The Lido Girls by Allie Burns ** Blog Tour Review, Excerpt and Giveaway **

Today I have an excerpt for you from Allie Burns' stunning novel, The Lido Girls. Set in the 1930's in those years between the two World Wars, it has got great period charm. There's also a Giveaway featuring a Boden Beach Towel, Bronzer and a signed postcard- details on how to enter are at the end of the post.
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…

London, 1930s:

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!

Here's a taster of the book, taken from Chapter One when Natalie and Delphi attend a rally of the Women's League.

Prunella, with glowing skin, nape-length bouncy curls and a radiant smile, welcomed them all to this special memorial rally. The rumour in the Phys Ed corridors was that first the Women’s League founder, Mary Bagot Stack, and now her daughter, Prunella, the so-called Perfect Woman, had made themselves rich on a system of exercise with no grounding in science and no discipline whatsoever. They were simply profiting from lonely women like her and Delphi.
Prunella cocked a hip and bent a long leg as if she were chatting to a friend, not addressing a packed hall. As she spoke she maintained a smile at all times. Even as she wrapped her lips around an ‘o’, the rest of her face pulled the other way.
It was the newspapers that had given her the moniker the Perfect Woman. Natalie and Delphi had discussed in their letters what constituted perfect. The journalists who’d come up with the name were undoubtedly male but even so, Natalie had expected Prunella to be much more athletic. She showed good leadership though and she had charisma too. Perfect or not, she had captivated the Grand Hall.
Wherever she moved at least one photographer crouched in front of her, the flashbulb illuminating her every few moments. Delphi swooned, her red lips stretched to their limits by her smile. She was so happy and that had to be a good thing. Her illness had a habit of ruling her life.
Prunella’s voice echoed about the hall as she told them of her mother’s dying wish. How she’d hoped her work with the Women’s League of Health and Beauty, and her aims for spreading peace and cooperation, would continue.
A bugle blew behind Prunella. The resounding cheers faded as the lights dimmed, and their collective heads bowed. Delphi had warned her this display would be sad and yet still a tingle travelled along her spine. The tribute to Prunella’s mother was to be the Representation of War that she’d helped choreograph for the previous year’s rally.
First came the deathly rattle of the drum. Next the women erupted into the shrill whistle of Tipperary. Then the drums retaliated with a rat-a-tat-tat, before the assault of the bugles and then the women won the battle with the unity of their voices. The hairs on her arms betrayed her for the third time that day as a slow procession of women criss-crossed the stage; some bandaged, one a white strip bound around her eyes, feeling the air in front of her.
The sight of one woman as she propped up another, drunk with pain, clogged her throat with a fist-sized lump. She’d imagined her two brothers had been there for each other at the end in that same way. The idea that they hadn’t died alone had been a story she’d had to believe. One small island of consolation in an ocean of grief.
She wished she’d remembered to bring that damned handkerchief to tuck in her left short leg now. Delphi stroked the back of Natalie’s arm and then opened her palm to proffer her own crumpled hankie. The two of them held hands while Natalie blotted her eyes.
‘Isn’t it wonderful?’ Delphi whispered.

My Thoughts

I love historical fiction which is set in the twentieth century and this book did not let me down. Allie Burns has researched the period meticulously and all the period details really evoke that period between the two World Wars. Any story set then has pathos built into it as the reader knows what is coming. The story captures life for women in the 1930's and how narrow some of their life chances could be unless they stepped away from the expected norms. 
   In The Lido Girls, you see different classes of women and how they edge towards new ideas. Anything new seems to be treated with suspicion by the ruling elite who are more than happy to keep the status quo going. Allie Burns manages to show us how different women grew and developed and yet at the same time, still create a heartwarming and engaging story. 

    Delphi and Natalie are two women who belong to those who were regarded as 'surplus'  and left behind. After the slaughter of the First World War, there were many such women who were unable to find a husband and who were life long spinsters. I can remember relatives of mine being described in these terms. I admired the way that Allie Burns is quite ambivalent about Delphi and Natalie's precise relationship as in a way, that is how they would have been regarded in society at the time.

    A lovely summer interlude which I enjoyed reading in the depths of November, this is an evocative read full of lovely moments of light and shade which was uplifting despite what was waiting in the shadows. 

In short: a heartwarming look at life in the 1930's with some bite in the centre.

About the Author 

Allie lives in Kent with her family and two tortoises. When she's not writing for business or penning her Historical Fiction, Allie enjoys swimming and yoga. She has an MA in Professional Writing from Falmouth University and The Lido Girls is her debut novel. She is currently working on a second interwar years novel, which is due for publication in the summer of 2018.

You can follow Allie here: Twitter   |  Facebook   |  Website

Book links: Goodreads   |  Amazon UK

Thanks to Allie Burns, HQ Digital and  Jenny at Neverland Tours for a copy of the book and a place on the Tour.

Giveaway (International)

To be in with a chance to win a Boden beach towel, St Tropez fake tanning face bronzer and a signed postcard- worth £40, follow the link below:
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