I picked up The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver in the dark depths of lockdown (along with My Brilliant Friend and The Things We Left Unsaid) when the bookshops weren’t open. As I’ve said before, I try to avoid Amazon wherever possible. It’s not the sort of book I would normally choose, but I do try to read lighter books over the summer holidays, as I have less time to focus on reading. Although of course the kids have been at home for months now, so not a lot has changed!
On Lydia’s 27th birthday, her fiancé, Freddie, dies in a tragic accident. Lydia’s life is no longer heading in the right direction and she feels completely lost without Freddie. She just wants to stay at home, cut herself from everything and everyone and cry. But Lydia’s mum and beloved sister, Elle, aren’t going to let her do that.
As time ticks on towards her wedding day, Lydia takes the first tentative steps in getting back to normality. But she is struggling to connect with her oldest friend, Freddie’s best friend, Jonah. For both of them, the grief is too deep for them to support the other.
But Lydia has a secret. She has a way of revisiting Freddie and her former life, which is also heading towards their big day. Can Lydia finally let go of her double life with Freddie and live in the present, or will she keep going back forever?
This is a moving and entertaining love story with a difference. The grief didn’t feel quite as raw as The Light in the Hallway, another story about bereavement I read recently, but it certainly had me in tears a lot. Lydia and the predominantly female supporting characters are likeable and reasonably believable.
This isn’t a great work of literature, but The Two Lives of Lydia Bird is an enjoyable read. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a lighter read, who doesn’t mind shedding a few tears along the way. It is probably best avoided by anyone who has recently lost someone though.