I love dual and multi point of view narratives and them seem to be far more common then they used to be. The Switch by Beth O’Leary is a book that I actually own twice but haven’t read. I preordered the hardback after reading The Flatshare during lockdown and also have a paperback copy. The narrative is divided between Leena and her grandmother, Eileen, so perfect for the prompt and technically clears two books off my tbr!
What it’s about?
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?
What I think:
This was a great read.
I loved Eileen straight away. She has such a kind heart and sense of fun. Despite her age and recent heartbreak, she is determined to live life to the full. She is willing to try new things, make new friends and support others.
I found Leena’s character harder to warm to initially. She is hardworking and driven, but her foucs and ambition can make her selfish. She is devastated by the death of her sister but is not allowing herself time to grieve. Rather that supporting her mother and finding comfort in each other, she is blaming her and the rift between them is growing.
The life swap scenario is such a fun one. Leena is a classic town mouse. When she moves to the village she struggles to find her place at first. everyone knows her business and Eileen has left big shoes to follow. She eventually settles in making friends and building relationships of her own. Eileen thrives in the city. While she is is initially shocked at the isolation some people are experiencing, her natural friendliness and inquisitiveness allow her to make friends and build a sense of community that is missing in London.
This is such a heart-warming book . It reminds that it never to late to make big and positive changes in our lives. Community, family and friendship are central to the character’s happiness. Love and friendship can be found in unexpected places and it is never too late to rebuild relationships that have been broken.
If you are looking for a fun, cosy read full of characters you will love then I definitely recommend The Switch.