432 pages ~ ★★★★☆ ~ Netgalley eARC
Its Lydia’s 27th birthday and her and fiancee Freddie are booked in for a romantic meal to celebrate, not long before Freddie rings to say he’s just diverting to pick up his best friend Jonah and will be there soon; tragically the two are involved in a car accident en route to the restaurant which is fatal for Freddie. Lydia is left to come to terms with her new life without Freddie and the life they’d planned together however when she’s given some new sleeping pills to trial by her GP she finds a way to return to a life where Freddie is still alive and well.
Lydia and Freddie first got together as teenagers so Lydia’s entire adult life has been spent being an ‘us’; without him her world is turned upside down so the books covers Lydia’s struggle to work out what her life means and who she is without him; the ability to visit him by taking a sleeping pill proving to be both a comfort and a curse.
Format wise we switch between ‘Awake’ and ‘Asleep’ chapters over the eighteen months or so from Freddie’s death, sometimes following Lydia day by day then skipping ahead a couple of months which kept the pace up. We hear everything from Lydia’s perspective and I really felt myself routing for her throughout the book.
For me this had just the right amount of magical realism and while its not exactly a happy read, with the main theme being dealing with the loss of a loved one it is quite heartwarming watching Lydia’s character develop from one half of a couple into her own person, someone she may never had become had her life gone to plan.
The Two Lives of Lydia Bird is set for released in paperback today. Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for providing me with a copy this in exchange for an honest review.