Review: The 24-Hour Cafe by Libby Page

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Welcome to the cafe that never sleeps.
Day and night, Stella’s Cafe opens its doors to the lonely and the lost, the morning people and the night owls. It’s a place where everyone is always welcome, where life can wait at the door.
Meet Hannah and Mona: best friends, waitresses, dreamers. They love working at Stella’s – the different people they meet, the small kindnesses exchanged. But is it time to step outside and make their own way in life?
Come inside and spend twenty-four hours at Stella’s Cafe, where one day might just be enough to change your life …

Libby Page really doesn’t let me down! I loved, loved The Lido by her when I read it last year and I’ve been putting this one off for a while for some reason. I actually picked this one out in my first ever TBR game on my BookTube channel – my TBR mini golf game! You can check the video out here for my July TBR. I’m so glad this one came up in the video because I think the reason I have been putting this off is because I liked The Lido so much and I didn’t want to not like this one as much. And I have to admit, I didn’t quite love this one as much as The Lido, but I did still really love it.

Although this one follows two waitresses in a 24 hour diner opposite Liverpool Street station, it was the customers that really captured my heart. Working in retail, I completely understood the way the customers were portrayed and I find it fascinating knowing someone you have a very brief interaction with has their own complicated life. This book looks individually at these characters, their passions, problems and relationships. The way these people were interwoven in the story felt so graceful and effortless.

I also loved how this book followed the friendship of two women rather than a relationship, which felt like a bit of a change! Their friendship becomes messy and complicated but felt authentic and I could completely understand why their pathways were heading in the way they were. I also loved how this book was set over 24 hours – I always find books set over a few days are so masterful (I don’t know how you can write a whole 400 page book over just 24 hours and it still be entertaining!) and fast paced.

My only small complaints are the fact it took me a while to get into this one and that I did mix up the two main characters (waitresses) initially, as they have similar interests. However, once I got over halfway through I really didn’t want to put it down. I read the second half in just over a day and I quickly fell in love with all of the people in this one. Some of the scenes were so heartfelt and heartwarming, I ended up so emotional. I admire Libby Page so much for being able to make me cry from a scene with characters we only met a few pages previously. I was properly crying while reading a certain scene with a couple, tears falling off my face and onto my chest. It was just so wholesome and lovely.

Although this may not have lived up to The Lido, I still really, really loved this one and I can’t wait to read her newest release, The Island Home!

★★★★★
4.5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: The Lido by Libby Page

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Goodreads | Waterstones

We’re never too old to make new friends—or to make a difference.
Rosemary Peterson has lived in Brixton, London, all her life but everything is changing.
The library where she used to work has closed. The family grocery store has become a trendy bar. And now the lido, an outdoor pool where she’s swam daily since its opening, is threatened with closure by a local housing developer. It was at the lido that Rosemary escaped the devastation of World War II; here she fell in love with her husband, George; here she found community during her marriage and since George’s death.
Twenty-something Kate Matthews has moved to Brixton and feels desperately alone. A once promising writer, she now covers forgettable stories for her local paper. That is, until she’s assigned to write about the lido’s closing. Soon Kate’s portrait of the pool focuses on a singular woman: Rosemary. And as Rosemary slowly opens up to Kate, both women are nourished and transformed in ways they never thought possible
.

I was so unsure about picking this book up. It appealed to me at first because of the outdoor swimming theme, I love outdoor swimming myself. And then I had a customer in the bookshop I work in recommend it to me after a conversation about wild swimming, and knew I had to try it.

I finally decided to pick it up the other night, and let me tell you I was blown away. God, this book was amazing. I’m not used to reading adult contemporary and often find it hit and miss, but this one was just so delightful and heart-warming and was exactly what we all need right now. I picked it up one night intending to read a chapter and ended up reading around 50 pages. Every time I picked it up after that I felt so happy to be a part of this story.

‘Love is love,’ says Rosemary. ‘Just like a tree is a tree.

The characters in this book were beautiful. Kate was such a lovely soul with a warm heart and so many struggles. Seeing her blossom throughout this book felt like an honour. Rosemary was such a delightful, warm person to read about, and I joked with my boyfriend that I was so much like her, even though she was 86. I loved the way The Lido included flashbacks of Rosemary’s life with her husband and tackled some really difficult themes. The wider cast of characters were diverse and wonderful in their own ways.

The way Kate tackles her own mental health felt so raw and I really felt for her, especially some of the conversations she has with those around her on her journey. This book just radiated warmth and the heartfelt scenes often had me in tears, even only 150 pages in.

It can be a sapling or a hundred -year-old oak, but it still has roots and life and is at the mercy of the seasons.’

I can’t explain how much this book meant to me. It was full of hope and love and warmth, and was written from the heart. It absolutely warmed my soul, and I’m so happy I picked it up.

★★★★★
5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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