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The Switch Eileen Is Sick Of Being Leena S Tired Of Life In Her TwentiesMaybe It S Time They Swapped PlacesWhen 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 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 GentlemenOnce Leena Learns Of Eileen S Romantic Predicament, She Proposes A Solution A Two Month Swap Eileen Can Live In London And Look For Love Meanwhile Leena Will Look After Everything In Rural Yorkshire But With Gossiping Neighbours And Difficult Family Dynamics To Navigate Up North, And Trendy London Flatmates And Online Dating To Contend With In The City, Stepping Into One Another S Shoes Proves Difficult Than Either Of Them ExpectedLeena Learns That A Long Distance Relationship Isn T As Romantic As She Hoped It Would Be, And Then There Is The Annoyingly Perfect And Distractingly Handsome School Teacher, Who Keeps Showing Up To Outdo Her Efforts To Impress The Local Villagers Back In London, Eileen Is A Huge Hit With Her New Neighbours, But Is Her Perfect Match Nearer Home Than She First Thought After reading Beth O Leary s first book, The Flat Share, which was funny, feel good, fresh and totally surprising I was massively looking forward to her second book, The Switch.However, The Switch didn t really hit the mark for me The story of a Grandmother and Grandaughter switching lives albeit partially , swapping houses and towns was just a bit too ridiculous to believe I couldn t warm to the main characters and the supporting cast were really clones of those endured in the scores of 70s and 80s British Sit Coms I ve seen over the years The funny bits weren t funny and the sad bits weren t sad Everything was all a bit too predictable and pedestrian Which is a shame, as O Leary s first book gave me some genuine laugh out loud moments I won t give up on this author, due to the quality of her first book This book, I won t remember with any great degree of fondness 2 starsThanks to Netgalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for a review. Beth O Leary proves that her brilliant debut The Flatshire was no fluke with this smashing follow up, the perfect reading material for our anxious and self isolated times 79 year old Eileen Cotton s husband, Wade has recently left her for a dance instructor, and for the tree climbing Eileen, she is far from addled, she is searching for sex, love and another man Living in the Yorkshire Dales and the tiny village of Hamleigh in Harksdale, there are slim pickings, as Eileen reflects on how she had planned on going to London before pregnancy and marriage Living in a warehouse flat in Shoreditch, London, over achieving Leena has a panic attack during a presentation to a client, forced into a two month sabbatical by her boss, she visits her grandmother, Eileen, in Yorkshire Upon learning of her grandmother s dilemma, she suggests they swap lives and switch homes.The Cotton women are still heavily in the throes of an unbearable loss and grief, one that has resulted in an estrangement with Leena still raging against her mother Both Eileen and Leena are indomitable organisers, with Leena pitching in with local gossiping Neighbourhood Watch Committee, their activities and May Day celebrations After an initially disheartening experience in London, Eileen is aided by Leena s friend Bee in compiling a profile for dating apps, and before long she is juggling men like there is no tomorrow An inveterate meddler in the lives of others, Eileen is a hit with well nigh everyone, particularly Leena s flatmates like Fitz, becoming a veritable whirlwind as she plans and sets up the Silver Shoreditch Social Club after discovering the elderly isolated Letitia Whilst there are the odd flies in the ointment for both women, such as a scamming attempt, both women have a whale of a time O Leary has a remarkable talent in writing with wit, charm and humour whilst creating the kind of characters you cannot help but adore The real star of this novel is undoubtedly the unforgettable and strong Eileen, willing to do the right thing by protecting her granddaughter even whilst knowing that will once again bring heartbreak to her Life will never be the same again for either woman, the new adventures, love and challenges in their lives offer them the opportunity to process and come to terms with their grief whilst allowing them opportunities to evolve their identities to be who they are now It is worth mentioning whilst so many of us are pushed into enforced isolation at the moment for who knows how long, many of the elderly have loneliness imposed on them at all times by families and communities Which explains why I found Eileen s recognition of this and her efforts to establish the Silver Shoreditch Social Club so wonderfully amazing Highly recommended Many thanks to Quercus for an ARC. Last year Jan 2019 I had the good fortune of reading Beth O Leary s debut novel, The Flatshare, as an ARC from NetGalley and it was a book that really gave me great hope in her abilities as a writer because she managed to find a fresh and unique spin on the romantic dramedy genre of fictionAnd with this new novel The Switch she has once again shown that she is a brilliant storyteller in this area I loved this book Utterly loved it It gave me all the feels I could ever have hoped for and I genuinely squeaked with joy when I closed my kindle on the last page It s rare that a writer comes along that knows how to marry memorable characters with a warm, inviting storyline and that also knows how to sprinkle it with the right touch of both bittersweet emotion and romance But that s exactly what I got from The Switch.I completely lost myself in this book I giggled like a little schoolgirl, I brushed away delicate tears I just loved it Utter feel good central The premise follows a grandmother, Eileen Cotton and her granddaughter Leena who agree to swap lives for a number of months Seventy something year old Eileen needs to jazz up her life and find a new love after splitting from her difficult husband Wade So she comes to London and moves into her granddaughter Leena s flat complete with her flatmates Fitz and heavily pregnant Martha Leena s best friend Bee also becomes besties with Eileen and together with this cast of characters Eileen gets involved in the world of online dating, but importantly, she brings the sense of community she had in her Yorkshire village to London and makes it her mission to bring together isolated older Londoners to form a little club of sorts This might sound a little like something you ve read before but honestly it s the characters that make this book In Eileen Cotton O Leary has created a most lively and charming character She has this wonderful sparkle and joie de vivre that practically bounces off the page and I was 100% invested in her storyline Definitely going to feature in my list of favourite fictional characters of 2020 for sure So while Eileen is off living in London her granddaughter Leena moves into her home in her small village in the Yorkshire Dales Leena is on an enforced sabbatical from her job and to help take her mind off this, her grandmother has left a long list of errands and activities that she needs to take part in Including walking local hottie Jackson s exuberant dog Hank, getting involved in the neighbourhood watch with the most wonderful array of eccentric pensioners including my fav Basil and Eileen s best friend Betsy, and helping to organise the annual village May Day celebrations But my fav interactions on Leena s side of the story were her getting to know grumpy Arthur next doorgosh I loved that crotchety old timer But the real emotional centre point of the story comes from the absence that Leena feels in her life due to the death of her sister Carla from cancer prior to the novel s start point The grief and anger that stems from this loss is what has driven Leena to burning the candle at both ends at work and has also put an enormous wedge into the relationship she has with her mother Marian who also lives in this Yorkshire village This in turn has deeply affected Eileen who hates to see her daughter and granddaughter not getting along Once or twice this part of the story bordered on a little too much melodrama but it also served to ground the novel and was the real measure of how far Leena had become a different person since her sister s illness and death And it was through this storyline that Leena experienced growth of character and ultimately gave this novel an incredibly satisfying endpoint.There were a lot of other plot lines running through the novel that made the whole storyline of these two women very entertaining, and kept me turning those pages as quickly as I could These other plot lines also imbued the book with a real sense of community as so many of the side characters were involved in these minor storylines I thoroughly enjoyed this read and am rating it four and a half stars rounded up to five After this I really can t wait to read Beth O Leary s next novel She has 100% just become an auto buy author for me An e copy of this book was kindly provided to me by the publisher, Quercus, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest reviewFor reviews and book related chat check out my blog I thought this was going to be like a Freaky Friday movie body switch And then I reread the blurb and realised it s a place swap not a body swap face palms That s what I get for skimming through blurbs My review of

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