Today I have a Excerpt from The Lido Girls by Allie Burns.
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!
They followed the chattering girls through to the Grand Hall. The hairs on her arms stood tall again. The sweeping latticed glass ceiling, way above them in the heavens, was both a hothouse that at once amplified the chatter of two and a half thousand excited women, while also bringing them closer to the serenity of the clouds above on this grey April day.
She threaded an arm through Delphi’s and they smiled at one another, sharing the thrill of the moment, the tingle in the air.
A troop of women brushed past them as they marched up and down behind banners from their home towns or counties; first Portsmouth went by, then Yorkshire was followed by a rowdy group from Yeovil. On either side of the central concourse – the same dimensions as a swimming pool, though broader and longer than anything she’d ever seen – were steep-sided seats for the spectators: the children, sisters, brothers and husbands of the women demonstrating today.
‘I want to be near the front,’ Delphi said, ‘as close to Prunella as possible.’
Natalie held back, noticing the flashbulbs coming from the front. Prunella had been the main topic of many of Delphi’s letters, but they had to be practical and not get too close. They’d both told lies so they could be there today. It would do neither of them any good to find themselves pictured in the press, nor would it help Delphi’s career prospects if she had a sleeping fit right at the foot of the stage.
Delphi gave up on pushing through when an instruction came for them to sit down. They noisily lowered to the cool concrete floor and sat cross-legged. Delphi and Natalie squeezed into a row in the midst of a group of Scots wearing tartan ribbons on their shoulders, about half a dozen lines from the very front. They had an excellent view of the stage and the three-piece jazz band, but were safe from the photographers, and hidden from view should Delphi take a turn.
Natalie lifted her head and looked all the way behind her at the rows and rows of ladies, all in matching white shirts and black shorts. All with their hair set in waves.
For all their uniformity, the women inside the outfits were much more of a mixture than she’d expected. At her college there was a definite sort of girl who thrived there – she’d been one herself – usually wealthy, or as in her case, with a father in a respectable profession.
These ladies weren’t of one sort at all. Some were their age – surplus women as the press liked to label them, women like she and Delphi, in their thirties, still single and not much hope of that ever changing. The loss of so many men in the war had seen to that. Not that she’d ever give up the hope of finding a husband. Others around them wore more lines about the eyes, and had rounder hips. War widows, no doubt.
All of them, whatever their age or circumstance, had come more out of the need for company than exercise and so for that reason she should fit right in, but still she couldn’t shake the feeling that she was wrong to have come.
You can purchase a copy of The Lido Girls here.
Thanks for reading and thank you to Jenny at Neverland Book Tours for putting together another fab tour.