What if you could live your great love story again?
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 tragic 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.
Then something unbelievable happens, and Lydia gets another chance at her old life with Freddie. But what if there’s someone in her new life who wants her to stay?
What I Thought:
On reading the blurb I immediately thought of the Gwyneth Paltrow movie, Sliding Doors, as that too deals with what ifs and lives lived in parallel, but while the book and movie had some similarities in feel, I felt that the multi-universe/multi-life concept was more fully explored in the book.
Nothing in this book is easy for Lydia Bird, as she loses her fiancé within a few pages while getting ready for her birthday dinner. While this is a dramatic and fast-paced entry into Lydia’s world, what unfolds afterwards is a carefully-paced examination of grief, and the lengths people would go to for one more minute, one more day, with their lost loved one.
Lydia is a beautifully written character, and you can empathise with her desperation to see Freddie again, so the fantastical part of the plot, where she is actually able to live parts of her life in an alternate world, where Freddie is alive, is not quite as odd as it may sound and fits nicely with the sections of Lydia’s real life.
The world that Freddie inhabits is almost, but not quite, identical to Lydia’s real world – and that’s not just in the fact that Freddie is alive there. Certain situations with her family and friends are different in each world and the perfect moments that Lydia remembers with Freddie are not quite so perfect now she’s had to get used to living without him.
Ultimately, the concept really works well in looking at how people move through grief, and how becoming consumed by it can have ripples in our nearest and furthest circles.
I would describe this book as more hopeful that anything else – hope that even after the very worst things in our life, we can move on and, although our future lives may be different, they are no less important and worthwhile.
Definitely recommended for all the hopeless (and hopeful?) romantics – I’m excited to see what comes next from Josie Silver.
The Two Lives of Lydia Bird is published by Viking.
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Please note: I was sent a copy of this book for review. All opinions are, as ever, my own.