The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver
Publisher: Penguin / Viking
Publishing Date: 30th January 2020
Source: Received from the publisher, thank you!
Number of pages: 432
Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Women’s Fiction
Two Lives. Two Loves. One Impossible Choice.
Lydia and Freddie. Freddie and Lydia. They’ve been together for almost a decade, and Lydia thinks their love is indestructible.
But she’s wrong. Because on her 27th birthday, Freddie dies in a car accident.
So now it’s just Lydia, and all she wants to do is hide indoors and sob ’til her eyes fall out. But Lydia knows that Freddie would want her to live her life well. So, enlisting the help of his best friend and her sister Elle, she takes her first tentative steps into the world and starts to live – perhaps even to love – again.
But then something inexplicable happens, which gives her another chance at her old life with Freddie. A life where none of the tragic events of the past few months have happened. But what if there’s someone in in her new life who wants her to stay?
A heart-breaking, uplifting story for fans of PS I Love You and Jojo Moyes, this gorgeously romantic novel will make you laugh, cry and remind you of what a wonderful gift it is to love and to be loved.
Lydia and Freddie have been together for ever – since they were really young. Now, they are happily engaged and planning their future together. But then fate intervenes and, on his way to Lydia’s birthday dinner, Freddie dies in a car accident. Lydia is devastated. This is actually an understatement. she can’t live, she can’t breathe, she can’t sleep without Freddie. She is unable to handle a day in life, and everything that it includes: eating, washing, going to work. When she’s finally given sleeping pills, she finally sleeps, but she also awakes – in a dream that is too vivid, is lifelike – next to Freddie. She soon realises that the pills help her to be with Freddie again, and so she starts to live two lives – her real one and her dream world. But will it be helpful? Will this bring Lydia back to life, help her rebuild it? Is it at all possible, without consequences, to lead such a double life, with one foot in and one foot out of the real world?
Lydia’s character was exceptionally well written. There was so much depth to her, and you could feel all the emotions that were accompanying her days. Her pain and despair at losing the love of her life were literally heart – breaking, you had a feeling that you are simply next to her and experience the same things. She was complex, believable and genuine in her feelings, and was also full of flaws but that always makes a character even more likeable and relatable. She’s also a character that develops throughout the story and it was truly uplifting to observe her taking control of her life again, especially after seeing what she has to experience to come to this point in her life. She wanted to hide away so much and I was so thankful for her to have her brilliant mum, sister Elle and friend Jonah who never gave up on her, who tried to show her that maybe, somewhere, there is a light at the end of this dark tunnel? I kept everything crossed for Lydia. I could easily understand her and her decisions, even if they were so hard to grasp, especially by her closest ones. I loved how strong in the end the author has made her, guiding her through the process of grief, slowly picking up the pieces of her life and forging a new path. The relationships in this story are also brilliant written, no matter if the author writes about love between Lydia and Freddie, or familial relationships with Lydia’s mother and her sister, or normal friendships. They all felt real, realistic and so truly human.
The author has already proven with her debut novel, and she shows it again, that she has a way with words, writing about feelings and grief in such a sensitive and understanding way. She explores love in a way that not everybody can, in an almost lyrical but not too overdone move, and she won’t let you have a dry eye at the end. But don’t worry if you think this book is sadness pure, no, it’s not, there are bags of humour and Ms Silver’s words are light and chatty. The pace was absolutely right, showing without rush, but also without slow moments, how grief can impact a person, in both short and long term.
Yes, I think you can feel cynical, what with the whole magical element but while sometimes it really doesn’t work in a book, this time the author has created a perfectly believable alternative for Lydia. It felt… I don’t know, real? Yes, somehow real. Not too pushed, not too forced, not too far – fetched, simply being there and making me believe.
So, “The Two Lives of Lydia Bird” is about having to come to terms after your world has fallen apart and the fact how important unconditional support is, no matter wherever it comes from. I was completely immersed in Lydia’s grief and her idea of true love – it was beautiful. I fell for her immediately, it was impossible not to. It’s a beautiful, sensitive, heart breaking and at the same time uplifting novel. It’s a powerful and thought – provoking read and the dreaded second book proved itself to be as great as the first one (if not this little bit better!). It’s an emotional and moving that’s going to steal your heart, break it, mend it and break it over and over again, but in the end it’s going to give you hope and this overwhelming feeling that everything will be okay. Hugely recommended!
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