Published by Penguin Viking, 30 January 2020, 431 pages, 0.99p (kindle)
A few pages in and I already felt like weeping. With her debut One Day in December (2018), Josie Silver proved to be the go-to author for a story radiating with conflicting emotions and the question mark of life. She explores the latter with more depth and a supernatural twist in her latest book, pushing for a bit more tears than fuzzy romance.
The Two Lives… is about the eponymous heroine’s struggle to deal with the loss of her fiancé Freddie, especially because whenever she falls asleep, she meets him. But this is not just a typical dream, it is a pinch-me, alternative world, where Lydia continues her life with Freddie as if he had never died. Reminiscent of the TV drama ‘Awake’ (2012), but without the psychological creepiness, it conveys the tension of what the heart wants and what it needs. Josie blends light comedy, bouts of pain and mystery, as the reader is intrigued by what the strange ‘Asleep’ world represents and its connection to the real world. Underneath the surface is a developing love story that emerges when Lydia gradually gains control of both her lives.
As someone who, fortunately, has not experienced grief of this level, the themes explored did not affect me as it might do another reader. I would like to say that Josie never strays into unbearable intensity, but has a style that is comforting. Her pacing glides smoothly, weaving in and out of every characters’ exclamation, pause and full stop. A true (and addictive) delight to read during my winter commute.
Many thanks to Georgia at Viking for my copy xxx