight Sea’ by Jacqueline Crooks – Three children’s ancestors watch them from the stars, as their mother’s house is haunted by her past on a far-away island.

‘My Beautiful Millennial’ by Tamsin Grey – The story of a young, Leave-voting woman in London who escapes her relationship with the older man taking advantage of her vulnerabilities, and finds friendship on a tube populated with myriad kinds of people.

‘The Invisible’ by Jo Lloyd – The values of a small farming village are challenged by talk of a wealthy community living on the other side of the lake that only one person can see.

The 2019 Short Story Award Winner

Nikki Bedi

The 2019 award with Cambridge University was chaired by Nikki Bedi, a television and radio broadcaster with a passion for making arts and culture accessible. Her introduction in the anthology was highly motivating and discussed the form of short stories and how they aren’t the warm-up act; they are the main event. As she states, short stories are ‘gifts of concision, they demand one’s total attention’ and she ‘relishes in devouring, digesting, being moved and surprised by a perfectly-formed short work.’ 

‘The Invisible’ by Jo Lloyd was crowned as the 2019 winner. Her piece The Invisible was described by judges as a “timeless” and “deeply tender” story influenced by Brexit, social division and folklore.

The BBC Radio 4 Short Story Award 2020

Jonathan Freeland

Radio 4 presenter, journalist and author Jonathan Freedland is chairing the judging panel for this year’s award, which is even more special because it is the 15th anniversary of the prize!

Freedland will be joined by a group of acclaimed writers and critics on the panel. Commonwealth Prize winner Lucy Caldwell who was shortlisted for both the 2012 and 2019 BBC NSSA; British Nigerian writer Irenosen Okojie, a Betty Trask winner and Jhalak Prize shortlistee; Edge Hill Prize shortlistee and Guardian short story columnist Chris Power; and returning judge, Di Speirs, Books Editor at BBC Radio.

The shortlist for the BBC National Short Story Award with Cambridge University will be announced on BBC Radio 4’s Front Row at 7:15 pm on Friday 11th September 2020. The stories shortlisted will then be broadcasted on BBC Radio 4 from Monday 14th to Friday 18th September from 3:30 pm to 4 pm. Excitedly, the announcement of the winner of the award will be broadcast live from the award ceremony on BBC Radio 4 from 7:15 pm on Tuesday 6th October 2020.

REVIEW: Educated

“You could call this self-hood many things. Transformation. Metamorphosis. Falsity. Betrayal. I call it an education.”

Why Did I Read This Book?

The other month I bumped into a fellow book lover when out walking my three dogs with my mum, and was informed about a local book club that met once every month in the park across the road from me…WHAT A RESULT! I joined them in time for their August discussion which was Educated by Tara Westover.

What Did I Think?

I have to say that I had seen this book everywhere but never really delved into what it was about until my friend told me. Then when it was picked for book club, I couldn’t wait to get stuck in.

It took me a while to get into and throughout the whole of the book, I found it difficult to read. There are some extremely graphic scenes in this book and I don’t know whether it was because I was reading in the car but I felt quite nauseous when reading about Tara’s experience on the farm.

Educated is a memoir based on a young woman’s experience of growing up in an extremist Mormon family in America and we follow her on her journey to education, even if it means that she loses everything that was important to her growing up.

I had never really known about Mormons and this book does a great job of educating people on how other religions/societies choose to live. Obviously not all Mormon families are extreme like Tara’s was, but I’m so glad she shared her story and her experience so people can understand how hard it was for her to get to where she is now. She is one of the strongest people out there; there were so many chances and opportunities for her to just give up but she didn’t. She fought for her freedom and chance of a new life and I’m so glad she did.

Tara always believed in the best in people but was always let down by those around her. In my opinion, she trusted too many people but I have never been in her situation so I guess it is hard to comprehend how I would respond to the things she was experiencing. The more I read this book, the more I found myself getting angrier and angrier at her family, her mother, her father, her siblings and sometimes even Tara herself.

I think this story shows how family love and loyalty can make you put up with awful treatment and situations because they are your blood. They say that blood is thicker than water but sometimes, you have to cut all ties for a better and happier life.

“You’re at least 20. Aren’t you?
I turned 16 in September.
Oh. Well, don’t worry about it then. You can stay…hard to keep track of how old you kids are.”

