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Book Review: The Switch

They become entangled in each other’s lives with unexpected (and a few expected) results.


Book Review: The Switch

It’s safe to say that I’m a fan of Beth O'Leary. I devoured her second book, The Switch, almost as quickly as I did her first book, The Flatshare. If The Flatshare is the perfect pool-side indulgence then The Switch is the kind of book you curl up with in an armchair while drinking hot chocolate next to a roaring fire.

The story follows Eileen Cotton the elder and younger, who goes by Leena, as they decide to switch lives for two months. The elder Eileen moves into Leena’s London apartment while Leena moves into her grandmother’s rural Yorkshire cottage while on a paid sabbatical. Eileen joins London’s dating scene and discovers the benefits of meddling while trying to “fix” the lives of Leena’s friends and neighbours. Back in rural Yorkshire, Leena takes over the community projects Eileen left behind all while trying to find herself again. Naturally, they become entangled in each other’s lives with unexpected (and a few expected) results.

It might be too soon to tell but O’Leary seems to have mastered the art of writing about big issues in an accessible way. Through charming and heartwarming passages that fill your body with a fuzzy feeling and keeps you turning the page to answer the inevitable will they, won’t they question, she weaves abuse, grief and generational issues into the narrative. You’ll find yourself growing fond of even the town recluse before you’re even half-way through.

While I wasn’t initially excited by her third title, The Roadtrip, having now read The Switch I can’t wait to get stuck in and meet a whole new cast of charismatic characters.