Thank you to Goodreads for the finished giveaway copy. Thank you to NetGalley and Ballantine Books for the early digital copy.
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.
Tonight has felt much like trying to walk a tightrope. In fact, that’s a good analogy for how life is for me at the moment—I’m constantly standing on an invisible wire between two worlds and hoping like hell that I don’t plummet to my death. For a girl with bad balance, it’s hard work.
Trigger warnings: Death of a loved one, grieving, addiction to medication, miscarriage.
I know you’re probably asking, “Vivian, did you really give this four stars?”
Yes, I did give it four stars. I’m just as shocked as all of you, I think. I really found myself enjoying it the further I progressed. It’s just really cute, sad, and raw. It does get a little weird at some points (Lydia and delivering a baby), but I looked past them. They did mess with my rating a little if I’m being honest.
ANYWAY, I digress.
I’m sure you’ve heard by everyone that this a book about grieving. That’s basically all it us, but there’s actually a lot of growth with the characters that I didn’t expect.
Let’s start with Lydia, obviously. She loses her fiancé in a car accident he was in with his best friend, Jonah. She struggles to sleep because of it, so she ends up taking medication to help her sleep. She starts to dream about another life with Freddie causing her to become addicted. She soon realizes that the two lives are very different. She isn’t reliving the same memories she had with Freddie. Freddie doesn’t really act the way she remembered. As the story progresses, though, she notices more of what their relationship was about. She has to decide the right thing to do, which I found to be quite sad. This book did manage to break my heart a bit. I can’t imagine what I would do.
By the end of the book, she does have a lot of room to still grow, but I thought it ended in a good place. Nothing insanely sad about it.
If you thought I wasn’t going to talk about Jonah, then you’re wrong. He quickly became one of my favorite fictional love interests. He stuck with Lydia the entire time, even though he was dealing with the death of Freddie. He wanted to make sure that she was okay. I’m also happy that he got to live out a dream of his toward the end of the novel. He goes through quite a bit of growth as well, so don’t give up on him right away.
Jonah and Lydia do struggle in the beginning of the story because Jonah was with Freddie when he died, and Lydia has a hard time understanding it. She eventually loosens her grip. The good thing is that she doesn’t blame Jonah for the accident. She understands that what happened, happened, no matter how devastating it is.
There isn’t a handy grief blueprint. You don’t get over losing someone you love in six months or two years or twenty, but you do have to find a way to carry on living without feeling as if everything that comes afterward is second best. Some people walk up mountains, others throw themselves out of planes. Everyone has to find their own way back, and if they’re lucky they’ll have people who love them to hold their hand.
Overall, I recommend this novel, but it definitely won’t be for everyone. You need to have patience, and the ability to withstand a slow burn story. I really enjoyed this one, and I’ll probably check out anything else Josie Silver has written / will write. Go check this one out if you’re interested.
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