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 think we should swap,” I tell Bee, bobbing up into a half-squat so I can talk to her over my computer screen.
This book took me by complete surprise. I don’t know that I ever would have read it if Netgalley didn’t make the audiobook available for “Read Now” when they first released their ALCs, which would have been such a shame. This book has become an instant favourite. It was so much sweeter and more emotional and downright charming than I was anticipating.
I went into The Switch thinking I was picking up a romance, and while there are certainly adorable romances to be found in this story, they are not central to the plot. This book is more about the relationship between Leena and her grandmother, Eileen. They both experienced a loss and are dealing with their grief in very different ways. They decide that they both need a change and swap lives for two months. This is a trope that I absolutely love- it always leads to a lot of fun antics. It was so charming to see both Leena and Eileen form bonds with one another’s friends. This is a book with a lot of character growth and self discovery.
The audiobook was fantastic. The story through dual perspectives and there is a different narrator for both Leena and Eileen’s chapters. I thought both narrators did an excellent job of embracing the essence of their character.
Thank you to Netgalley for the ALC in exchange for an honest review.