Title: The Two Lives of Lydia Bird
Author: Josie Silver
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: 369 pages
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Release Date: March 3, 2020
Source: Book of the Month
Content Warnings: death, grief
Lydia and Freddie. Freddie and Lydia. They’d been together for more than a decade, and Lydia thought their love was indestructible.
But she was wrong. On her twenty-eighth birthday, Freddie died in a car accident.
So now it’s just Lydia, and all she wants to do is hide indoors and sob until her eyes fall out. But Lydia knows that Freddie would want her to try to live fully, happily, even without him. So, enlisting the help of his best friend, Jonah, and her sister, Elle, she takes her first tentative steps into the world, open to life–and perhaps even love–again.
But then something inexplicable happens that 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.
Lydia is pulled again and again across the doorway of her past, living two lives, impossibly, at once. But there’s an emotional toll to returning to a world where Freddie, alive, still owns her heart. Because there’s someone in her new life, her real life, who wants her to stay.
Written with Josie Silver’s trademark warmth and wit, The Two Lives of Lydia Bird is a powerful and thrilling love story about the what-ifs that arise at life’s crossroads, and what happens when one woman is given a miraculous chance to answer them.
This is the lowest rating I’ve ever given a book that made me cry so much. This is a testament to the emotional content and effective writing, but overall the plot was lacking.
The Two Lives of Lydia Bird offers a raw and real look at grief. This is a book you need to take your time with to process, but it will also suck you in and make you feel all the feels as Lydia struggles to discover who she is without Freddie.
I was really intrigued by the concept of the “dream world” Lydia visits where Freddie is still alive. She has the opportunity to spend more time with her lost loved one, but can dream Freddie live up to her expectations of what their life together should look like?
While I felt a strong emotional connection to Lydia and felt her loss, the plot really dragged. The story begins the day Freddie dies and spans the next almost two years. I think the way Lydia struggles to deal with her grief and get back to “normal” life is realistic, but it is not particularly engaging to read through her stages of grief in what feels like real time.
While the dream world concept was unique, I thought many of Lydia’s actions toward the end were cliche and unoriginal. I have witnessed other grieving characters follow the same patterns. I feel harsh writing so critically of what I thought was a very realistic depiction of death and grief. Lydia did grow a lot throughout the story as she better understood herself and her relationship with Freddie, but I just wanted something different.
This is a book that I know some people will really, really love based on the emotional response it evokes, but the overarching plot just wasn’t enough for me.