I loved Beth O’Leary‘s first book The Flatshare so I was super excited to get my hands on her second book The Switch. It tells the story of granddaughter and grandmother duo Leena and Eileen Cotton. Leena works in a stressful job in London and blows a client presentation after having a panic attack. This leads to her boss making her take a two month break from work. Eileen is about to turn eighty and lives in a small Yorkshire village that has little in the way of eligible men. She wants to try dating again after her husband of many years leaves her.
So, Leena and Eileen decide to swap houses, phones, and lives for two months. Leena will take over her grandmother’s community duties which includes being a member of the neighbourhood watch and helping to organise May Day celebrations. As well as check in on her mother who is not coping well following the death of Leena’s sister. While Eileen gets to live with Leena’s flatmates in London and dip her toe into online dating. But both find that their life swap has many challenges.
The Switch was a little difficult to get into at first. But then the story unfolded, the characters developed, and I was sucked in and charmed by this book. It tackles themes such as dealing with grief, finding a new lease on life, family, friendships, love, and communicating with the older generation. I found myself smiling a lot whilst reading this book and also shedding a tear.
The Switch isn’t as romantic as The Flatshare, although there is an unexpected love interest for both women. But it deals with love of a different kind – the love between family members. I loved the Yorkshire setting and I had to google a couple of Yorkshire slang words I didn’t know. Although the swapping lives and houses thing is something you would only see in a rom com, it didn’t detract from this being a delightfully, entertaining read.
I will definitely read whatever Beth O’Leary writes next.
Verdict: A heartwarming read sure to melt the hardest of hearts.