Kate Matthews has lived in Brixton, London, for a year and knows no one. She’s a writer for the local paper, and she loves interviewing people, but she’s yet to be assigned anything she can sink her teeth into. Rosemary Peterson has lived in Brixton all her life. She’s seen the neighborhood change as wars, love, and businesses came and went, and every day she swims at the lido (an outdoor pool), where some of her dearest memories were made. Kate and Rosemary’s worlds collide the day it is announced that the lido will close. Kate has been assigned to write about the closure and it’s effect on the town, and she starts her story by interviewing Rosemary. A single meeting changes both of their lives, and the two women come to realize they will do everything within their power to keep the lido from closing.
I picked up this book by accident. My friend Hannah and I went to the movie theater to see Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again, and they were handing them out for free at the ticket counter. Why, I may never know. Hannah and I went home and devoured the book. It was heartfelt, deep, and shockingly real. Rosemary deals with the loss of her husband, and Kate deals with crippling anxiety. They both find their focus and community by swimming at the lido, and it’s threatened closure sets their lives in downward spirals. The two women find meaning in their mutual friendship and build new lives in a town they thought was falling apart around them. I still can’t believe Page is a debut author. Her writing speaks of years of experience, and the way she gets into characters’s heads is enchanting. I had trouble putting this book down and nearly started it over again when I finished, it was that good. I for one can’t wait to see what Page writes next. Stay tuned for a live video discussion between Hannah, myself, and our friend Hallee once she finishes reading it. We’ll talk plot, writing style, and marketing strategies.
Picking up a few years after the original left off, Sophie and Sky have married and are rebuilding Donna’s hotel in her memory. Sophie is overseeing the finishing touches for the grand opening while Sky is training with a large hotel chain in NYC. Sophie is sad becasuse Sky, along with two of her fathers – Bill and Harry – are unable to make the festivities. The plot centers on the theme of family as the story bounces back and forth between Sophie in 2018 and Donna’s own journey in 1969 to finding her place on the island of Kalokari.
The cast is perfectly completed with Lily James as young Donna, Alexa Davies as young Rosie and Jessica Keenan Wynn as young Tanya. Josh Dylan appears as young Bill, Hugh Skinner as young Harry, and Jeremy Irvine as young Sam. Returning, of course, are all of your favorite ABBA songs, combined with an emotionally deeper plot and an appearance by Cher.
This multi-genrational saga will run you through the gamot of emotions, and it is so good. I am actually having trouble writing this post because I keep tearing up, and I saw it weeks ago. I’ll try to keep this short since I’m having trouble reading what I’m typing. Aaaaand now the Starbucks I’m sitting in and has been playing musical soundtracks just turned on Mamma Mia. #dead.
Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again was perfection. The entire theatre sang along, the plot had intricacies and twists we didn’t neccessarily see coming, and then the credits song brought us all to tears while dancing our feet off. We loved it so much that two of my friends and I have decided to be Donna and the Dynamos for Halloween. Luckily, I had already been thinking about going blonde for the past three months. The next time you see me, I’ll be blonde! (if all goes well. Which it should.) If you have any leads on the Dynamos awesome pants (seen above) please send them my way.
Now please excuse me while I practice for our three-part harmony of Super Troupers.
*P.S., the theatre was giving away books when we went to see Mamma Mia and I didn’t even know that was a thing? The book they gave us is called The Lido, and my review is impending. So far it’s also great.