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The Switch by Beth O’Leary

A review by Emma Streeton

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. When Leena learns of Eileen’s romantic predicament, she proposes a solution: a two-month switch. Eileen can live in London and look for love. Meanwhile Leena will look after everything in rural Yorkshire. What could possibly go wrong?!

With gossiping neighbors and difficult family dynamics to navigate up north, 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. Will this spontaneous swap be all worth it in the end? I encourage you to pick up this gloriously addictive book and find out for yourself.

I was skeptical

Now I will readily admit that I was skeptical about the premise of this book. I thought that a life swap between a 29 year old and a 79 year old would be almost impossible to pull off and make into a compelling read. Boy was I wrong!

I absolutely adored this book from the very start and struggled to put it down. It was a breath of fresh air to indulge in and the exact recipe for joy we could all do with in our lives right now. Everything about this novel works: the plot, the characters, the pace and the mix of emotion and laughter provided to the reader. Beth O’Leary I salute you and I apologize for my initial cynicism.

Central Characters

O’Leary provides two central characters, grandmother and granddaughter, that you will struggle not to fall in love with. Never have I read a book with an older main character quite like Eileen Cotton. Talk about a grandparent to be proud of! She was fun, vibrant and endearing, embracing her life and experiences with gusto. She was an inspiring character who will surely motivate readers to consider embracing life and all of its adventures. If I am half as energetic as Eileen is when I am 79 years old I will be doing alright! Leena too was a heartwarming and engaging character as she learns the value of living life at a slower pace. Something I think many of us could benefit from doing.

The verdict

I admit the storyline is a little predictable but this did not distract from the overall enjoyment of the book one iota. O’Leary’s writing is energetic, well-paced and absorbing. She sweeps you along on Eileen and Leena’s adventure, develops characters you invest in and care about and most importantly puts a smile on your face along the way. A prefect weekend read. But be warned The Switch is not a book to pick up lightly… as you will not be able to put it down until the last page.

Thank you Beth O’Leary for a great read. I will certainly be searching out her previous book Flatshare when I get the chance.

Don’t forget your TBR (To Be Read) pile is threatening to topple over. Just like mine. – Editor.

Book details

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
ISBN: 9781787475007
Imprint: Quercus (Hachette)
Released: 2020
Format: paperback
Category: fiction, romance

The switch: two doors sit below the title

Nalini is an award-winning writer and artist as well as managing editor of Dark Matter Zine.


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