The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver
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.
March 3rd, 2020
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The Two Lives of Lydia Bird was a highly anticipated book for me as I very much delighted in Josie Silver’s 2018 novel One Day in December. Not only did I end up enjoying The Two Lives of Lydia Bird but I ended up connecting with it even more than my first book by Silver.
I can appreciate a fun contemporary romance but I definitely am drawn to plotlines that are a bit more realistic and relatable so this was a great fit for me. Silver shines at sharing stories that are heartwarming while also feeling like they are rooted in reality.
This book was heavy at times and I appreciated the look at the process of grief, especially for a young woman who was still finding herself when she lost the love of her life. The plotline isn’t seamless and I got a lot out of seeing the main character Lydia move through the different stages of loss.
While there was a romantic storyline, I appreciated that this new guy didn’t just sweep Lydia off her feet and make her forget about her grief. The overwhelming and persistent feelings of loss felt real and the tumultuous road to her healing made this book feel heartbreaking and powerful at the same time. If you are looking for an engaging and emotional read, I definitely recommend this one.
Thank you to Ballantine Books for the gifted advanced copy and galley.
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One of the very best scientific predictors for how any child turns out—in terms of happiness, academic success, leadership skills, and meaningful relationships—is whether at least one adult in their life has consistently shown up for them. In an age of scheduling demands and digital distractions, showing up for your child might sound like a tall order. But as bestselling authors Daniel Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson reassuringly explain, it doesn’t take a lot of time, energy, or money. Instead, showing up means offering a quality of presence. And it’s simple to provide once you understand the four building blocks of a child’s healthy development. Every child needs to feel what Siegel and Bryson call the Four S’s:
• Safe: We can’t always insulate a child from injury or avoid doing something that leads to hurt feelings. But when we give a child a sense of safe harbor, she will be able to take the needed risks for growth and change.
• Seen: Truly seeing a child means we pay attention to his emotions—both positive and negative—and strive to attune to what’s happening in his mind beneath his behavior.
• Soothed: Soothing isn’t about providing a life of ease; it’s about teaching your child how to cope when life gets hard, and showing him that you’ll be there with him along the way. A soothed child knows that he’ll never have to suffer alone.
• Secure: When a child knows she can count on you, time and again, to show up—when you reliably provide safety, focus on seeing her, and soothe her in times of need, she will trust in a feeling of secure attachment. And thrive!
Based on the latest brain and attachment research, The Power of Showing Up shares stories, scripts, simple strategies, illustrations, and tips for honoring the Four S’s effectively in all kinds of situations—when our kids are struggling or when they are enjoying success; when we are consoling, disciplining, or arguing with them; and even when we are apologizing for the times we don’t show up for them. Demonstrating that mistakes and missteps are repairable and that it’s never too late to mend broken trust, this book is a powerful guide to cultivating your child’s healthy emotional landscape.
January 7th, 2020
When I saw that authors Siegel and Bryson were releasing a new parenting book, I couldn’t request The Power of Showing Up fast enough! Their past writing has been such a formative part of my own parenting.
Siegel and Bryson always share their knowledge, research, and experiences in an accessible and compassionate way. While they have decades of work in this area they make brain development and psychology approachable and easy to understand have the ability to write in a way that makes you feel heard while also empowering you with new tools and ideas.
The Power of Showing Up is another wonderful addition to their collection of books that speak to you whether you are a parent, caregiver, teacher, etc. They take on attachment theory and share the powerful reminder that the most important thing we can do for our children and to be there for them.
Doing this, we can teach and show them the value of comfort, support and unconditional love through both the highs and lows of being humans. They explain how we can do this through the idea of the “Four S’s”…being seen, safe, soothed and secure.
As a person who experienced insecure attachment as a child, I often hyper-focus on our children always knowing they are heard and loved, while also dealing with the reality that parenting is never-ending and sometimes I lose my cool.
The reality is, everyone makes mistakes, and it is what we do next that is far more important. While I know this in theory, having it presented in an insightful and accessible manner is something I will always remember. I could go on and on about this book but I will just say that I highly recommend it and got so much out of it.
Thank you to NetGalley and Ballantine Books for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
The compelling, poignant true stories of victims of a notorious adoption scandal—some of whom learned the truth from Lisa Wingate’s bestselling novel Before We Were Yours and were reunited with birth family members as a result of its wide reach
From the 1920s to 1950, Georgia Tann ran a black-market baby business at the Tennessee Children’s Home Society in Memphis. She offered up more than 5,000 orphans tailored to the wish lists of eager parents—hiding the fact that many weren’t orphans at all, but stolen sons and daughters of poor families, desperate single mothers, and women told in maternity wards that their babies had died.
