I am so excited to be bringing you a book review for one of my most anticipated reads of the year. I was losing my mind, wanting to get my hands on this book so badly after how much I loved The Flatshare. Then I was asked to be on the blog tour, and I said heck yes! I am so pleased to be sharing my wonderful thoughts on this book with you all!
About the Book:A grandmother and granddaughter swap lives in this charming, romantic novel by Beth O’Leary, hailed as “the new Jojo Moyes” (Cosmopolitan UK)
Eileen Cotton’s husband of sixty years left her four months ago, and good riddance. After all these decades of sleepy village life, Eileen is ready for an adventure. She’d like a chance at real love, too – and she wonders if maybe the right man is up the road in the big city…
Eileen’s granddaughter (and namesake) Leena lives in bustling London, where she is overworked, overscheduled, and overcaffeinated. When Leena collapses and her office sends her on a mandatory vacation, she wants to escape to her grandmother’s inviting, picture-postcard little village.
So they decide to switch lives.
Eileen will take Leena’s flat, Leena’s laptop, and Leena’s glitzy twenty-something London lifestyle. She’ll learn all about dating apps and swiping right, the best coffee shops, and paper-thin apartment walls. Leena can have Eileen’s sweet cottage, her idyllic Yorkshire village, her little projects to help her neighbors, and her nice, quiet life. But neither finds that her new life is exactly what she’d imagined.
Will swapping lives help Eileen and Leena become more truly themselves, and can they find true love in the process?
Here is my review:
I cannot believe how much I loved this book! I knew The Flatshare was amazing, and I could not get enough of it when I read it. I think The Switch may be even better to me. I just was so happy when I was reading it, and the story is so rich. Beth O’Leary just has a way with words and setting to create a beautiful atmosphere readers can enjoy.
I know this may sound crazy, but I loved this book so much, It is sooooo good. Like I loved The Flatshare, but I think this book is even better. And all fans of O’Leary should read this immediately. Actually, everyone should read this book because it is just so damn awesome.
This book starts out with Leena being put on a two month holiday after a panic attack while she was working. She sees this as punishment, and she is not sure she will survive. Work is her life, but she doesn’t really have a choice. After speaking on the phone with her grandma, Eileen, they decide she will visit. When Leena has arrived, her grandmother has made a list of men she could date since her husband has been gone. Leena thinks this list is a bit silly, but she also helps set up her grandma with online dating. After more conversations about life, they decide they are going to switch lives for a few months. Leena will stay in Yorkshire and run the neighborhood watch for her grandma, and Eileen will go try the dating scene in London.
Both of them feel like they have full lives yet there is something missing. Leena is all about her career and her life in London. She has a great boyfriend and her life is great. But she is still not dealing with the death of her sister. Eileen loves her small town, but she wants companionship. They both just need more, but they aren’t quite sure where to find it.
I loved seeing Leena and Eileen go through their journeys. It was such a fun read to see them grow, change, find love, and just learn to be happy finally. I was hooked as soon as I started reading, unable to stop. This is just so well written. The main character shine and so do the secondary, each one a personality aiding the story and making me care about them.
This book also evokes various emotions. I was laughing at times, but it was also very sad. It was heart wrenching to hear about Leena lose her sister and not really dealing with the grief. Cancer can be terrible, and I know how much the loss can hurt. I lost my own mom to cancer when I was sixteen so I could relate to how much it can change you, but I just loved it. O’Leary just writes in this way which makes you feel so many things, but in the best way possible.
The writing is so friendly and welcoming. As I am an American, I cannot say if the descriptions of the places are right. But I did want to visits them. I would love to live in London or even in the village in Yorkshire. Either sounds lovely to me as I have lived in America all of my life and nowhere here sounds as great as the village in this book. But I think I would also miss the city so I would want to be in both places if I could.
There are some tough topics covered in this book as well, and I would advise people to be aware of this when they read the book. O’Leary also covered tough topics in her first book, but she does it so well. This book deals with grief, death, depression, mental health issues, loss, loneliness, and domestic abuse. But the way it is written is well done, but I think it something people should be aware of in case these bother them.
The dual narrators are well done, and I loved them both. Eileen made me smile the whole time, and I was happy when Leena was learning to chill out more. As someone who has been close with my grandma my whole life, this story was extra special for me.
This is probably one of my favorite books of the year, and I can’t wait for a new Beth O’Leary book next year.
Thank you so much to NetGalley and Flat Iron Books for the advanced reader copy. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
About the Author:Beth O’Leary worked in children’s publishing before becoming a full-time author. She is also the author of The Flatshare. She can be found on Instagram @BethOLearyAuthor and Twitter @OLearyBeth.