Leena is too young to feel stuck.
Eileen is too old to start over.
Maybe it’s time for The Switch…
Ordered to take a two-month sabbatical after blowing a big presentation at work, Leena escapes to her grandmother Eileen’s house for some overdue rest. Newly single and about to turn eighty, Eileen would like a second chance at love. But her tiny Yorkshire village doesn’t offer many eligible gentlemen… So Leena proposes a solution: a two-month swap. Eileen can live in London and look for love, and L Leena will look after everything in rural Yorkshire.
But with a rabble of unruly OAPs to contend with, as well as the annoyingly perfect – and distractingly handsome – local schoolteacher, Leena learns that switching lives isn’t straightforward. Back in London, Eileen is a huge hit with her new neighbours, and with the online dating scene. But is her perfect match nearer to home than she first thought?
Last year I took a risk on Beth O’Leary as a debut author and pre-ordered a hardback copy of The Flatshare to take on my holiday, and it was a complete joy to read…..definitely worth the loss of my sandals from my suitcase in order to avoid the excess baggage charge!
And so, nestled deep into lockdown and a 2020 holiday a distant and unlikely hope, I once again clicked to pre-order her latest offering.
It’s a testament to just how much I enjoyed The Flatshare, that my TBR schedule was adjusted so I could read this as soon as I could, and oh my word, did I love it!
The author has a vibrancy about her writing style that gives her characters such energy and Eileen Cotton is a sensation. When her granddaughter Leena is put on a mandatory two month sabbatical, Eileen suggests a life swap, which sees Leena living her Grandmother’s life in her quiet Yorkshire village, and Eileen living a rather more cosmopolitan existence in London. It’s a brilliant concept, and a timely celebration of the older generation, who have far more to offer than knitted cardigans and afternoon naps, with their wealth of wisdom and quirky personalities.
I love that these novels are so much more than froth. The Flatshare, when you scratched the surface actually dealt with some pretty dark themes. And whilst this novel is far less dark, it does tackle problematic themes such as the cliched perceptions of age within society. The Switch breaks downs generational walls, characters of all ages mingle and mix and those aged cliches are smashed.
I absolutely tore through this and I really cannot think of anything negative to say. My husband was woken late at night by my giggling and has been treated to chunks of the novel being read to him, just because I found it so brilliant I had to share it. It’s been the perfect antidote to the anxiety of lock down and I actually think that The Switch has taken everything that I loved about The Flatshare – humour, charm and warmth – and levelled up. It is bursting with zest and was just a pure delight to read. I cannot recommend higher than suggesting that you pop on over to your retailer of choice and order…..right now!
In the meantime, I will be once again be hotly anticipating (and most likely pre-ordering once more) Beth O’Leary’s next novel!