Educated

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Published: 2018
Publisher: Windmill Books
# of Pages: 384
Genre: Memoir
Trigger Warnings: Violence, graphic scenes, depression, bipolar, schizophrenia, religion, paranoia, cult, domestic abuse
Links: Goodreads, Amazon, Blackwells

Translated Fiction on My Bookshelves

Have you ever read any translated fiction? I personally never have and when I got my first book in a recent subscription box, I decided to start looking for other translated fiction in a bid to help me diversify my reading. I thought I’d share the recent books I’ve bought to help me do just that!

The Discomfort of Evening

The Discomfort of the Evening is being named as ‘a radical reading experience that will leave you changed forever’. As winner of the 2020 International Booker Prize, this book, written by Netherlands prize-winning poet, follows Jas who lives with her devout farming family in rural Netherlands.

One winter’s day, her older brother joins an ice skating trip; and resentful at being left alone, she makes a perverse plea to God; he never returns.

As grief overwhelms the farm, Jas succumbs to a vortex of increasingly disturbing fantasies, watching her family disintegrate into a darkness that threatens to derail them all. 

Get your copy here!

The Dead Girls

The Dead Girls is a black comedy, that is both moving and cruelly funny, and Ibargüengoitia’s work is a potent and entertaining blend of sex and mayhem.

In 1960s Central Mexico, two sisters, Delfina and María de Jesús González, known as ‘Las Poquianchis’, run a small-town brothel. Kidnapped, drugged and beaten, their young workers are desperate for escape.

The Dead Girls is the discovery of these young women, buried in the back yard. In the laconic tones of a police report, Jorge Ibargüengoitia investigates these horrific murders and their motives.

Get your copy here!

The Adventures of China Iron

This book was the book I mentioned in my introduction. I received this beautiful copy in my August Books That Matter box. This was the first translated fiction book to sit on my bookshelves so I owe Books That Matter a huge thank you!

The book charts the adventures of Mrs China Iron, Martín Fierro’s abandoned wife, in her travels across the pampas in a covered wagon with her new-found friend, soon to become lover, a Scottish woman named Liz.

While Liz provides China with a sentimental education and schools her in the nefarious ways of the British Empire, their eyes are opened to the wonders of Argentina’s richly diverse flora and fauna, cultures and languages, as well as to its national struggles. 

Get your copy here!

Convenience Store Woman

I had seen this book floating around my social media channels and never knew that it was translated fiction until I watched one of Beth @ BooksNest videos where she discussed this book.

It follows the story of thirty-six-year-old Tokyo resident Keiko Furukura. Keiko has never fit in, neither in her family, nor in school, but when at the age of eighteen she begins working at the Hiiromachi branch of “Smile Mart,” she finds peace and purpose in her life.

Managers come and go, but Keiko stays at the store for eighteen years. It’s almost hard to tell where the store ends and she begins. Keiko is very happy, but the people close to her, from her family to her coworkers, increasingly pressure her to find a husband, and to start a proper career, prompting her to take desperate action…

Get your copy here!

Before The Coffee Gets Cold

Similar to Convenience Store Woman, Before The Coffee Gets Cold is one I didn’t know was translated fiction and another one I found through Beth’s videos.

In Before the Coffee Gets Cold, we meet four visitors, each of whom is hoping to make use of the café’s time-travelling offer, in order to: confront the man who left them, receive a letter from their husband whose memory has been taken by early onset Alzheimer’s, to see their sister one last time, and to meet the daughter they never got the chance to know.

But the journey into the past does not come without risks: customers must sit in a particular seat, they cannot leave the café, and finally, they must return to the present before the coffee gets cold…

Get your copy here!

Kitchen

I can’t believe I’ve only just found out about his book but since buying my copy in a local bookstore in Manchester, I’ve seen it EVERYWHERE I go!

Kitchen is an enchantingly original and deeply affecting book about mothers, love, tragedy, and the power of the kitchen and home in the lives of a pair of free-spirited young women in contemporary Japan. 

Mikage, the heroine of Kitchen, is an orphan raised by her grandmother, who has passed away. Grieving, she is taken in by her friend Yoichi and his mother (who was once his father), Eriko. As the three of them form an improvised family that soon weathers its own tragic losses, Yoshimoto spins a lovely, evocative tale and companion story.

Get your copy here!

AND THERE WE HAVE IT!

I hope there are some books featured here that have tickled your translated fiction taste buds and be sure to let me know if you have read any of these or plan to!

My Top 5: Thrillers

So I’m introducing a new series to my IGTV and my blog which is called My Top 5. Every month or so, I will introduce my top 5 books in a certain genre and talk about why they sit proudly on my favourites shelf.

