I received this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest and unboased review. Many thanks to Beth O’Leary and Macmillan Audio for an ARC copy of this audio book, narrated by Alison Steadman; Daisy Edgar-Jones.
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.
Listening to this audiobook was an absolute breath of fresh air. I adored every single thing about it, and here’s why.
The dual narration was excellent. Alison Steadman really brought Eileen to life with her portrayal. She really came across as the no-nonsense, deeply caring grandma figure that the village relied on so much and that Leena really needed in her life. Daisy Edgar-Jones gave Leena a vulnerable edge but still kept her sharp thinking and intelligence whilst portraying a character who had lost herself a little. Both voices were really entertaining yet soothing to listen to and I never tired of them.
The plot was such an emotional roller coaster for both characters.
Leena was stuck in grief and developing some mental health issues from this and working too hard. Some-times Leena’s story was absolutely heart-breaking to follow, especially around her relationship with her mum. I loved how she processed and worked through lots of things throughout the book and I adored her.
Eileen was also stuck in a rut, regretting missing out on things in her younger years I enjoyed watching her experience a different side of life in London and spreading her wings a little. I loved how feisty and adventurous she was whilst maintaining her ‘grandma’ like qualities to help and guide others.
There is also an array of colourful characters from both ladies lives and I’d actually love to see a linked series of books including them. In London, Eileen impacts of Leena’s neighbours and changes the community with such a wonderful ideas. Leena also leaves her mark in the village but I’d say the villagers have a bigger impact on her.
This is such an uplifting novel, despite making me ugly cry in places. It reminds us that we have things to learn from the people around us and also that it’s never too late to make changes and follow our dreams. It’s a narrative about throwing yourself into life fully and finding what truly matters to you. It’s a lesson about being open to receiving the help of others and also helping those around you.
I cannot recommend this novel enough. It’s so much more than a romance novel. It has love, family, community and friendship and it’s beautiful.
Author Bio – 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).