The 24 – Hour Cafe by Libby Page / Blog Tour

The 24 – Hour Cafe by Libby Page

 

Publisher: Orion 46776590._sy475_

Publishing Date: 23rd January 2020

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!

Number of pages: 416

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Hardcover

| Paperback (out on 18.02.2021)

 

 

Synopsis:

Welcome to the café that never sleeps. Day and night Stella’s Café opens its doors for the lonely and the lost, the morning people and the night owls. It is many things to many people but most of all it is a place where life can wait at the door. A place of small kindnesses. A place where anyone can be whoever they want, where everyone is always welcome.

Meet Hannah and Mona: best friends, waitresses, dreamers. They work at Stella’s but they dream of more, of leaving the café behind and making their own way in life.

Come inside and spend twenty-four hours at Stella’s Café; a day when Hannah and Mona’s friendship will be tested, when the community will come together and when lives will be changed…

my-review

 

The 24 – Hour Cafe in question is called Stella’s and is based opposite Liverpool Street Station in London. It serves fish and chips, and American pancakes, and coffee of course, to all that need it, at any time of the day. Or night.
Hannah and Mona are friends who share a flat and who both work at Stella’s. Hannah is a wannabe singer and Mona is a dancer, chasing their dreams of becoming famous and in the meantime sharing their shifts to help pay the bills.
There are also various characters who enter and leave the cafe over the period of a 24 hour shift, and each chapter is dedicated to one hour, covering Hannah’s midnight until noon and Mona’s noon until midnight. Even if not many realise that, the cafe is a place that brings those people safety, warmth and kindness of strangers.

I adored Libby Page’s debut novel “The Lido” and was hoping for another heart – warming and uplifting read from her. And while it was like this, the new release didn’t sit with me so well, it was a very different read, which per se is not bad at all, but I had a feeling there is no plan behind the story.

I couldn’t immediately get into the plot, to be honest, and I had problems with it till the end actually. The pace was rather slow and I longed for something to happen, for something that will blow me away. Also, and yes, I know, it’s like in a real life, but mostly the characters were simply so sad, and this feeling of sadness started to overpower me wholly. Hannah was for a long time so down, instantly unhappy and complaining, and yes, she was trying to come to terms with a broken relationship, actually much more than that, but it was too much for me personally. It really takes time to get into Hannah and her head, and even then it seems as if there was nothing positive about and around her. Not the easiest character, to be honest, yes, deep and complex but because for this whole negativity not one you could immediately warm to. She was even complaining about the brilliant friendship with Mona, who was like a sister for her. Moreover, what also didn’t sit with me so well was the fact that Hannah, dreaming of going big, seemed to stop at dreaming and she was doing nothing to fulfil this dream.
Mona was the opposite to Hannah and truly, she felt like a breath of fresh air compared to her, and was for sure easier to like. I’m not sure, maybe it’s only my feeling, but Mona looks to be better written than Hannah, there is more life in her and all her emotions and fears were a part of me as well.
There were probably too many characters in this book to let their voices come through, though, and they left me with some questions open. I appreciate how well they were written, sure, however if I already have them in the story, appearing on the pages over and over again, please do let me know them completely. It felt as if I was given a chance to meet and greet them and befriend them a little and then the chance was taken away from me. There were so many of them, including all the more or less random customers, and I simply couldn’t seize all of them and their stories. I don’t know, the idea was brilliant, but maybe all that the book has needed were really the two main characters, their stories and a few background characters significant to the main ones? Maybe then it would be easier and not so confusing?
However, I really liked the author’s insight into the characters’ lives, and I liked the idea of the cafe and people relying on it so much – who would have thought it, right, that a simple 24 – Hour Cafe may be so important for human lives? It made me see that, no matter who you are in what situation you find yourself at the moment, there is nothing better than a friendly face, a hot drink and maybe an open ear that is not necessarily your closest one – sometimes it’s easier to open up to a stranger.

Libby Page’s writing style is extremely elegant, peaceful and warm, almost lyrical, and for sure she has a way with words, writing about feelings and emotions that I had no idea exist. Her writing is evocative and vivid and she has a great talent to bring her characters to life.

