The Switch by Beth O'Leary ★★★★★
Updated: May 15
Published : 16th April 2020
Publisher : Quercus
Format : Kindle, Paperback
Genre : Historical Fiction
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?
Thank you Quercus for sending me this absolutely brilliant proof copy.
To kick start my review I have to say that I had high expectations for this one.
I was very lucky to win a breakfast with the author in London last year for The Flatshare, Beth o Leary's debut book, but sadly I had to cancel last minute as I fell quite ill, the lovely people at Quercus were so kind and sent me a hardback copy and I devoured every single page.
It was an amazing read and when I heard that she had a second one out I made sure my name was out their to be among the lucky bloggers in line to read it first.
The Switch did NOT disappoint.
Again we have another utterly beautiful uplifting story that shimmers with love and warmth.
Centred around two characters that I fell in love with straight away and like the first a great twist at the end that you don't see is hidden throughout the story that is revealed at the end, although I will say with this one I had my suspicions on this one and was so happy that I was right.
Eileen and Leena Cotton are both strong willed women.
Leena lives in London, has an amazing job which she has worked her way up to in a short amount of time and she is great at, a loving boyfriend and a flat that she shares with some great friends.
Life should be good. But Leena lost her sister Carla last year and she has not grieved properly, she doesn't really talk to her mum because she is angry. Angry with her, angry at herself and everyday life is getting harder. It all comes to a head when she messes up the latest board meeting she is holding for her boss, Leena has a panic attack and gets most of the financial data wrong. She is forced into a two month sabbatical on full pay to get herself together before she has a complete breakdown.
Eileen lives in Yorkshire. She runs the local neighbourhood watch group, is in charge of the May Day committee and is on the look out for love.
Eileen is happy by herself, she doesn't need a man as such but she would like the companionship again, someone to take her hand if she needs it and give her the butterflies she long lost with her ex husband.
Wade Cotton wasn't exactly the ideal husband but they made a happy-ish life together, until he decided to up and leave Eileen for the yoga instructor.
The trouble is there are very limited options in the village she lives in for available men and the options she does have she really doesn't like.
With nothing to do and work not allowing her in Leena decides to go and visit her grandma, whilst complaining about being forced to take a paid holiday she sees her grans list of possible love interests, suddenly she suggests they switch places, Leena could get the break she needs and Eileen can go on the look for love and when she pulls up online dating to show her that their are hundreds of available men looking for love Eileen agrees, she likes the idea of an adventure.
The story goes back and forth between the two women and what they get up to whilst living each others lives.
Eileen cracks me up, she is such a force to be reckoned with and soon starts making lots of changes in Leena's building, getting to know the neighbours and starts quite the love affair with a man called Tom.
Leena takes over all Eileen projects and soon learns that she shouldn't take people at face value and makes some true friends out of the older people in the village whilst also making changes of her own, the grumpy old man next door is one of them. She befriends Arnold and soon realises he isn't the frosty grump that Eileen believes him to be after all.
Friendships form for both women and by the time they switch back both of their lives have taken a different turn and Leena has, with the help of finally letting go of the anger towards her mother accepted her sisters death, but it takes quite the journey to get to this point.
Beth o Leary has completely won me over again with this beautiful story about family, friendships, acceptance and letting go of things we have no control over.
My favourite character had to be Eileen, she proves that you don't have to be young to have an adventure and that love can be found at any age, everyone needs a nan like her in their lives to stick their nose in and interfere to make things better.
This is a must read and if you haven't read The Flatshare then grab them both, you will not be disappointed you did and will have two amazing stories that will uplift your heart, make you smile and wish that neither will ever end.
Waterstones ( signed edition )
Meet the author
Beth O’Leary is a Sunday Times bestselling author whose books have been translated into more than 30 languages.
She wrote her debut novel, The Flatshare, on her train journey to and from her job at a children’s publisher.
She now lives in the Hampshire countryside and writes full time.
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