‘The funny and uplifting novel from Sunday Times bestseller Beth O’ Leary’
– The Switch
[ About the Book ]
Leena is too young to feel stuck.
Eileen is too old to start over.
Maybe it’s time for The Switch…
Ordered to take a two-month sabbatical after blowing a big presentation at work, Leena escapes to her grandmother Eileen’s house for some overdue rest. Newly single and about to turn eighty, Eileen would like a second chance at love. But her tiny Yorkshire village doesn’t offer many eligible gentlemen… So Leena proposes a solution: a two-month swap. Eileen can live in London and look for love, and Leena will look after everything in rural Yorkshire.
But with a rabble of unruly OAPs to contend with, as well as the annoyingly perfect – and distractingly handsome – local schoolteacher, Leena learns that switching lives isn’t straightforward. Back in London, Eileen is a huge hit with her new neighbours, and with the online dating scene. But is her perfect match nearer to home than she first thought?
[ My Review ]
The Switch by Beth O’ Leary was originally published April 16th 2020 with Quercus and is my second ever audiobook courtesy of Cork City Library, The Borrow Box App and Bolinda Audio. I am very new to listening to books having made a recent decision to move away from the news and media blasting our airwaves and our social feeds. Listening to Alison Steadman and Daisy Edgar-Jones provided a much needed distraction encouraging me further on my road to including audio books as an alternative reading experience.
The Switch is a heartwarming tale about three generations of the Cotton family. Leena Cotton lives the fast life in London. Overworked and burnt out Leena suffers a panic attack in a business meeting resulting in her boss decreeing an enforced sabbatical. Leena is absolutely horrified at the prospect of eight weeks off. When Leena is busy working she can switch off the other thoughts that creep in and bring her back to the day twelve months previously when her younger sister Carla died from cancer. Leena is angry with the world for letting her sister die but it is at her mother that most of her anger is directed. In Leena’s mind her mother could have done more, she could have tried harder to keep Carla alive.
Eileen Cotton is a seventy-nine year old living alone in the small Yorkshire village grieving for her granddaughter, looking out for her daughter and getting on with life following her husband scarpering after many years of marriage. Eileen is a sprightly individual with a can-do personality and is heavily involved with the village activities. A very popular lady, Eileen keeps many balls juggling and is forever rushing around looking after other folk. Eileen once lived briefly in London and had the dreams of youth in her head but these dreams were never to materialise when life took her on a different path to rural Leeds.
Leena is panicked. How will she keep herself busy? What will she do for the next two months? She makes a decision to visit her grandmother, Eileen, side-stepping her mother. In a conversation with Eileen she gets a sense of how Eileen really feels and she makes a spur of the moment decision, one with very unexpected results. Leena suggests that Eileen take a much deserved break from her life and stay in Leena’s apartment in London, sharing with her very companionable flatmates and she will move into her grandmother’s house looking after all Eileen’s day-to-day business. Sounds simple doesn’t it?
Leena and Eileen soon realise that they both live very different lives and to survive these two months they need to adapt and fast. Leena is young, proactive, a go-getter, an achiever. With a can-do attitude she braces herself for taking on this challenge, because that ‘s what it is really, isn’t it? Eileen is a woman let free. In London she embraces this new experience trying out new things and experiencing new highs. Eileen is a meddler with a good heart and always with the best of intentions, never afraid to speak up when required. This trip to London opens her eyes to Leena’s rather anonymous life here among the crowds of London and Eileen soon decides to make a few changes. Leena, unabashed, with the reaction she receives from Eileen’s friends is determined to win them over, even if it means a few disastrous baking sessions along the way!
The Switch is a charming, warm read. The audiobook very much brought the characters alive for me, giving them voices and an energy that I’m not sure I would have picked up on on paper. Leena and Eileen are wonderfully drawn, with personalities that jump out at you as they embark on their adventure. Packed with humour, The Switch, handles grief with a great sensitivity. There is a strong message within the story of finding oneself and making the time in your life to do just that. We are all very busy. We are all moving through our days looking ahead. The Switch is very much about stopping, breathing, looking around us and really seeing who stands alongside us, who and what is really important to us.
“I write uplifting love stories – the sort of books you reach for when you need a hug.“
– Beth O’ Leary
[ Bio ]
Beth O’Leary is a Sunday Times bestselling author whose books have been translated into more than 30 languages. She wrote her debut novel, The Flatshare, on her train journey to and from her job at a children’s publisher. She now lives in the Hampshire countryside and writes full time.
Website – https://www.betholearyauthor.com/