Sunday, January 03, 2021

The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver ~ Book Review

Lydia Bird and Freddie Hunter have known each other since they were fourteen years old. You can't imagine one without the other. They are as close as a couple can be. And they are finally going to make it official and are getting married within the year. But tonight is for celebrating Lydia's 28th birthday and they've got reservations at a fancy restaurant where they can't be late or their reservation will be given away. So when Freddie calls to say his best friend, Jonah, is having car trouble and he's going to swing by and pick him up, Lydia resigns herself to reminding him to keep an eye on the time and be there on time. But that time, that moment is going to change Lydia's life forever. That time is when Freddie dies in a car accident and Jonah survives. That time is when Lydia is no longer part of a pair and she must learn how to restart her life without Freddie. But then something happens that she can't explain. She's given a second chance to live her life as if the accident had never happened. To see Freddie whenever she wants and continue on towards their wedding day. At first, Lydia grabs that chance whenever she can. But being pulled back into the past and yet living in the present, essentially and impossibly living two lives at once isn't as easy as it seems. And there are slight differences between the two lives that Lydia is heartbroken to find.  How long can she go on bouncing back and forth between the two before one or the other is affected? How can she make the impossible decision to stay in the past with Freddie or to move on towards the future and new possibilities, maybe even new love? 

 Okay in all honesty, I cheated a bit and put that I finished this book on the last day of the year so I could count it in my 2020 reads. In all fairness I was almost done and finished it up the first day of the new year. I picked this book up on a whim at the library because the cover drew me in and the description sounded good. I kept my fingers crossed that though a contemporary romance it would stay clean. And I was pleasantly surprised to find that for the most part it did. There was a couple instances of the f-bomb but it wasn't gratuitously used. The story was wonderfully and charmingly told. It explores great love and great grief and asks the question "What if one could go back in time to before the defining moment of loss? Would we still want that? Would we miss other defining moments, maybe even happy ones?" The story was sad as Lydia deals with her grief, yet hopeful as a new future starts to unfold before her. I was gripped with the story and my emotions were all in for Lydia. The author tells it in back and forth chapters of "Awake" and "Asleep" the asleep being where she is able to live out her life with Freddie. Lydia is a character who is easy to root for and I cried for her, laughed with her and hoped with her as she comes to a point of decision between her two lives. I did take a smidge off the 10 rating because towards the very end I did feel like it was getting a bit drawn out. But other than that I really liked this moving story of grief, hope, love, friendship and family. I can see a movie being made out of it.

I gave it a 9.5/10

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