Debut author Allie Burns visits the blog today with a woman’s fiction title that is set in post-Edwardian England. Please read on for my review of
The Lido Girls
1935 London where the ‘keep fit’ movement is just starting to build, even as reverberations from societal changes from the war, and an increasing threat in Europe are swirling about. Natalie and Delphi have been friends since school, a friendship that has buoyed the two for years. Now in their mid-30’s, and both unmarried and firmly ‘on the shelf’ they are finding it necessary to realign their lives. We follow them through their struggles, interior battles with confidence, choosing one option from a series of limited and limiting directions, and juggling their struggles with family (or lack thereof).
Beautifully researched and well described: the language flow, the dress and even the décor are clearly presented, as are the myriad of issues, some long standing, others newly developing, for women in this time. Particularly two women who are determined and reasonably well self-directed to lead. These are women who were in a bit of a forgotten space: unmarried and self-supporting, they were ‘spinsters’ and ‘strange’ to those attached to the more traditional way of things, but became groundbreakers simply because of their desire to self-determine.
Burns has created a wonderful story that is evocative and engaging, but didn’t quite go far enough. Issues raised are merely presented and not examined, and in lieu of delving into issues and showing a real struggle from either Natalie or Delphi in overcoming that issue, she used action and repeated self-doubts from Natalie to continue the story. The writing is strong, and there are plenty of moments to enjoy as this feels very ‘classic woman’s fiction’, but there’s a depth and solidity to the struggles that is missing or not explored and examined regularly or with any real page time devoted to it. Overall, this is a solid debut, and perfect light reading to escape to a time long ago, but I was left wanting more.
Title: The Lido Girls
Author: Allie Burns
Genre: Historical Fiction, Setting: Britain, Woman's Fiction
Published by: HQ Digital
Published on: October 2nd 2017
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
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Escape to the inter-war years in this emotional story where opportunity can be found at the pool-side in your local lido… Perfect for fans of Pam Evans and Gill Paul
Change is in the air…
Natalie Flacker is tempted by the glamour of the new keep fit movement, but when she is dismissed from her prestigious job in PE she loses the life she so carefully built. Echoes of the war’s destruction still reverberate through her life, and now she is homeless, jobless and without prospects.
But connections made on a summer holiday, with her best friend Delphi, create opportunities. When Natalie is offered a summer job at a lido at the seaside, she jumps at the chance. But is she up to the challenge of taking on a group of unfit women in need of her help?
Set against the backdrop of the beginnings of the pioneering keep fit movement; this is a feel-good reminder of just what's possible when you find the courage to follow your heart.
Spend a very British summer with The Lido Girls!
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: