Book review: The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver

Title: The Two Lives of Lydia Bird

Author: Josie Silver

Genre: Romance

Publisher: Penguin

Publication date: 30th January 2020

My rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆


“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?

My review:

Lydia’s life is turned upside down when her fiancé, Freddie, is killed in a car accident. This book follows her feelings ranging from grief, despair and disbelief as she struggles to come to terms with the unexpected turn of events and losing the love of her life so suddenly. The beautiful and raw storyline captured my attention right from the start and I liked how the focus never strayed far from the emotions Lydia felt and her attempt to pick herself up. I quickly warmed to her character and wished that she would eventually find happiness again.

An interesting and fitting storytelling element in The Two Lives of Lydia Bird is the dual story lines as Lydia drifts from reality to a dreamlike state where Freddie is still alive. Although she is somewhat aware that she is dreaming, she yearns to stay in her dreams to avoid facing the harsh reality. This was a powerful writing tool and one which allowed for the reader to  get to know Freddie while also connecting with Lydia.

At around the halfway mark Lydia knows that she must find her way back to reality and her struggles and worries become real. I liked the introduction of the minor characters, from her family members to her coworkers, and was sincerely hoping that they would be enough to help her through her hardships. The pacing felt just right as the author takes us on an emotional journey over several months as Lydia connects with the outside world and deals with her grief using various coping mechanisms.

There were only a few ways that this book could end in order to both please the reader and give closure to Lydia and I guessed it correctly from the beginning which ultimately left me a little disappointed. Nevertheless, it was perhaps the only satisfactory ending and I understand the author’s decision to follow this path. Josie Silver has delivered another heartbreaking and tender novel with a set of beautifully complex characters. I thoroughly enjoyed her previous novel, One Day in December, and feel the same way about The Two Lives of Lydia Bird. I can’t recommend her writing enough to readers who seek emotional and powerful books which explore life’s burdens with sensitivity and compassion.

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