The Switch by Beth O’Leary

The Switch by Beth O’Leary

 

Publisher: Quercus 41xy7rgxuwl._sx330_bo1204203200_

Publishing Date: 16th April 2020

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 400

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Hardcover

| Paperback (out on 21.01.2021)

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Eileen is sick of being 79. Leena’s tired of life in her twenties. Maybe it’s time they swapped places…

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 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.

Once 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 more difficult than either of them expected.

Leena 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?

Rating: five-stars

 

79 year old Eileen Cotton suddenly finds herself alone, as her husband Wade leaves her for another woman. She’s not grieving, oh no, she’s in need to jazz up her life and maybe find a new love, but – sadly – in her tiny village Hamleigh – in – Harksdale, there are slim pickings. Meanwhile, her workaholic grand – daughter Leena Cotton experiences a panic attack during a huge presentation for her company, so they order her to take two months leave. Not knowing what to do with her free time, she decides to visit her grandmother. After learning her grandmother’s dilemma, Leena suggest for them to swap places for eight weeks – she will move into her grandmother’s house, taking on all her chores, projects and responsibilities, while Eileen moves into Leena’s flat, together with her flatmates Fitz and Martha, and try to get her love life under control in London, the city of nearly nine million. Perfect plan, right? Or not?

Beth O’Leary has created living and breathing characters that I couldn’t help but immediately fell for. They feel so real and close to life, they’re witty and charming but they also make mistakes and jump to conclusions. And really, standing ovation to the author for creating Eileen, finally an older character who is wise and who has experienced so much in her life but IS NOT patronising, is not meh, is not all sugar – instead is full of humour, wisdom, is strong and quirky. I adored her.
The characters grow so much in this story, and not only our main ones but also the background bunch. They were all interesting and unforgettable, and their stories relatable and affecting, and you will quickly find yourself involved in their lives.

The author wasn’t shy of complicating the characters’ lives, making them difficult. Both of the Cotton women, as well as Leena’s mother and Eileen’s daughter, are in the throes of loss and grief and they don’t know how to process it, especially Leena, who estranged herself from her mother, inculpating her of everything what has happened. But she also gives them a breath of fresh air, new possibilities and chances, and also challenges that will give them the opportunity to come to terms with their grief. I really enjoyed the way the author tackled this particular part of the plot, showing how grief can affect even the most close knit family units and your mental health.

The storyline was simple, and yes, it does sound like something that you’ve seen/read before but it is one of the strengths of this book, and well, would you believe that something like this can happen? Beth O’Leary has written it with confidence, sprinkling the switch with tons of humour and emotions. While Eileen used her organisational skills in London, trying to establish the Silver Shoreditch Social Club and braving the world of internet dating, Leena is left to deal with not only with a long list of errands, projects and activities (like walking the local teacher Jackson’s quirky Labrador puppy, getting involved in the Neighbourhood Watch and organising the May Day celebrations), but also with Eileen’s friends who don’t immediately take to her own ideas, and they include the greatest bunch of eclectic, eccentric and chaotic pensioners who also have their own, sometimes very deep and serious, problems.

There are many subplots running through the novel but you will never lose the plot or feel confused – oh no, they made the novel so much more deeper, entertaining and thought – provoking. Yes, it brilliantly incorporated some more serious issues, and I’m not only thinking about grief and loss but also looking at loneliness, domestic abuse, mental health and cheating, handled with gentleness and sensitivity.

I can’t say that this book was as exceptionally wonderful as the author’s debut novel “The Flatshare” (this is the book I talked about in my B2 German exam, we were supposed to choose a topic and talk about it, and yes, I’ve chosen the one about my favourite book, and well, taking into consideration that I read over 120 books a year truly says something, don’t you think? Yes, I’ve got the best possible note in speaking, they couldn’t stop me talking about “The Flatshare”) but it was very, very close and in my opinion it fully deserves 5 big, fat stars – well, I at least didn’t want to miss a single word and I was absolutely, totally captured. But Beth O’Leary proved with her second novel that she can for sure write – moreover, she can write brilliant, refreshing books, that she has already found her unique, distinctive voice, and what have we all been reading before Beth O’Leary??? With this novel, she has really shown that she has found her place in our favourite genre and I (don’t want to sound ungrateful!) am already looking for her next offering.

“The Switch” is a book about love, family, loss and grief, friendship, stepping outside your own comfort zones and find the courage, and this all brilliantly intertwined with the lovely community spirit, that Beth O’Leary also managed to make special, genuine and honest without losing the feeling of a real tiny village where everybody knows everybody’s business.
It was heart-warming and uplifting and this kind of book when you want to read is as quickly as possible but you also don’t want it to end. I loved it, from the beginning to the end, it’s such a feel – good and uplifting read – highly recommended!

