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The Switch by Beth O'Leary

I will be quite honest, I bought The Switch by Beth O'Leary from Amazon because it xounded interesting and was on sale for £2.00. The book tells a women's fiction story. This is not my preferred genre, but I do read it and enjoy well-written stories in any genre. This is an extremely well written story.

The Blurb

Eileen is sick of being 79.

Leena's tired of life in her 20s.

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 80. 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?

The Review

I enjoyed the main characters in this book from the get-go. Leena is named after her grandmother, Eileen and is very close to her but is estranged from her mother. The whole family is reeling from the death of Leena's sister from cancer. The three women must come to terms with their new family dynamics.

Eileen, although in her late seventies is a ball of energy and looking for love, but is having a problem finding a suitable partner in the small Yorkshire village where she lives.

Leena has tackled her grief following the death of her sister, by throwing herself into her high-powered job. However, stress builds up within her and she has a breakdown. The company she works for gives her two months compassionate leave and she goes North to stay with her grandmother.

When she gets there she finds that her grandmother is worried about Leena's mother but also about her own love life. She wants to find a new partner before it is too late. It is then that Leena and Eileen decide to swap lives for the two months that Leena has off work. This will give Leena time to re-connect with her mother and relax away from the fast pace of London life, while Eileen explores the dating life available to her in the capital.

This is an gripping story told compassionately and with humour. Although I had never read anything by Beth O'Leary before, I enjoyed The Switch very much and would highly recommend it. I would also look forward to reading the book The Flatshare by this author.

The Author

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).

Val Penny

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