book reviews, contemporary, Women's Fiction

BOOK 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?

The Bookish Fae’s Thoughts:

If you’re looking for something light and fun to read, Beth O’Leary’s The Switch would be perfect for you! I had been seeing her debut book, The Flatshare, all over bookstagram and had always wanted to see what the hype was all about; so, I was really happy when I got an audiobook ARC from Netgalley!

There really isn’t anything I can say about the plot that hasn’t been mentioned in the synopsis. It was pretty much all there: Leena and her grandmother, Eileen, switched lives for a couple of months and they learned a lot of things about themselves. It’s a classic feel-good book that would make a great feel-good movie that you could watch while eating a pint of ice cream every time you need a pick-me-up. It’s just so dang charming!

Daisy Edgar-Jones and Alison Steadman both did an amazing job with the audiobook as Leena and Eileen, respectively.  You could really tell a lot about their personalities from the first time they were introduced. Leena was obviously stressed out and on the verge of a panic attack, and Eileen’s good-humored nature shone through. It is amazing narrators like them that always gets me hooked to audiobooks.

The lack of heavy conflict in the story made listening to The Switch such an easy feat. I managed to finish it in less than 2 days – just in time to be included in my July reads! Leena’s story was entertaining to listen to, especially the unlikely friendships she made in Hamleigh. Eileen’s, however, was the more exciting of the two! At her age, it was really fun to see her date around and be confused among three (3!) men. It was also nice that she managed to leave a lasting mark to her London friends, no matter how brief their time together was.

There were some serious elements like grief, relationship breakdown, and even marital issues, but they are all essential to the growth of all the characters involved. I loved how things panned out and how conflicts were resolved. It’s an amazing book and everyone should read it. And I really mean everyone!


5 Stars

About the Author:

Beth O’Leary

Beth studied English at university before going into children’s publishing. She lives as close to the countryside as she can get while still being within reach of London, and wrote her first novel, The Flatshare, on her train journey to and from work. You’ll usually find her curled up with a book, a cup of tea, and several woolly jumpers (whatever the weather).

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