First up is my top five thrillers of all time. These are some thrillers that have completely blown my mind and kept me on the edge of my seat whenever I read them. There are some on here that have become so hyped up that they fail to have that ‘shocking’ effect on readers because they go in expecting so much more from the story which is typical with hyped up books. But for me, these books have been some of the best I’ve read and here is why:

Before I Go To Sleep – SJ Watson

No I didn’t just pick this book because the author has the same last name as me…

When I read this book, I didn’t expect it to be anything like it was. My best friend and book friend recommended it to me and it is probably the best plot twist to date that I have read. I don’t think I’ll ever be as shocked as I was when reading this book.

Now a major film starring Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth, Before I Go To Sleep, follows a women who, after waking up one day, loses all her memories and is forced to piece together segments of information to find out who she is but not everyone is telling her the truth.

My description of this book doesn’t do it any justice to what sort of surprise the book has in store for you but I would highly recommend this debut novel!

The Girl On The Train – Paula Hawkins

Now I’m aware that now this book isn’t considered one of the greatest but when this first burst onto the scene it was BRILLIANT!

I think the reason why so many people loved it is because we’ve all been sat on a train and have, at some point, looked out to some beautiful houses on the journey and imagined what it was like to live there.

Paula Hawkins took this concept and completely turned it on its head and made it a fantastic thriller that took the world by storm. I remember being obsessed with it when it came out and I think we even picked it for our university book club pick!

The book follows a series of events narrated by a number of unreliable characters and makes you question the people you sit next to on a train…

Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn

Another thriller that took the world by storm and is also a major film starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike.

Gone Girl for me and for many others was unlike any other book I had read before. It was gripping and one of those books that makes you forget that the read world exists.

It is now cast as a ‘global phenomenon’ basically because of its shocking story and unreliable protagonist. It follows the story of a husband searching for his missing wife, whilst being the main suspect in her disappearance.

It is one that has stayed with me for years after reading and the film is just as creepy…

I See You – Clare Mackintosh

This is one that I read quite recently for Beth’s Book Club and I have to admit, I went into it not believing the hype.

It took me a while to understand the narrator change but once you get your head around that, it does not take long for you to become obsessed. I think I read it in one day because I needed to know who the culprit was…

With more twists and turns that the Big One at Blackpool Pleasure Beach, I See You follows a women who found her picture in a classified section of the local newspaper. She is determined to find out who is responsible nut along the way finds out the disturbing reason why…

The Whisper Man – Alex North

Another recent read, The Whisper Man helped me kick-start my year and helped me out of a deep reading rut.

I was absolutely terrified when reading this book but I loved it. It has everything a horror/thriller read should have in my opinion and I couldn’t sleep with my door open for weeks.

This debut book by Alex North is a psychological thriller that explores father-son relationships, betrayal, abduction, murder and loss. With plots twists and supernatural elements that will shock you to your core, The Whisper Man is the perfect crime thriller.

AND THERE WE HAVE IT…MY TOP 5 THRILLERS!

Let me know if there are any on here that feature on your list of favourite thrillers or if you decide to read any of my recommendations!

See you next time for some more of my top 5!

ARC REVIEW: The Education of Ivy Edwards

“You know that feeling where you feel like you should be doing better but then one day you realise that maybe you’re exactly where you should be.”

Why Did I Read This Book?

This ARC was sent to me by Hachette and I couldn’t believe my luck when it arrived and it was such a beautiful book! I’m really enjoying these millennial fiction books at the minute because they are so relevant and show that young people don’t have it easy.

What Did I Think?

The comedic elements in this story were comedy GOLD! Hannah Tovey’s humour is second to none there were numerous times during the book where I literally laughed out loud.

The Education of Ivy Edwards follows the story of a thirty-one-year-old who’s fiance breaks up with her unexpectedly one day and her whole life as she knows it turns upside down. She has to learn how to be single and find her happiness again. Her only saving grace is that she has a job (albeit it is one where she works for an absolute psycho) and she has friends that love to party so she can basically drink away her sorrows.

Ivy’s mother is one of the funniest characters I’ve ever read and maybe that is because she reminds me of my mum at times. Ivy’s mother over-dramatically reacts to the smallest of inconveniences and doesn’t seem to care that both her daughters are struggling with the bumps in the road that life keeps throwing them.

There were some moments in which I found quite random and didn’t seem to add to the story and some of the characters in the book, like her sister and her friends were unbearable but overall, I really enjoyed this fantastic and funny story. I particularly loved reading Ivy’s journey to self-love and acceptance and her story definitely showed that adult life can be HARD and it’s OK to go off the rails sometimes.