The publication of Lisa Wingate’s novel Before We Were Yours brought new awareness of Tann’s lucrative career in child trafficking. Adoptees who knew little about their pasts gained insight into the startling facts behind their family histories. Encouraged by their contact with Wingate and award-winning journalist Judy Christie, who documented the stories of fifteen adoptees in this book, many determined Tann survivors set out to trace their roots and find their birth families.
Before and After includes moving and sometimes shocking accounts of the ways in which adoptees were separated from their first families. Often raised as only children, many have joyfully reunited with siblings in the final decades of their lives. Christie and Wingate tell of first meetings that are all the sweeter and more intense for time missed and of families from very different social backgrounds reaching out to embrace better-late-than-never brothers, sisters, and cousins. In a poignant culmination of art meeting life, many of the long-silent victims of the tragically corrupt system return to Memphis with the authors to reclaim their stories at a Tennessee Children’s Home Society reunion . . . with extraordinary results.
October 22nd, 2019
Non-fiction, U.S. History & Adoption
Two years ago I read Before We Were Yours and it remains one of the most impactful books based on true events that I have ever read. While the characters were fictional, Georgia Tann and the Tennessee Adoption Scandal were not.
Books like Before We Were Yours are powerful because they bring to light heartbreaking parts of history that many people were unaware of before. In addition, this book took on an even bigger role for a group of people who came forward as children were connected to these actual events.
Before and After shares the non-fiction real-life accounts of 12 victims and their personal stories including photos and artifacts from the Tennessee Children’s Home Society Orphanage. Authors Judy Christie & Lis Wingate took on the powerful role of connected these victims to each other and to siblings some of them never knew they had.
While what Georgia Tann did was just horrific, I did appreciate that some of the stories shared moments of light in a time of such darkness. The story of baby Lillian who’s adoptive parents chose her over a healthy baby boy when they found her sickly and covered in a rash in a corner of a room on their way to pick up their baby was especially impactful. Her adoptive parents ended up elbowing past Tann and choosing Lillian, which ultimately saved her life. Tann would leave the sickly children to die since they were what she assumed “worthless” and it is estimated that over 500 children lost their lives while in the care of Tann.
This book felt very satisfying as Before We Were Yours opened the door to such a tragic part of fairly recent U.S. History. I love the idea that this group of survivors was able to come together and now have each other to process with and support one another. While the stories in Before and After are heartbreaking it was also filled with lots of hope and I highly recommend it but definitely read Before We Were Yours first!
Thank you to Ballantine Books for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes
“In a sleepy seaside town in Maine, recently widowed Eveleth “Evvie” Drake rarely leaves her large, painfully empty house nearly a year after her husband’s death in a car crash. Everyone in town, even her best friend, Andy, thinks grief keeps her locked inside, and Evvie doesn’t correct them.
Meanwhile, in New York City, Dean Tenney, former Major League pitcher, and Andy’s childhood best friend, is wrestling with what miserable athletes living out their worst nightmares call the “yips”: he can’t throw straight anymore, and, even worse, he can’t figure out why. As the media storm heats up, an invitation from Andy to stay in Maine seems like the perfect chance to hit the reset button on Dean’s future.
When he moves into an apartment at the back of Evvie’s house, the two make a deal: Dean won’t ask about Evvie’s late husband, and Evvie won’t ask about Dean’s baseball career. Rules, though, have a funny way of being broken—and what starts as an unexpected friendship soon turns into something more. To move forward, Evvie and Dean will have to reckon with their pasts—the friendships they’ve damaged, the secrets they’ve kept—but in life, as in baseball, there’s always a chance—up until the last out.
A joyful, hilarious, and hope-filled debut, Evvie Drake Starts Over will have you cheering for the two most unlikely comebacks of the year—and will leave you wanting more from Linda Holmes.”
Evvie Drake Starts Over is an endearing story of a woman who is trying to get her life “back on track” after the loss of her husband. It was a feel-good story that was also able to cover some important topics like loss, relationships, mental health, and new beginnings.
I enjoyed that this was a romance book that was actually relatable and the main characters had regular issues they had to acknowledge and address. I appreciated that the issues were not only highlighted but dealt with and this made this book so much stronger. This also added some much-needed depth while also having plenty of light-hearted moments.
I look forward to reading more by Linda Holmes in the future! Thank you to NetGalley and Ballantine Books for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.