Published by Macmillan Audio on August 18, 2020
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Women's Fiction, Chick Lit, Romance
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FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley. All opinions are my own.
Beth O’Leary’s The Switch is a charming and heartwarming story that follows Leena, a young woman who lives and works in London. When Leena suffers a panic attack at work one day and almost costs her company a huge client, it becomes apparent that she needs a break from her life. When she confides to her grandmother Eileen about what happened, Eileen confesses that she’s not overly happy with her own life at the moment either. She’s looking for love, but unfortunately, pickings are slim in rural Yorkshire. On a whim, Eileen and Leena decide to swap places for a couple of months, the idea being that Leena can relax and revitalize in a charming, slower paced rural setting, while Eileen can kick up her heels and enjoy life in the big city, where there are of course many more opportunities to meet Mr. Right.
I enjoyed The Switch so much! Both Leena and Eileen are such likeable characters and it was fun to watch them both settle into their new environments. I thought it was so cute watching Eileen hang out with Leena’s young friends, who helped her set up social media dating profiles, and made sure her time in London was everything she hoped it would be. I also loved watching Leena interact with her grandmother’s, mostly elderly, neighbors. Everything about this aspect of the book was just so entertaining and I loved all the quirky characters both in London and in Yorkshire.
It wasn’t all fun and games though. The Switch also deals with some serious and emotional topics as well, such as grief, infidelity, and the hazards of online dating. There’s an especially moving secondary plot that focuses on the death of Leena’s sister Carla and how the loss of Carla has impacted Leena and Eileen, and especially Leena’s mother, who is really struggling with her grief.
There’s also a little romance. It’s somewhat secondary to the emotional journeys of both Eileen and Leena, but for those who love a little romance in their women’s fiction, it’s definitely there and will put a smile on your face.
I listened to the audiobook version of The Switch and thought the narration was wonderful. Leena’s chapters are narrated by Daisy Edgar-Jones, while Eileen’s are narrated by Allison Steadman. I thought both voices were perfectly suited to the characters they were narrating and that they both really brought these characters to life beautifully. I also liked that I was able to comfortably listen to the audio at my usual 1.25x speed.
The Switch is a delightful story about love, family, and community. If you enjoyed Beth O’Leary’s last novel, The Flatshare, I think you’ll love this one too.