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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?
I absolutely adored The Flatshare when I read it last year, and Beth O’Leary shot to the top of my “to buy next” list so I could explore what else she has to offer. I nabbed this one when I saw it up on Netgalley as an audiobook, and I think I definitely made the right choice.
I had a hard time connecting with either of the characters in The Switch, and I think the main reason for this was because a) Eileen is really old and we had absolutely nothing in common and b) Leena was just a bit dull, really. It’s a shame, because I thought O’Leary wrote some amazing characters in The Flatshare, but I don’t think she pulled the same thing off here.
Don’t get me wrong, it was a unique experience reading about a 79 year old. I don’t read books about older characters that often, and it was something that I wanted to try to explore. I think if I hadn’t been listening to the audiobook, I would have had an even harder time getting into the book than I did, so I’m pleased with my choice here.
That said, I didn’t hate the book, and the narrator made it a fun read that I enjoyed listening to. I just didn’t connect with it the same way I connected with The Flatshare. I’m going to be checking out more from Beth O’Leary in the future, but maybe I need to stick to her more serious stuff!