After thoroughly enjoying ‘The Flatshare’ last year, I was excited to listen to another of Beth O’Leary’s novels – and what a lovely listen this was!
‘The Switch’ is about a grandmother and granddaughter who decide to switch lifestyles for two months. This sounds like a somewhat unlikely premise, but like in her previous novel, O’Leary makes it all sound rather plausable. Eileen is 79, and Leena is in her twenties, and the two characters are both appealing and warm. I felt that the choice of readers for this audiobook version was excellent – Eileen is voiced by Alison Steadman, and Leena by Daisy Edgar-Jones. Eileen reminded me very much of my own grandmother, and I liked that she had plenty of life and mischief in her, unlike the depiction of elderly ladies in some other modern novels.
In terms of plot, you have a very modern, over-worked Leena and her love life, and the equally-busy Eileen and her relationships. It was nice to see the similarities between their lives and the issues that they face. Yes, the conclusion, for both characters is rather predictable, but it’s nice to see how they get there, and this book was overall like a nice warm hug.
In terms of setting, I liked the depiction of Eileen’s Yorkshire village, although I didn’t feel that Leena’s London was depicted particularly strongly (it could have been any town or city really), and it would have maybe been nice to get more of a sense of what Shoreditch. I’m not sure that the is was really a negative point, but worth noting if you’re looking for a book about London.
I’m looking forward to see what Beth O’Leary writes next – I’ll certainly be reading it!
‘The Switch’ is out now, with the audiobook available to buy from 18th August 2020. Thank you to NetGalley UK for an ARC in exchange for my honest review.