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The Switch by Beth O’Leary

The Switch is a wonderful premise for starting anew! Wouldn’t we all like to try something totally different for a short time?

In this book the switch is made between Eileen Cotton and her granddaughter, Leena (also Eileen, but called Leena). Leena has made a few glaring mistakes at her job and her boss insists that she needs to take a two-month sabbatical (with pay).

Eileen is a sprightly 79-year-old that booted her husband out and now finds herself lonely for something new. So, the switch is the idea to help them both.

The Switch by Beth O'Leary- the story of two Eileen Cottons, a grandmother and grand-daughter- who decide to switch lives for two months and become totally engrossed in the new situations. Book review on this post.

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When I first saw this book in a suggested book list I recognized the author immediately. I had just finished reading The Flatshare and loved it. So, I suspected I would enjoy this book, too! I did!

The story begins with Leena making a terrible series of mistakes at her job and being sent away for an extended holiday. Leena shares an apartment with two other people- Fitz and Martha- and she has a boyfriend named Ethan and a good friend named Bee. You will learn more about all these characters throughout the story.

Switching to Eileen’s story (the chapters alternate) where she has sent her husband packing after he had a dalliance with their dance class instructor. Eileen is taking a good look at where she is in her life and actually makes a list of possible men she might choose as companions. No one measures up.

Then Leena calls. Now, let’s throw another part of the story in. Leena’s sister, Carla, died of cancer a few years prior and the entire family has struggled to come to peace with this. (If you ever can.) A lot of the behavior of the three main women in this book stems from this tragic death. Marian, Leena’s mother is part of the grief cycle of her daughter and her mother.

The Switch

Anyway, Leena and Eileen decide on the switch. Eileen will travel to London, take Leena’s phone and computer, and stay in her apartment for two months. Leena will live in the tiny countryside town called Hamleigh-in-Harksdale in her grandmother’s house, with her ancient cell phone, and take over her duties with the Neighborhood watch group. This group consists of elderly men and women.

Will this work? Will either woman find comfort in their new places?

How does Marian factor into the switch? Will she find a way to come to terms with her daughter’s death?

Will there be romance for anyone? (Well, this is basically chick-lit…so…)

Really, how does it go? Leena arrives in Hamleigh and begins to really get to know the cast of interesting elderly neighbors and throws herself into organizing an upcoming May Day festival. She finds herself drawn to Jackson, a younger neighbor that helps with the neighborhood committees.

Eileen, meanwhile, in London decides to redecorate the lobby of the apartment building to attract local elderly people who need companionship and a place to spend time together. She also has Leena’s friend, Bee, help her design her profile page for a dating site- from which she begins to get comments and date offers quickly.

This sweet little book was so fun to read. It made me laugh out loud a few times and I genuinely cared what would happen to the three women and their new mindset about making their lives the best. It is a book you will enjoy, too! 5 stars for this one!

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My rating system: 5 stars- perfection, the book was written well, held my attention, and I did not want it to end. 4 stars- the book was really good, but I had questions or concerns about parts of it. This might include the way it ended. 3 stars- the book was okay, but I just didn’t like it much. 2 stars- I skimmed most of it. 1 star- I could not finish it.

The Switch by Beth O'Leary- the story of two Eileen Cottons, a grandmother and grand-daughter- who decide to switch lives for two months and become totally engrossed in the new situations. Book review on this post.