Monday 13 April 2020

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?

Review: I'm just going to come out and say it, this book was great. It ticked all of my boxes, I read it all in a day and I just feel lucky that I got to enjoy this book today. I love the premise behind this one, getting out of a rut, away from certain stressful situations and living out things you always wanted to do. I so resonated with the beginning of this book with a kind of burn out situation and I am glad that this is finally getting written about in books as more and more of us begin to go through this in our own lives. 

Another topic dealt with so well in this book that so many other authors are afraid to touch on is seniors having a life and having a good time. Si many times older characters in books are written off as just being there for comedy value, emotional value or just there as a sage advice giver and yes they can be that but I am so please that Eileen has her own voice in this book and her own life which she lives to the fullest. I thought Eileen was a great character. I am so used to writing about enjoying how characters grow and change over the course of a novel as they get older, but this was also the case for Eileen. She was able to grow and she was able to meet new people. strive for her dreams and also...have sex. It was awesome getting to know her and reading about her journey. 

Leena is the character we meet first in this novel and I really identified with her. I loved her initial unwillingness to live outside of her comfort zone and also fear of certain things in her life. I could definitely feel that fear coming off the pages and couple really relate to that as well. She also goes on a journey in the novel and it it through her side of the storyline that we get issues like mental health and domestic violence explored and exposed. I thought these issues were dealt with in a really thoughtful way, Obviously use care when picking up this book if either of these issues are triggering for you. 

I also loved the way this book was structured. I always love a dual narrative and I think that structure is even better when the characters are related or even closely linked and in this case with have Eileen who is grandmother to Leena so they are naturally very close. I also really loved the juxtaposition in the settings in this novel. Having grown up in Yorkshire and the worked in London I could really visualise the differences that these two characters were facing and it really did make me yearn for that Yorkshire countryside, especially the description of the dusting of snow on the walls coming away from the airport!

Of course there is some romance in this novel and some real feel-good humour as well. There are some very tender sex scenes but there is also a bit of an enemies to lover slow burn situation that you really don't know whether it will develop into something or not, no spoilers of course! I laughed out loud several times, especially at some of the Yorkshire humour and some of the technological mishaps that take place. I really did enjoy this book and I highly recommend it. I think we all need to spend some time with Leena and Eileen right now!

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US (Out August 18th in US)

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