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…
About the Author
Libby Page previously worked in marketing, moonlighting as a writer. She graduated from The London College of Fashion with a BA in Fashion Journalism before going on to work as a journalist at the Guardian. THE LIDO is her first novel. It was pre-empted within 24 hours of submission for six figures in the UK, pre-empted for six figures in the US, and will be published in 2018 by Orion UK and Simon & Schuster US, followed by eleven other territories around the world.
Libby has been a leading campaigner for fairer internships and has spoken on TV and in parliament in support of fair pay for interns. Libby has been writing from an early age and when she was 16 she wrote an illustrated book called Love Pink to raise money for Breast Cancer Care.
After writing, her second passion is outdoor swimming. Libby lives in London where she enjoys finding new swimming spots and pockets of community within the city.
What I Thought
This book is such a slice of life. 24 hours (plus a jump forward) in a 24-hour cafe in London following Hannah and Mona, waitresses who long to be something more. But, who are already more to the customers who come through the doors into this refuge, and to each other.
Bursting with humanity author Libby Page had me feeling for each individual she writes (I nearly used creates but it feels like she draws them from real life). At first the style felt a little distant like we were simply observers but this mix of point of views cleverly weaved us into each of the character’s lives. It’s like she draws us into a modern day version of the painting Nighthawks by Edward Hopper.
There’s one character in particular that I was anxious to see again but we never really knew if they would come back. In some ways it might have been more realistic to have them not show back up, but that wouldn’t necessarily have been as satisfying to the reader.
I love that the main focus is on friendship between women in its many complexities, from jealousy to true care, from forming to breaking. It was simply beautiful.
Life in Stella’s cafe was peaceful and frantic, celebrated beginning and endings, saw heartbreak and joy. Above all it this is one those stories that reminds us to be kind because we never know what someone is facing.
I did manage to get gifted a copy from #orionontour which Libby kindly signed but when I found out about the blog tour I waited to read it and it feels like it popped into my life as I needed it. There were aspects of the story that touched me very personally and I shed a tear or two.
I would definitely recommend and am glad I now have Libby’s first novel The Lido lined up to read soon.