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The Switch

The Switch 1

by Beth O'leary

Paperback / softback Publication Date: 28/04/2020

5/5 Rating 1 Reviews
RRP  $32.99 $26.75

The funny and uplifting new novel from the bestselling author of The Flatshare.

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?

Contemporary fiction
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
Country of origin:
United Kingdom
Dimensions (mm):
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 in reach of London, and wrote her first novel, The Flatshare, on her train journey to and from work.

She is now writing novels full time, and if she's not at her desk, you'll usually find her curled up somewhere with a book, a cup of tea, and several woolly jumpers (whatever the weather).

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating

5 / 5 (1 Ratings)
  • A very enjoyable read.

    by on

    The Switch is the second novel by British author, Beth O’Leary. The audio version is narrated by Alison Steadman and Daisy Edgar-Jones. A work situation sees workaholic Leena Cotton forced to take an eight-week sabbatical from her high-pressure London job. A visit to her beloved seventy-nine-year-old grandmother, Eileen, recently single, prompts a radical plan: they will do a switch.

    Eileen has been listing the pros and cons of the age-appropriate available males in the area, and when Leena sees how poor the choices are in her Yorkshire village of Hamleigh-in-Harksdale, she suggests that Eileen takes her place in the former London printworks flat to enjoy artisanal warehouse living and avail herself of a much wider market of suitable singles.

    Meanwhile, as well as looking after Clearwater Cottage, Leena will cover Eileen’s projects in the village: dog-walking for Jackson Greenwood, dealing with nosy, grumpy neighbours, helping with weekly bingo, organising the May Day Festival, attending their (unofficial) Neighbourhood Watch meetings, and checking on her mother (Eileen’s daughter) Marianne.

    That last may be a bit of a challenge: Marianne is steadily working her way through a myriad of grief coping strategies following the death of Leena’s younger sister, Carla through cancer. Leena and Marianne haven’t been on the best of terms since that awful loss, Leena finding it hard to forgive her mother’s acquiescence to Carla’s stopping treatment.

    Determined to enforce Leena’s break from work, Eileen insists they also swap phones: Leena is left with Eileen’s extremely basic text/call phone with just a few important contacts loaded. While Leena puts her formidable organisational skills to good use in the Yorkshire Dales, Eileen discovers London.

    The story is funny and sweet, dealing with work/life balance, friendship and loyalty, grief, loneliness and the sense of community that can be achieved by those who care, whether in a city or a village. There’s some romance, but it’s almost an after-thought; family and community are the central theme.

    Eileen is utterly delightful and undeniably the star of the show. She benignly meddles in the lives of Leena’s flatmates, friends and neighbours; she plunges into online dating with great gusto; and she is soon remedying the loneliness of local seniors with her Silver Shoreditch Social Club. Alison Steadman’s narration is absolutely brilliant. A very enjoyable read.
    This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by NetGalley and Macmillan Audio.