Considering the fact that I’ve now completed my (short) September TBR, I’m using the rest of the month to read whatever I want. As I’ve probably mentioned, I’m in the process of moving house and – whilst that means I’ll soon have a new reading spot – it means my paperbacks have been packed and are currently waiting to be read (not before I can artfully arrange them in a new bookshelf which, like pretty much everything else, I haven’t bought yet!).
Luckily, I’m not completely out of books and I have used this time to read some books on my Kindle. Whilst People Like Her and Can Everyone Please Calm Down:Guide to 21st Century Sexuality were more recent purchases, the next book I decided to read had been sitting in my Unread section for some time.
Eileen is sick of being 79.
Leena’s tired of life in her twenties.
Maybe it’s time they swapped places…
When overachiever Leena Cotton is ordered to take a two-month sabbatical after blowing a big presentation at work, she escapes to her grandmother Eileen’s house for some overdue rest. Eileen is newly single and about to turn eighty. She’d like a second chance at love, but her tiny Yorkshire village doesn’t offer many eligible gentlemen.
Once Leena learns of Eileen’s romantic predicament, she proposes a solution: a two-month swap. Eileen can live in London and look for love. Meanwhile Leena will look after everything in rural Yorkshire. But with gossiping neighbours and difficult family dynamics to navigate up north, and trendy London flatmates and online dating to contend with in the city, stepping into one another’s shoes proves more difficult than either of them expected.
Leena learns that a long-distance relationship isn’t as romantic as she hoped it would be, and then there is the annoyingly perfect – and distractingly handsome – school teacher, who keeps showing up to outdo her efforts to impress the local villagers. Back in London, Eileen is a huge hit with her new neighbours, but is her perfect match nearer home than she first thought?
I have a complicated relationship with Beth O’Leary’s books. Much like a certain author who hasn’t been off people’s lips, or reading lists, this week – I’m not quite sure where I stand with her.
I started with The Flatshare and I rated it 4.5 stars (back when I rated books, remember that?!) absolutely eating up the predictable, slightly claustrophobic romance. Next up I detoured slightly, having been fortunate enough to receive an E-Arc of her latest book The Road Trip . I wasn’t wowed by the romance but there’s no denying that O’Leary can write captivating stories which prove to be more than meets the eye.
After reading Martin’s non-fiction book, I felt like an easy read that I could lose myself in. For the most part, The Switch delivered.
The switching lives narrative is not something new but, through Eileen and Leena, O’Leary brings a multi-generational switch between two women whose lives need a shake up. I assumed, being a twenty something with a job, I would relate to Leena but I actually managed to relate more to Eileen (though I haven’t travelled across the U.K. to find a man…not yet, anyway!). I was worried I’d find her annoying but she was actually whip smart and incredibly entertaining and — by the end of the book —- I couldn’t help but wish she was real.
At first, Leena irked me a little bit. I just wanted to grab her by the shoulders and say you are not happy. I’m happy to report, though, I also loved Leena by the end. I loved her mates in London and the bonds she made during her “switch” and I throughly enjoyed watching her grow over the course of the novel.
I assumed this book would be predictable and, whilst it did prove to be at times, there were some things I never would’ve guessed! O’Leary grabbed my interest from the offset and kept it the whole way through.
During what has been a difficult, confusing year or so, The Switch was just the book I needed. It deals with loss, grief, depression, toxic relationships, anxiety and probably other things without losing the sense of fun. It proves that O’Leary remains one to watch and I cannot wait to read what’s coming next.
This book made me miss my grandparents terribly. I lost my Grandma some time ago but my Grandad died more recently so reading the bond between the two generations brought up lovely memories but also a deep sense of loss that I haven’t quite confronted yet. It feels weird to end my review on this but, if you have a grandparent or a family member of great significance to you, hug them. Spend time with them if you can, talk to them, tell them you love them. Give them some love because they’ll feel great for it and so will you.
You can buy this book here.