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The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver

The Two Lives of Lydia Bird

Repeat author

Josie Silver is back at Book of the Month – other BOTMs include A Winter in New York and One Day in December.

by Josie Silver

Excellent choice

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Quick take

Thanks to magic, a fiancé finds her dead husband-to-be very much alive in her dreams. Cue all the daytime naps.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_FastRead

    Fast read

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_400

    400+ pages

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Sad


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Magical



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 her twenty-eighth birthday, Freddie died in a car accident.

So now it's just Lydia, and all she wants to do is 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 across the doorway of 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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Free sample

Get an early look from the first pages of The Two Lives of Lydia Bird.
The Two Lives of Lydia Bird


Most of life’s defining moments happen unexpectedly; sometimes they slide past you completely unnoticed until afterward, if at all. The last time your child is small enough to carry on your hip. An eye roll exchanged with a stranger who becomes your life-long best friend. The summer job you apply for on impulse and stay at for the next twenty years. Those kinds of things. So I’m completely unaware that one of my defining moments is passing me by when my mobile rings at 6:47 p.m. on March 14, 2018; instead I curse under my breath because I’ve got a Velcro roller stuck in my hair and I’m already running late.


I can’t help it; I smile as I tap on speakerphone and Freddie half shouts his greeting over the background road noise.

“I’m here,” I say, loudly, bobby pins gripped between my teeth.

“Listen, Lyds, Jonah’s got car trouble so I’m going to swing round and pick him up on the way back. It won’t make much difference; ten minutes, max.”

I’m glad he isn’t here to see the look on my face. Was it Princess Diana who famously said that there were three people in her marriage? I get that, because there are three people in mine too. Not that we’re married yet; very nearly though. Freddie Hunter and I are engaged, and I’m officially almost the happiest girl in the world. I refer you back to my earlier statement to explain why I say “almost” the happiest, because there’s me, there’s Freddie, and there’s Jonah bloody Jones.

I get it. I don’t go a day without speaking to my sister, but Elle isn’t always here on our sofa drinking our tea and demanding my attention. Not that Freddie’s best friend is demanding, exactly; Jonah’s so laid back he’s almost horizontal most of the time, and it’s not as if I don’t like him—I’d just like him a whole lot more if I didn’t see so much of him, you know? Tonight, for instance. Freddie asked Jonah to the dinner without thinking to check with me first, even though it’s my birthday.

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Why I love it

I shy away from sentimental reads. If an author is overtly manipulating my emotions, I have no problem rolling my eyes and setting the book aside. Luckily, I’m here to tell you that The Two Lives of Lydia Bird possesses not one moment of emotional fakery. This novel is as raw as it is charming, and one of the most earnestly heartfelt books I have read.

Freddie and Lydia have been together since they were 14, and Lydia can’t imagine her life without him. But a few months into their engagement, on Lydia’s twenty-eighth birthday, Freddie dies in a tragic accident. In her grief, Lydia’s relationship with Freddie’s best friend, Jonah, deepens as she tries to move on. But she's rattled to discover that, every night when she falls asleep, she is inexplicably transported to a world where Freddie is still alive. As Lydia deals with the emotional strain of living parallel existences, she’s forced to make decisions not only about how she wants to live, but who she wants to live with.

What I love most about this book is that in spite of the extraordinary premise, its charm is in the ordinary moments that make up Lydia’s dual lives. The Two Lives of Lydia Bird broke my heart into pieces and then put those pieces back together one spontaneous cat adoption and silent speed dating session at a time. With each tentative step Lydia takes toward healing, we learn alongside her that grief and love are both messy, knock-you-down, totally transformative parts of life. Grab a box of tissues and enjoy the journey.

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Member ratings (13,740)

  • Karen M.

    Adams, NY

    This book was very cute, I felt very invested in the story and cared about the characters by the time I was over. I'm not really sure how I feel about the ending, but I liked the way that she portrayed the characters and definitely cared about Lydia

  • Rhea J.

    Watauga, TX

    An amazing journey! I loved “The Two Lives of Lydia Bird.” Her story of grief was sweet and sad and wonderful all at the same time. And the end- “there is more than one happy ending for everyone.” ❤️

  • Inga S.

    New York, NY

    This book literally made me cry. I’ve not lost a lover but have lost a close loved one and the emotions – regret, desparation, love – are so well written it spirits you away. Amazing & heartwrenching.

  • Ryann U.

    Arlington Heights, IL

    A compelling read that gives a glimpse into one woman’s journey full of both heartache and hope. It asks important “What if” questions in a much different way than the equally good ONE DAY IN DECEMBER

  • Rebecca O.

    Great Valley, NY

    I’m normally don’t pick a romance book, but I wanted to try it out & I’m glad I chose this book! It was a bit predictable, as most romance books are, but it was a feel good read & felt like a movie!

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