The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary

The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary

 

44017619Publisher: Quercus

Publishing Date: 18th April 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 400

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Romance

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback (out on 05.03.2020)

 

Synopsis:

Tiffy Moore and Leon Twomey each have a problem and need a quick fix.

Tiffy’s been dumped by her cheating boyfriend and urgently needs a new flat. But earning minimum wage at a quirky publishing house means that her choices are limited in London.

Leon, a palliative care nurse, is more concerned with other people’s welfare than his own. Along with working night shifts looking after the terminally ill, his sole focus is on raising money to fight his brother’s unfair imprisonment.

Leon has a flat that he only uses 9 to 5. Tiffy works 9 to 5 and needs a place to sleep. The solution to their problems? To share a bed of course…

As Leon and Tiffy’s unusual arrangement becomes a reality, they start to connect through Post-It notes left for each other around the flat.

Can true love blossom even in the unlikeliest of situations?
Can true love blossom even if you never see one another?
Or does true love blossom when you are least expecting it?

Rating: five-stars

but-i-needmy-girls

 

I really wasn’t sure how it’s possible that “Tiffy and Leon share a bed. Tiffy and Leon have never met” but it turned out that yes, it is possible. They are flatmates – with a twist. Leon needs some money to pay the solicitor, Tiffy needs a flat after her final break – up with Justin. Leon is in the flat only during the day, as he works night shifts at the hospice. Tiffy is in the flat during the evening and night, as she works in publishing as an assistant book editor. So they start to share a one bedroom flat and they never have to meet! That’s it! They start to leave post – it notes for each other about bin days, leftover food etc, but slowly those notes evolve into something deeper and more intimate. They start to have a connection. And then they meet…

You know it, when you had a feeling that you’ve simply clicked with the book, right? Well, I clicked with “The Flatshare”. This was an epic, beautiful, romantic love story that had this “something” that makes a novel absolutely outstanding for you. I started reading “The Flatshare” actually not knowing what to expect but hoping that it’s going to be something particularly beautiful, and I was hooked right from the beginning.

The characters in this book were immediately likeable and believable, and not only the main characters but the group surrounding Tiffy and also Leon’s family who added so much depth and perspective to this story. I loved Tiffy from the word go. She’s quirky, she’s smart and has brilliant one – liners, and simply feels human, especially as she has to overcome her personal obstacles. She’s trying to move on from her recent relationship and slowly comes to realise, how abusive it was, and the word gaslighting comes to mind here. I have kept everything crossed for Tiffy, I wished her all the best in the world and it was a real, real joy to see her growing in confidence in some matters.
And Leon as well. He’s a bit withdrawn, on the quiet side but he has so many valuable qualities. He’s currently campaigning for the appeal of his – presumably – wrongly convicted younger brother who is now in prison. And he’s also trying to track down the long – lost love of one of his patients in hospice. At the beginning I had some problems with the chapters told from Leon’s point of view, they were specifically written, but quickly I got used to his voice and was actually happy that he had this distinctive tone.

The idea with the post – its was ingenious. For the first few months of living together Tiffy and Leon communicate via notes left around the flat. They start with the dates of the bin days and leftover food but over time they start to pick up on each other’s moods through the little cues they leave around the flat: the half – drunk cups of tea or coffee, the unwashed dish, and slowly the correspondence gathers depth and intimacy. I loved how they open up to each other in their post – it notes, how honest they are and how attentive they are, paying attention to the smallest details.

The pacing was perfect, all the time there was something happening. The build up for the characters to meet was brilliant. It took its time but it was so necessary in my opinion, and it was so enthralling, this waiting for them to actually meet in person. I was completely invested in Tiffy and Leon’s lives. Beth O’Leary’s writing style is so, so vivid, chatty and charismatic.
The book was full of so incredibly funny moments, guys, they had me chuckling to myself, and as I am currently struggling a bit with my mental health it isn’t so obvious that something funny will make me smile. Well, this book did it, so already for this it deserves a standing ovation from me. But it is also very emotional – but not too wishy – washy – and it works perfectly well with all those humorous moments, scenes and witty dialogues. And the author handles the heavier issues with a lot of understanding and gentleness.
“The Flatshare” was an uplifting, charming and comforting novel. Actually, it has everything I have expected from it and much more and I can’t believe that it’s the author’s debut. It has a brilliant, likeable and believable characters, wonderful storyline that feels so fresh and unique. I loved it totally and I can’t recommend it to you highly enough!

 

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