Thursday, September 24, 2020

Audio Book Review: The Switch by Beth O'Leary

Genre: Adult Fiction
Pub. Date: August 8, 2020
Publisher: MacMillan Audio
Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Goodreads says, "A grandmother and granddaughter swap lives in The Switch, a charming, romantic novel by Beth O’Leary, who has been hailed as “the new Jojo Moyes” (Cosmopolitan UK)..   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 long-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.  So they decide to try a two-month swap.  Eileen will live in London and look for love. She’ll take Leena’s flat, and learn all about casual dating, swiping right, and city neighbors. Meanwhile Leena will look after everything in rural Yorkshire: Eileen’s sweet cottage and garden, her idyllic, quiet village, and her little neighborhood projects.   But stepping into one another's shoes proves more difficult than either of them expected. Will swapping lives help Eileen and Leena find themselves…and maybe even find true love? In Beth O'Leary's The Switch, it's never too late to change everything....or to find yourself."
Leena Cotton is in a big meeting at work and while in the middle of the presentation, she suffers a horrendous panic attack, so much so that her employer says she needs to take a sabbatical.  Most employees might think about the benefits of a two month break, but not Leena. That would be too much free time and with so much free time, she might have to confront the issues she hasn't been facing.  When talking to her grandmother, Eileen, about her current situation, they come up with a plan.  Eileen, although she is seventy nine, wants to find love since her husband left her.  How can she do that though in her small town?  So, Leena and Eileen devise a plan where they switch spots for the next two months. Leena will live in her grandmother's idyllic village and her grandmother will live in Leena's flat in London.  This may be the very opportunity that Leena needs to relax, get her act together, and live in a gorgeous country cottage in a picturesque village.  Before they know it, Eileen relocates to the big city and Leena is taking over Eileen's many projects in the village, such as the Neighborhood Watch.  Both characters' new locations give them not only new experiences, but also new perspectives.  Leena must also confront the many issues in her past that she has been so desperately avoiding starting with her fractured relationship with her mother and her sister's untimely death.  The Switch by Beth O'Leary is like a warm hug; it's such a charming novel and perfect to cuddle up with alongside a crackling fire and a cup of tea this fall season.

Leena is such an interesting character in The Switch.  I thought this was going to be mainly about two people switching lives, but it was about so much more. Leena's relationship with her mother isn't great and she isn't dealing with her sister's death, so that is why she is having mental health issues. She isn't facing her problems; she is hiding from them. So, where better to focus on herself than in a quiet village taking over her grandmother's projects. While in the village, she meets a cast of eccentric characters that were reminiscent of my favorite Masterpiece TV shows.  

Leena's grandmother, Eileen, is also a really heartwarming character in The Switch. Instead of giving up on her love life, she wants an opportunity to take back some of the moments she lost being stuck in a lackluster marriage.  Eileen wants some adventure in London and that is exactly what she gets! Although Eileen is almost eighty, she is still a woman with needs, desires, hopes, and struggles; I love how O'Leary makes Eileen more than just the usual older woman depicted in contemporary novels. She talks a lot about sex, dating, and more. And why not?

I adored the relationship between Leena and Eileen in The Switch. Their relationship made me miss my grandmother more than ever.  Regarding the audio version, I really like the narration of Leena's chapters performed by Daisy Edgar-Jones (who some people might recognize from Normal People), but I felt her grandmother, narrated by Alison Steadman, was a bit too loud at times with her lip-smacking and very audible breaths.  However, that did make me visualize her as a someone in upper seventies even more than before.  Nonetheless, The Switch is a heartfelt and moving audio book.  Listening to this audio book was like curling up with my favorite rom-com.



  1. The premise of this sounds so adorable!

    1. Right? It was really heartwarming and cute. I am excited to see it on the big screen! Thanks for visiting, Angela!


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