Book Review: The Switch – Beth O’Leary

Eileen is sick of being 79.
Leena’s tired of life in her twenties.
Maybe it’s time they swapped places…

The switch isn’t like any book that you’ve read before. A young woman who’s worked herself to the point of collapse and still grieving her sister, is ordered to take some time out to rest and recharge. Eileen on the other hand is frustrated, in her late 70s living in a small village she wants a little more excitement in her life – particularly as she’s getting nowhere with the local dating scene.

After Leena takes a trip to see her grandmother for a bit of comfort they hatch a plan, one that seems insane but might give both women just what they need. Eileen will go and spend some time in Leena’s flat in London – giving herself a taste of the city life. At the same time Leena will stay in her small town in Yorkshire for her sabbatical. Who knows what they’ll learn from taking on each others lives.

Beth O’Leary has a way of getting you to not only fall into the story, but you also really care about the characters. I still find myself thinking about the characters from her first novel, The Flatshare, sometimes and I read that over a year ago. I pre-ordered the audiobook as soon as it was available on Audible and it did not disappoint.

I could relate to Leena on a personal level, someone who wants to prove herself, be busy and often overworks herself and the whole way through I was rooting for her. As for Eileen, I absolutely adored her, the way she fits in with Leena’s firsts, how she takes life into her own hands and decides to go for it after not having the chance as a young woman.

What is excellent in O’Leary’s books is that she also manages to weave in some important lessons within a story that is ultimately a romance. Within this novel is the pain of grief and the complexity of family, giving so much more to the story and the heart of it.

If you’re looking for a read that will lift your spirits, give you a laugh but also make you feel that there is a bit of love and hope in the world, I would suggest picking this one up. I’ve read all of Beth’s books so far and I absolutely love it.

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