cover image The Two Lives of Lydia Bird

The Two Lives of Lydia Bird

Josie Silver. Ballantine, $26 (384p) ISBN 978-0-593-13523-5

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. (Mar.)