I think I may have found a new favorite book of 2020…
I was approved for an ARC of The Switch by Beth O’Leary on Netgalley a few weeks ago, and I sort of requested it on a whim. Netgalley has just recently added audiobooks to its website, and I wanted to know how it would work. I saw that this one was available, so I got it.
I am so glad that I did.
Beth O’Leary is the author of The Flatshare, which you may have heard of. EVERYONE was gushing about it last year, though I still haven’t read it. Now, I definitely will.
Anyway, let’s talk about The Switch!
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?
The first word that pops into my head when I think of this book is “fun.” It was just such an enjoyable experience. I loved the way this story was told: alternating points of view from our 20-something, work-obsessed main character Leena, and her newly divorced grandmother, Eileen, who is looking for some fun.
First off, Eileen was an amazing character. She was such a BADASS. After getting out of her long time marriage that she realized she was really unhappy in, she decides to give online dating a try with the help of her Leena and her friends. She was also super funny, and I was entertained by all of her chapters. It was interesting to read from the perspective of someone so much older than me, but definitely in a good way.
Leena, on the other hand, is someone who likes to occupy herself with work and doesn’t know how to slow down. Going away from the city and into the countryside allowed her a chance to reconnect with her mother and properly grieve the death of her sister. She had some ups and downs along the way (some of which made me a little frustrated), but I could understand where she was coming from. She felt really real to me, which is the most important aspect of characters to me in any novel.
The plot was also really joyous. There is a grumpy old neighbor, a funny neighborhood ‘watch’ group, a dog who I fell in love with, and more. The cast of characters were all really great, and the story was so light-hearted.
I know I keep saying that this book was really joyous, but there were certainly many heavier topics discussed in it as well (TW for death of a family member, grief, depression, and more). What I really liked about this book was that it had depth to it without being heavy. The story wasn’t about the sad parts, but more so about the characters getting passed these things.
This book definitely got me out of my slump, as it was a really fast-paced story. The audiobook narration was also so wonderful. I highly recommend picking this book up if you are looking for something happy and hopeful.
Have you read this book? Or have you read The Flatshare? Let me know in the comments!