Wednesday, October 7, 2020

The Switch by Beth O'Leary


The Switch
by Beth O'Leary
Published August 18th 2020 by Flatiron Books

A grandmother and granddaughter swap lives in The Switch, a charming, romantic novel by Beth O’Leary, who has been hailed as “the new Jojo Moyes” (Cosmopolitan UK)...

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 long-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.

So they decide to try a two-month swap.

Eileen will live in London and look for love. She’ll take Leena’s flat, and learn all about casual dating, swiping right, and city neighbors. Meanwhile Leena will look after everything in rural Yorkshire: Eileen’s sweet cottage and garden, her idyllic, quiet village, and her little neighborhood projects.

But stepping into one another's shoes proves more difficult than either of them expected. Will swapping lives help Eileen and Leena find themselves…and maybe even find true love? In Beth O'Leary's The Switch, it's never too late to change everything....or to find yourself.

5 Stars

Oh, what a read. Easily one of my top ten favorites of the year. How I cried! And missed my own grandmother. 

Leena has had a rough year, she may still be in her twenties, but she's tired. Eileen wants to keep living, at 79 she still has some adventure left in her and a desperate desire to share her life with someone else. On a forced sabbatical Leena retreats to her grandmother's, but what begins as a weekend plan becomes The Switch, with Eileen's grandmother taking off to London and Leena hunkering down in rural Yorkshire. What follows is love, laughter, and something like happily ever after.

I had no idea what to expect with The Switch, especially after spending the first 20% crying. Leena's life feels like it's off the rails, Eileen as such a beautiful hope for love, and they're both suffering from loss and familial hurts. I could relate so much with Leena, working so hard and avoiding her pain is something I do. Eileen just felt like my own grandmother, I could picture her and her group of sassy friends gossiping. They're swap is so funny, it's a classic storyline in a novel, yet Beth O'Leary does it so well. Eileen in London and Leena in a small rural town was something I could see and yet it works so well. The two stumble through finding their way, their new place, and along the way they find themselves buried underneath the rubble of time.

I spent the entire novel either laughing or crying, sometimes both at the same time. Beth writes such unique characters with standout individual voices, even the secondary characters are easy to imagine. The qualities of Eileen and Leena are truly normal qualities and yet they feel like magic in their new temporary homes and they cause a domino affect on everyone. The new London, the new Yorkshire, and all the empowered and changed people around them thanks to a silly idea to switch places. I'd recommend this novel to just about everyone, while it's women's fiction it's just contemporary enough to be an enjoyable escape read.

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