Good afternoon and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Lido Girls by Allie Burns. I am thrilled to be able to bring you an extract for this historical fiction novel that is perfect for fans of Pam Evans and Gill Paul.
Before we get to that, let’s check out the synopsis!
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!
Sounds pretty stellar right? Keep reading for an extract of this novel!
‘All right then…’ she tried to catch her breath ‘…but just the one.’ She stepped on to the floor and he took her hand, the other hot around her shoulder. Can he feel that I’m shaking? Before she could consider holding on to her reserve and swaying sweetly in the centre, he’d taken off down the floor and she had no choice but to keep up.
She fought to concentrate on what she was doing. Her mind was trying to soak up the moment, imagine what the two of them looked like from where Delphi stood. Thankfully her feet knew what to do without instruction. He led the prow of their arms up and down, up and down. Natalie’s silk dress-skirt wafted up from her knees as they took off with a sidestep, hovering mid-air together for a second, before landing into a triple-step and then into spirals for the clarinet’s silvery skip.
As they galloped past them she saw Delphi twitch her skirt above her knees to the toe-tap of the drum, Sid swaying beside her. Betsy, her red face intensified, had found a seat and was fanning herself with her ticket.
Jack stopped and put his hands on her hips. Their eyes met. She just couldn’t contain her smile. Thankfully he mirrored her expression, and that allowed her to surrender herself to the music, to Jack’s touch, to the dance floor. I’m no relic now. There’s no 1-2-3-4, back straight, arms stiff. We’re following the beat wherever it takes us.
She realised that this was what she had anticipated back in the hotel room. This loss of control was the reason she hadn’t been able to stop adjusting her beret, but she could see now that there had been nothing to fear. The music shoved the thoughts clear out of her mind and moved her to kick up the powdered chalk, flapping her loose arms along to the trombones’ long-limbed slouch.
‘What a dancer, Natty.’ Jack beamed. ‘Look at you go.’
‘You too,’ she said as she slotted under his arms, smelling his citrus cologne, brushing against his body so close that she felt the heat of it, the shape of it. Even in his lifeguard whites he looked completely at home on the dance floor. She’d had no idea.
‘We make a good partnership,’ she blurted out, ‘on the dance floor, I mean.’
She turned away, unable to meet his gaze again. The band changed to something slower, the rise and fall of a piano tiptoeing through the notes. She broke away. She’d said just one dance, and she’d got carried away as it was. Wait to be asked, see if he wants another one. The others were smiling at them as they returned to the sidelines. She walked slowly, trailing her hand behind her, ready for him to catch it and pull her back, and when she braved it to turn and look over her shoulder, he wasn’t there.
He was back on the dance floor, already in a stiff waltz, with Toots. He shrugged at Natalie as he turned, as if to say, What’s a man to do?, and when Toots turned to face her she batted her eyelashes slowly, and raised her eyebrows before tilting her face up towards Jack’s.
Be sure to check out the other stops on the blog tour The Lido Girls