Beth O’Leary comes to the blog with a story of cross-generational friendship with a touch of love tossed into the mix with
Eileen is nearing eighty and finding herself in need of a change after her husband left her for a dance instructor. Leena is her twenty-something granddaughter hit a stumbling block during a presentation at work and has been told to “take a break”. Grandmother’s house is the country is the perfect place to regroup – and her flat in London becomes Eileen’s preferred ‘shake it up’ option for the immediate future.
Eileen is wonderfully drawn and charismatic: even Leena’s friends and flatmates adore her and her ‘been there done that’ sensible advice, given with a dash of ‘take the chances’ attitude keep her far more the star of this story and the one you can’t help but cheer on and appreciate. Everything isn’t always easy for her – but her determination to take life by the horns and make something new and different for the next stage of her life brings her fully into the reader’s imagination.
For me, Leena was far less engaging and far too immature for a grown twenty-something person who needs to get her own stuff together and never learn from her own mistakes (and there were plenty). Her personality and Eileen’s worked well together, but if Leena felt more like Eileen I think the contrast in the two personalities, and my patience with Leena would have been more to my liking.
Narration (and I read the story too) for this book is provided by Alison Steadman and Daisy Edgar-Jones and the duo combined to make for snappy conversation, solid emotional access and a wonderfully clever set of tone and volume changes that affected the listen in all the best ways. There are moments to laugh, to cry, to giggle and sigh here and the story has something for everyone with a message that resonates for all.
Stars: Overall 4 Narration 4 Story 4
Title: The Switch
Author: Beth O'Leary
Genre: British, Coming of Age, Contemporary Woman's Fiction, Friendship, Second Chance, Setting: Britain
Narrator: Alison Steadman, Daisy Edgar-Jones
Published by: Flatiron Books, MacMillan Audio
Published on: 18 August, 2020
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Audio Length: 10 Hours: 11 minutes
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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?
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.