Book: The Switch Author: Beth O'Leary Genre: Romance, Romantic Comedy Pages: 336 (Kindle) Published: April 2020 (UK) My Rating: 5/5 Stars Hello everyone! I planned to post this review last Friday, yet due to work commitments it had to be delayed. So, here's finally my review for Beth O'Leary's 'The Switch'.
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. (Shortened synopsis from Goodreads - Link)
Oh, I love this book. Beth has done it again! Romance novels really aren't my favourite genre, but O'Leary's are too good to miss. After reading her debut book 'The Flatshare', I could not wait until her next book was published - and it was definitely worth the wait.
'The Switch' is about just that - Eileen Cotton and her granddaughter Leena decide to switch places and live each others lives. After declining her annual leave, Leena is forced to take two months off work and spend some time recovering after her panic attack. Ambitious and dedicated to her job, she's unsure of how to spend her free time. She heads back to her family at Hamleigh-in-Harksdale, and decides to swap lives with her grandma. A wonderful story of a 79 year old exploring London, meeting neighbours and crossing social boundaries... and young Leena being thrown into Neighbourhood Watch meetings and being surrounded by new elderly neighbours whom she doesn't entirely 'click' with.
The characterisation was wonderful. From fussy Roland and his mobility scooter to grumpy Arthur and his cat videos. Eileen Cotton was incredible, she's so inspiring and hilarious! Eileen is determined to set up a social group despite some disagreements from neighbours, she also tries a little online dating and defies expectations (*cough* Tod *cough*). I think we could all do with an Eileen in our lives, she's brilliant! Likewise, Leena Cotton was very likeable - She's grieving for her sister, Carla, and is looking to find herself and re-connect with her mother back at home. She's incredibly thoughtful, funny and I immediately fell in love with the character.
O'Leary's writing style was just as brilliant as her first book. Simply perfection. She writes with such humour and comedy, while also ensuring a message behind her words. 'The Switch' follows a similar structure to the first, as it's a dual narrative between Eileen and Leena, which flowed very smoothly and made for an easy read. If you hadn't guessed, I really loved this book. Like, really really loved it. Like, can I read it again? Maybe, now? It's honestly such a beautiful, heart-warming book.
The storyline was perfect, a simple yet entertaining idea, and it was interesting to see each other's lives (old and young) from a different perspective. I also love how Eileen wanted to ensure people in London could socialise more, as I'm sure there must be so many people who are desperate for company there. Similarly, I love the community spirit back in Hamleigh-in-Harksdale where Leena was temporarily staying.
Overall, without any doubt I give this book five out of five stars - and no one can convince me that it deserves any less. If you're into funny romance novels, then this is definitely the book for you! There's some strong language within this book, and mentions of cancer and depression.
If you'd like to read my review of Beth's book 'The Flatshare', click here.
Take care and stay safe, Sophie x