Book Review

The Switch by Beth O’Leary

The Switch
Author: Beth O’Leary
Publisher: Quercus
Genre: Fiction, Woman’s Fiction, Romance
Release Date: April 16th 2020
Pages: 336

Beth O’Leary has done it again! Once I finished The Flat Share I just had to go out and buy The Switch. I loved it just as much, but I found myself comparing the two. In the end, I really enjoyed The Switch, but The Flat Share felt more relatable to me and easier to follow the story.
Read my review for The Flat Share here.


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 within the city, stepping into one another’s shoes prove 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?

Why I love this book

“Grandma… what if we swapped? What if I came up and looked after all your projects and you had my flat in Shoreditch and I stayed here?”

There are so many reasons why I love this book. I love the dual point of view, the two main characters, Leena and Eileen, the supporting characters storylines and the issues that are tackled throughout the book. It wasn’t all romance, and in return, we get to see the different character relationships build and develop over the course of the book.

The Story

“I think you should know,’ he says. ‘I like you. Like I shouldn’t. That sort of like.”

After a severe panic attack at work, workaholic Leena is forced into two months leave to relax and unwind. Her grandmother is on the hunt for love, sex and a good time with another man after her ex-husband, Wade left her for a dance instructor. But living in a small village of the Yorkshire Dales, there isn’t much choice. At a loss, Leena visits her grandmother in little Hamleigh and learns of her predicament, quickly suggesting they should switch homes and lives.

They both take up new projects to keep themselves busy and settle into each other lives quicker. With Eileen joining internet dating and setting up a club for the elders of London, she hasn’t got time to think about what’s happening in Hamleigh. Not that she needs to. Leena has been left with a list of errands including a Neighbourhood Watch group to sway and May Day to plan, which is a lot harder than she originally thought.

For those of you who prefer when romance outweighs the finding yourself storyline, then I would definitely recommend The Flat Share over this one. Don’t get me wrong, the love story that transpires in The Switch is just as cute as it is frustrating, just like any romance book.

The Characters

These people. There’s such a fierceness to them, such a lovingness. When I got here, I thought their lives were small and silly, but I was wrong. They’re some of the biggest people I know.

Leena and Eileen Cotten live completely different lives. Eileen is 79 years old living in the small quiet village of Hamleigh. And Leena is in her 20s loving life in the city of London. They are both dealing with the Death of Carla, Leena’s sister/Eileen’s granddaughter eventually leading to Leena’s build-up of grief and anger explode into a rage at her mother, Marian. There were times in these explosive episodes where I thought it was a bit overemotional, but it didn’t affect my thoughts overall on the story.

During their switch, they both encounter some of the most amazing people. These characters bring whit and charm all the way to the end of the book. I found myself looking forward to Leena’s interactions with the oldies in the Neighbourhood Watch meetings, as well as, Eileen unveiling all her wisdom on her newly acquired flatmates!

I’ve never read anything from the point of view of the older generation, but I really enjoyed it. It was so nice to read from two different perspectives who’s ages are so far apart. It works really well. However, in certain chapters when the characters were together, I would get a bit confused at who was narrating at the time. O’Leary could have done this purposefully to convey how similar Eileen and Leena are, as this is a running joke throughout the story between the characters.

Overall Thoughts

“and remind myself for the hundredth time how important it is to support other women in business. I really, fully believe that. It’s a code I live by, and it’s how I plan to make it to the top.”

My first thoughts after finishing this book were that I didn’t quite enjoy it as much as The Flat Share. HOWEVER! As I was writing this review, my love for the story and the characters grew. Eileen was definitely the star of the show for me, I would read it all over again just for her character. This is a lovable, entertaining story that is going to leave you wanting more.

Rating: 4.5/5

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Buy the book here ^^
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Manchester blogger with a passion for reading, writing and travelling. I always have a book or a cup of tea in my hand.


24 August 2020 at 1:31 pm

This is such a fun premise! I’m glad to hear you enjoyed it. I still need to read The Flatshare!


28 August 2020 at 4:40 pm

I’ve been hesitant to read this because it’s women’s fiction, but the characters sound so lovely! I’m going to bump it up my TBR just because it’s a Beth book, but I’m crossing my fingers that her next book is more romance. Great review!

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