The Education of Ivy Edwards

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Published: 2020
Publisher: Piatkus (An Imprint of Little Brown Book Group)
# of Pages: 324
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Comedy
Trigger Warnings: Drug and alcohol abuse, breakups, depression, sexual scenes, death, grief
Links: Goodreads, Amazon, Blackwells

ARC REVIEW: Never Say No

“Sometimes saying no to one thing can help you say yes to another.”

Why Did I Read This Book?

I requested this book on NetGalley because it looked funny and a great easy read. And I’m happy to report it was EXACTLY that…

What Did I Think?

Hailey has always been told she can have it all. And saying yes to every opportunity that comes her way seems like the obvious way to make sure she gets it. This novel explores the danger of stretching yourself too much and how you can’t please everyone. 

A number of times throughout the book, I questioned whether I actually liked the main character or not. She went through some hard times and I could relate to how she worked hard to be accepted at work but her personal and social life had to suffer to make it work. 

Sometimes I saw her as selfish and self-centred and if I’m honest, downright stupid in some situations. I loved how the author explored the reasons why the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. 

Overall, I really enjoyed this story and it really reminded me of Suits/Devil Wears Prada. Although there were moments of seriousness, I enjoyed the easy-to-read chapters and the humour. I read it in one day and I would definitely recommend this as a great summer read!

“Maybe monogamy didn’t limit you to one person but a thousand different versions of them; everything they are and the promise of all they are yet to be, all wrapped up in one.”

Never Say No

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Publisher: Bookouture
Published: 2020
# of Pages: 301
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Women’s Fiction
Trigger Warnings: Adultery, stress
Links: Goodreads, Amazon, Blackwells

ARC REVIEW: The Black Kids

Why Did I Read This Book?

I requested this book because it coincided with all the protests happening here in the UK and in America. I had seen it everywhere on Twitter and so when I saw it advertised on NetGalley I had to request it.

What Did I Think?

The Black Kids is a coming-of-age debut novel by Christina Hammonds Reed which explores race, class, and violence as well as the importance of being true to yourself. 

One of the reviews I read of this book stated that ‘it should be essential reading for the classroom’ and I definitely agree with that statement. It is set during the 1992 LA uprisings which I shamefully had to research whilst reading the book. What I hadn’t realised is that in 1992, there was uproar in LA after a trial jury acquitted four officers of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) for using excessive force in the arrest and beating of Rodney King, which had been videotaped and widely viewed in TV broadcasts. I found it extremely moving that it is evidently clear that history always seems to repeat itself, especially when it comes to racism and inequality. 

Throughout the book, we follow the life of Ashley Bennet in the midst of the riots. I really liked the character but she came across very weak and tried to please everyone, which we know never works. I found it interesting that Ashley doesn’t feel like she can relate to the other black students or other black people int the community because of her families wealth and her upbringing. Christina Hammonds Reed does a great job of helping readers to understand that everyone is different. Not all white people are the same, and neither are all black people. 

I also think that the author does a great job of exploring how it is sometimes difficult for young people to fully understand what is happening in the news. Once you are a certain age, are you expected to hold your own opinion of events or do you just turn a blind eye and leave it for the adult to sort out. 

There are a lot of contrasts within this story and I really enjoyed these clever little moments. Overall, the main story really hit home as only a few months ago, we were protesting and rioting about a similar event in America. I think it is important to educate people on events like this because they are always sadly reoccurring. 

“Everyone thinks the riots are only about Rodney, but they are not. They are also about Latasha. Latasha was a black girl my age in Los Angeles. She went into a liquor store to buy orange juice, and the Korean woman at the counter thought she was stealing. She wasn’t. They got into a fight and as Latasha tried to walk away, the woman at the counter shot her in the back of the head. Over orange juice. Her killer got nothing. The judge said the killer was the real victim. Rodney got brutally beaten on videotape. Nothing. No justice. No peace.”

The Black Kids

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s UK
Published: 2020
# of Pages: 368
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction,
Trigger Warnings: Violence, riots, racism, police brutality, bullying
Links: Goodreads, Amazon, Blackwells

ARC REVIEW: The Midnight Library

“The Midnight Library is not one of ghosts. It is not a library of corpses. It is a library of possibility. And death is the opposite of possibility.”

Why Did I Read This Book?

I read Matt Haig’s How To Stop Time when I was on holiday with my friend in Dubai and it was one of the best books I’ve ever read. The humour and the clever twists were absolutely fantastic so when I saw his new book The Midnight Library on NetGalley, I just had to request it!

