Review: The Switch by Beth O’Leary

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’ll start this review by saying that I adored The Flatshare – in fact it was one of my top books of last year, so I was a little nervous going in to The Switch. I really wanted to read it, but at the same time I didn’t want to start it in case it couldn’t live up to my expectations. I needn’t have worried, Beth O’Leary has created yet another awesome book, with more characters to fall in love with.

Just like Flatshare this book entices you in with an interesting idea, this time – if a Grandmother and Grandaughter swapped lives for 2 months, what would happen then?

Well I’ll tell you (with no spoilers, I promise), the answer is a whole lot and at the same time not a lot at all. By which I mean, no one saves the world or has a personality change, instead we get to know everyone between the pages, the communities they live in and the small everyday challenges that must be overcome in all our lives. The Switch is a very human story, at it’s heart is the question of who we are and how we find ourselves again once we get lost.

It’s a rare thing in a work of fiction to find an older character who is fully rounded, who still has their own wants and desires but that is exactly what Eileen is, it feels like she could step off the page and straight into bossing you around. I wish Eileen was my Grandma so I could spend time hanging out with her.

Leena was the same, she could be anyone’s friend. She feels absolutely real and not like she was formed in someone’s imagination at all. You felt her pain, cheered on her on and absolutely understood her.

If you were wondering whether or not to give this book a chance the answer is yes you should. By the end of the book I loved the people between it’s pages.

With thanks to Quercus Books and Netgalley for a copy in exchange for honest review.

The Switch is published 30 April 2020

2 thoughts on “Review: The Switch by Beth O’Leary

  1. Ah, I’m SO excited to read this book 😍 I absolutely adored Flatshare and I’ve been eagerly anticipating more books from O’Leary and this one sounds like another heartwarming read too! Glad to hear your enjoyed it ❤ Great review!

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