Thursday 2 June 2022

Guest Review: The House Swap by Jo Lovett

Island house off coast of Maine, with private beach, sea views and the occasional farmyard animal, seeks super swanky Central London penthouse overlooking Holland Park, complete with concierge service and spurned ex-lovers…

When thirty-somethings Cassie and James find each other on a home swap website, it feels meant to be. City hotshot James needs a bolthole after a relationship goes sour and Cassie needs to leave the comfort of her little island to research her new book.

Soon, James is living in Cassie’s cute but ramshackle beachside cottage, and Cassie’s living in James’s luxurious London apartment. It’s the perfect solution.

Except James didn’t imagine he’d be sharing his home with eleven chickens and three alpacas, not to mention the unusually friendly neighbours, who seem to find any excuse to drop by. And Cassie is less than impressed when James’s ex-girlfriend turns up at his door, demanding to know where he’s gone.

The more Cassie and James talk, the more the tension between them mounts. But as the insults fly so do the sparks, and when the time finally comes to swap back, Cassie and James find they aren’t quite ready to give each other up.

But there’s more than just distance between them – and when Cassie makes a surprising discovery, the pair are forced to confront their feelings and decide what kind of life they really want.

Review: Jo Lovett is a new author to me. I saw this book on my local library’s website and liked the sound of it, so I borrowed the audiobook. The premise sounded reminiscent of the film The Holiday, which is one of my must-watch films for the festive season. I’m so glad that I did borrow it, because I was instantly hooked by the story and the characters. It took me no time at all to finish because I was so immersed in the world that the author had created.

The main characters in the story are Cassie and James. Cassie is originally from Glasgow, but now lives on a small island off the coast of Maine, where she keeps alpacas and chickens and writes children’s books. Business man James lives in a luxurious apartment in central London and has a concierge service on hand to provide him with his every need. When Cassie needs somewhere to live in London for a few months and James needs to get away from the city for a while, they find each other’s homes on a house swapping website and decide that this seems an ideal solution. The problem is that neither of them is quite prepared for what they find, and there are more than a few heated texts and phone calls across the Atlantic. However, as time passes, the situation calms down and the pair find that they can actually enjoy talking to each other and that they will miss this when the swap ends. When Cassie subsequently has to make a business trip to London, she even meets up with James. However, she makes a startling discovery once she returns home that will change both of their lives forever.

Oh I did enjoy this wonderful romcom! It had me laughing out loud and completely drawn into Cassie and James’s world. I loved both of the central characters, but also their respective friends and neighbours. The change in James after he had been living on the island for a while was particularly heart-warming. It is not all comedy; both Cassie and James have some serious issues, which are dealt with sensitively by the author. I was attracted to both of their homes, but I could absolutely enjoy living on Cassie’s island with her animals, the sea at the door and some very interesting neighbours, to say nothing of the social events organised by the community. This is definitely a book that I would recommend to anyone wishing to escape from the pressures of the real world for a while. I personally shall be looking out for more books from Jo Lovett.

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US

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