What Did I Think?

I think Matt Haig is probably one of my favourite authors because of the way he perfectly sums up thoughts and feelings. Every time I read one of his books, it’s like a lightbulb goes off in my head and suddenly understand my feelings.

The Midnight Library follows the life of a young woman named Nora who finds herself in between life and death, with the opportunity to live any life she ever wanted. I really enjoyed this concept as I’m always daydreaming about what my life would have been like if I had continued playing rugby, or had chosen a different degree, or have taken that job in Spain…

As a believer of everything happens for a reason, I loved this concept of the library of lives and I found myself really rooting for our protagonist, Nora. I thought she deserved SO much more and my heart broke for her so many times. 

The beginning of the book is a little heavy because there is a lot of discussion about depression and suicide but I think it was an extremely poignant depiction of how mental health is so important and gives the reader an insight into how depression affects every day thinking. 

This book is one I’m adding to my list of 5-star readings because I loved every second of reading it. I also enjoyed how it made me question if I have any regrets about my life and the missed opportunities, but it definitely emphasised the fact that things certainly happen for a reason.

“The only way to learn is to live.”

The Guardian Live & Matt Haig

I also had the pleasure of attending Matt Haig’s interview with The Guardian on his publication date. I think that the best thing about Matt Haig’s books is that the man himself is one of the most genuine people. He genuinely wants to help his readers and audience through his books and if you follow him on Twitter, you will know his inspirational quotes can help anyone get through a bad day.

It was interesting that the woman interviewing him made connections between The Midnight Library and A Wonderful Life which Matt agreed was deliberate. Matt stated that for the first time, he drew upon his personal life and experiences to create this fictional story but felt like having a male protagonist would have made it too much like himself, so he chose to have a female lead instead. He said he was aware of the pitfalls of being a male writer with a female protagonist but he tried to be over-careful about gender because he ran the risk of losing the creativity of the story. 

Matt interestingly stated that as How To Stop Time is about time, this book is more focused on hope and regret and through this he was able to create a philosophical conversation starter about trying on different lives. He said that it was such great fun to write because he got to ‘try on’ different lives but, as he emphasised, it was important to make these ‘lives’ and ‘experiences’ realistic and not perfect. 

The Midnight Library

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Publisher: Canongate Books
Published: 2020
# of Pages: 304
Genre: Fantasy, Contemporary Fiction, Science Fiction
Trigger Warnings: Death, suicide, drug and alcohol abuse, depression, loss
Links: Goodreads, Amazon, Blackwells

REVIEW: The Lido

“Love is love like a tree is a tree. It can be a sapling or a hundred years old oak, but it still has a rout, lifetime and is left on mercy and disfavor of the seasons.”

Why Did I Read This Book?

This was the Beth’s Book Club pick for July/August and our book club discussion was held last Sunday! I have to admit that I probably would have never picked up this book, despite how beautiful it is, so it was a great way of pushing myself out of my comfort zone.

What Did I Think?

This book is an extremely heart-warming tale and so different from what I normally read. Kate is a young woman who has moved to London to pursue her dreams but is struggling with life in the big city, and Rosemary is a 60-year-old woman who has been widowed for a number of years and relies on the local lido to keep her happy. So when it is threatened with closure to build some more flats, Kate and Rosemary build an unlikely friendship, working together to help save the beloved lido. 

What Libby Page does eloquently is highlighting that loneliness can affect anyone of any age. Rosemary and Kate are both lonely but for two very different reasons. I found it beautiful that Kate needed Rosemary as much as Rosemary needed Kate. I suppose we need older people as much as they need us.

In the back of the book, there was an interview with the author, Libby Page, and she discussed how it is extremely important to conserve and celebrate the odd and unique buildings within your local community because they may not always be there. 

Other than the two main characters, Rosemary and Kate, we also get an essential insight into how the lido affects the lives of all the people in the community, no matter what their age. Whether it’s pregnant women, students, the lifeguard…the lido means something different to everyone but without it, people would lose the very thing that brings them happiness. 

It definitely made me think about the beautiful buildings in my community and how we should work to look after them more because our community wouldn’t be the same without them. 

A very heart-warming story and one that allowed me to mix up my reading.

“You’re allowed to feel lonely, you’re allowed to feel panicked. It doesn’t make you any less of a person.”

The Lido

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Publisher: Orion Books
Published: 2018
# of Pages: 368
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Adult, Romance
Trigger Warnings: Death, loneliness, depression, mourning, loss
Links: Goodreads, Amazon, Blackwells