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The Two Lives of Lydia Bird
Cover of The Two Lives of Lydia Bird
The Two Lives of Lydia Bird
A Novel
Borrow Borrow
Two lives. Two loves. One impossible choice. From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Reese’s Book Club Pick One Day in December . . .
 
“I read The Two Lives of Lydia Bird in a single sitting. What a beautiful, emotional gift Josie Silver has given us.”—Jodi Picoult
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.
 
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 Lydia’s twenty-eighth birthday, Freddie died in a car accident.
 
So now it’s just Lydia, and all she wants is to 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 through the doorway to 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.
Two lives. Two loves. One impossible choice. From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Reese’s Book Club Pick One Day in December . . .
 
“I read The Two Lives of Lydia Bird in a single sitting. What a beautiful, emotional gift Josie Silver has given us.”—Jodi Picoult
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.
 
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 Lydia’s twenty-eighth birthday, Freddie died in a car accident.
 
So now it’s just Lydia, and all she wants is to 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 through the doorway to 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.
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  • From the cover Awake

    Thursday, May 10

    Freddie Hunter, otherwise known as the great big love of my life, died fifty-­six days ago.

    One moment I’m cursing him for running late and ruining my birthday dinner, the next I’m trying to make sense of the two uniformed policewomen in my living room, one of them holding my hand as she speaks. I stare at her wedding ring, and then at my engagement ring.

    “Freddie can’t be dead,” I say. “We’re getting married next year.”

    It’s probably a self-­preservation thing that I struggle to recall exactly what happened afterward. I remember being rushed to emergency in the police car, and my sister holding me up when my legs buckled at the hospital. I remember turning my back on Jonah Jones when he appeared in the waiting room with barely a scratch on him, just his hand bandaged and a wound dressing over one eye. How is that fair? Two get into the car, only one gets out again. I remember what I was wearing: a new green blouse I’d bought especially for the dinner. I’ve given it away to a charity shop, I never want it on my body again.

    Since that awful day I’ve racked my brain countless times to try to recall every word of my last conversation with Freddie, and all I can remember is grumbling at him about cutting it close for the restaurant. And then come the other thoughts. Was he rushing to please me? Was the accident my fault? God, I wish I’d told him that I love him. Had I known that it was the last time I’d ever speak to him, I would have; of course I would. Since it happened I’ve sometimes wished he’d lived just long enough for us to have one more conversation—­but then I’m not sure my heart could have withstood it. It’s probably for the best if the last time you do something momentous passes you by unheralded: the last time my mother collected me at the school gate, her hand reassuring around my smaller one, the last time my father remembered my birthday. The last time I spoke to Freddie Hunter as he dashed back to see me on my twenty-­eighth birthday. Do you know what the last words he said to me were? Over and out. It was a habit, something he’d done for years; silly words that have now become one of the most significant phrases of my life.

    I guess it was just so Freddie, though, to go out on a phrase like that. He had this great big lust for life, a lightness of attitude coupled with a killer competitive streak—­fun but lethal, if you like. I’ve never met anyone with such a gift for always knowing what to say. He has, he had, a knack of making other people think they’d won when in fact he’d got exactly what he wanted. He is, he was, the one who was always going to be someone or do something that would make people remember his name long after he’d gone.

    And now he bloody well has gone, his car concertinaed against an oak tree, and I feel as if someone has tied a knot in my windpipe. It’s as if I can’t get quite enough air into my lungs. I’m breathless and perpetually on the edge of panic. 

    The doctor has finally given me something to help me sleep after my mum yelled at him yesterday in the living room: a month’s supply of some new pill that he wasn’t at all sure about prescribing because he thinks grief is something I need to “pass through sentiently in order to emerge.” I’m not making this shit up; he said those actual words to me a couple of weeks ago, before leaving me empty-­handed to go home to his very-­much-­alive wife and children.

    Living around the...
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from January 13, 2020
    Silver’s latest (after One Day in December) is a heartbreaking, poignant tale of a woman suffused in a prescription drug-fueled dream state after a great loss. After Lydia Bird’s fiancé, Freddie Hunter, is killed in a car accident on her birthday, she gets hooked on sleeping pills and retreats into a dreamworld where nothing has changed. Lydia’s sister Elle and her mother push her to learn how to build a life without the man she’d been with since she was a teenager and encourage her to redefine her relationship with her late fiancé’s best friend, Jonah, who survived the crash. But her dreams continue, aided by the pills, and in them she and Freddie get married, go on their honeymoon, and celebrate Lydia’s birthday. After the birth of Elle’s daughter, Lydia rises out of her funk and spontaneously flies to Croatia, where she considers a job offer, video chats with Jonah, and tries to imagine a future. Through lush prose, expert plotting, and richly imagined characters, Silver offers an achingly real portrait of grief transposed with the character’s intoxicating parallel universe. This will stay with readers long after the final page is turned. Agent: Jemima Forrester, David Higham Assoc.

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