So I am a bit in two minds about this book. It was not a bad read, absolutely not, but it also didn’t work for me as much as I hoped, with too many parts that I simply found not so appealing. However, I absolutely adored the writing style and the idea for this story was exceptionally brilliant. It was a book about kindness, friendship, understanding and following your dreams, about community spirit, belonging and supporting each other in any situation.
and Libby Pages proves again that she’s a lovely storyteller, full of patience, gentleness and understanding – I am curious what she has in store for us next.

 

FOLLOW THE BLOG TOUR:

blog2btour2bgraphic2b3

The Lido by Libby Page / #BlogTour

The Lido by Libby Page

 

34709995Publisher: Orion

Publishing Date: 19th April 2018

Source:  Received from the publisher in return for an honest review, thank you!

Number of pages: 384

Genre: General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

A tender, joyous debut novel about a cub reporter and her eighty-six-year-old subject—and the unlikely and life-changing friendship that develops between them.

Kate is a twenty-six-year-old riddled with anxiety and panic attacks who works for a local paper in Brixton, London, covering forgettably small stories. When she’s assigned to write about the closing of the local lido (an outdoor pool and recreation center), she meets Rosemary, an eighty-six-year-old widow who has swum at the lido daily since it opened its doors when she was a child. It was here Rosemary fell in love with her husband, George; here that she’s found communion during her marriage and since George’s death. The lido has been a cornerstone in nearly every part of Rosemary’s life.

But when a local developer attempts to buy the lido for a posh new apartment complex, Rosemary’s fond memories and sense of community are under threat.

As Kate dives deeper into the lido’s history—with the help of a charming photographer—she pieces together a portrait of the pool, and a portrait of a singular woman, Rosemary. What begins as a simple local interest story for Kate soon blossoms into a beautiful friendship that provides sustenance to both women as they galvanize the community to fight the lido’s closure. Meanwhile, Rosemary slowly, finally, begins to open up to Kate, transforming them both in ways they never knew possible.

In the tradition of Fredrik Backman, The Lido is a charming, feel-good novel that captures the heart and spirit of a community across generations—an irresistible tale of love, loss, aging, and friendship.

Rating: four-stars

“The Lido” is Libby Page’s debut novel and I didn’t know what to expect when I started reading it – what I knew was that many people were already singing this book praises, and so I made myself comfortable and dived (pun intended) into the story. I am glad to report that this little book was a real gem about very unlikely friendship, about community spirit and also some other important issues, a very uplifting and charming read – predictable, yes, as you immediately know where it’s going to end, but nevertheless heart – warming and feel – good.

Kate and Rosemary would probably never met but they get to know each other when Kate is sent to write a story about the local Lido that’s going to be closed soon, and she interviews Rosemary, who’s 86 years old and swims daily in the Lido, and her fondest memories are connected with this place. Those two women form a life – changing friendship.

It surprised me very much to have discovered the story of Rosemary and George, I haven’t expected something like this to come up in this book, but it was a lovely surprise and an extra bonus. There were also chapters told from totally random characters coming to the Lido, the perspectives included a pregnant woman swimming in the Lido, the boy working at the pool’s receptions and studying for uni, and as much as I understood what the author was trying to do here and where she was coming from, for me personally those chapters were a little confusing and I could live without them to be honest – they felt disjointed, and I’m not sure if the fox is the best choice of narrator. The descriptions of the Lido itself, and the feelings the swimmers have were very detailed and yes, very beautiful, but also a bit too much for my liking.

Even though I had a feeling I can’t get into the characters’ heads, that there is something missing, that I can’t befriend them as much as I’d like, I still appreciated them and their twisty life journeys. They had their ups and downs, highs and lows, troubles, problems and worries and in this story they were starting to realise what it is that make them tick and what’s really important to them – especially Kate and her attempts to overcome her panic attacks (I’d love to have this subplot better developed, I had a feeling that it went nowhere to be honest).

Altogether “The Lido” was a very promising debut about unlikely friendship, celebrating the importance and strength of community. It was well – written and the author has a very engaging, chatty and inviting writing style. Libby Page has delivered a heart – warming, charming and unique story that I enjoyed. She touched upon many issues in her book, such as age, grief, love and the importance of communication and sticking together and never giving up, and it really felt like your favourite blanket and a cup of hot chocolate. It was gentle and full of feelings, and sometimes it’s really nice to read a book that make you feel warm inside – and “The Lido” was such a book. Recommended!

 

 

FOLLOW THE BLOG TOUR:

lido2bblog2btour2b25280022529-2