I very much enjoyed Libby Page’s first novel, The Lido, published in the U.S. as Mornings with Rosemary. When I saw that The Island Home had been published I very much wanted to read it, in fact, so much so that I ordered the book from England. This long (469 page) novel did not disappoint.
Protagonist Lorna left the island many years ago. When the novel opens, she is a single mother to Ella and a teacher. The two are about to return to the island for a few weeks. Lorna has great ambivalence about going back but this is not shared by Ella who is eager to meet her cousin, Molly.
What follows is a story about a place that, although small, contains worlds. It is also a story about how sometimes it is by going backwards that it becomes possible to move forward. Readers watch as Lorna revisits her past and integrates it into her future. While what happens to Lorna may be predictable following her emotional journey still makes for a satisfying read.
There are many characters surrounding Lorna. These include her brother, sister-in-law Alice, niece and others who live on the island, including Lorna’s primary school teacher. There is also Mallachy, an artist now (as Lorna once was). Readers hope that they will find a happy ever after.
The island is portrayed as idyllic in many ways. However there are some challenges as well. There are those who are ill, a school that may have to close and a teacher who was important to Lorna.
This novel is worth a read. It is a largely gentle and good book.
The Lido is a lovely book. It is a story of friendship between the generations and the joys of community. Kate is a twenty-six year old reporter who suffers from a panic disorder. She is assigned the story of the lido, an outdoor pool, that is threatened with foreclosure. In covering this story, Kate moves ahead in her own life. Kate works with eighty-something year old Rosemary on the lido campaign. The story of the lido links with Rosemary’s childhood and marriage. Widow Rosemary recalls the love of her George throughout the novel in touching and moving ways. Surprise of this book…author Libby Page is only in her 20s and this is her first novel. Bravo Ms. Page! You have written a sweet, touching and life-affirming story. Thank you NetGalley!