23 August, 2020

#BookReview :: The Switch by Beth O'Leary #Contemporary @librofm

Check out the book on Amazon

After the amazing experience I had with Beth O'Leary's debut novel, The Flatshare, I couldn't wait to read The Switch. The blurb didn't really catch my attention as much because the core concept of switching lives is not very new. There have been books and movies about it before. But somehow I felt that I would enjoy it anyway given the way the author colours her stories with amazing characters. So yes, I picked this one up with expectations and I am happy to report that they were all met.

The Switch is the story of a 20 something Leena Cotton; a hardworking overachiever who has carved her own path. But the demise of her sister has affected her more than she is ready to admit and it has also affected her relationship with her mother. After a panic attack during a pitch meeting with a client, Leena is forced to take leave from her workplace. She decides to visit her grandmother, rest up and maybe work on her plans to launch her own business with her best friend. She finds much more than expected once she embraces her life taking up her grandmother's responsibilities and trying to reconnect with her mother.

The Switch is also the story of soon to be 80 Eileen who is newly single. She has lived a loveless life and followed a life path meeting society's expectations. But now as she turns 80 alone, her house feels too big and empty. When Leena lands at her doorstep and suggests a swap of life, so to speak, it takes Eileen a while to warm up to the idea as she is reluctant to leave her daughter and granddaughter behind. But once she lands in Leena's flat in London, she slowly takes on an adventure of her own that involves finding love and much to her surprise a little bit of investigating just like in the Agatha Christie novels she loves.

What I loved the most about this book is the character of Eileen. She may be 80, but she brings in wisdom that you only gain through living life. To top that, her openness to try out new things while still bringing in a little bit of 'her' in all her experiences. She is an inspiring character who leads you to believe that it is never too late to start over or that it is never too late to learn new  things or find love or to 'have an adventure'. It is never too late. You just need to be open to the possibilities. I also liked Leena, who has made her share of mistakes, but when push comes to shove - she is not scared to make changes and follow her dreams. It is probably her lack of experience, as compared to Eileen, that it takes her a bit longer to realise that she too can start over.

There is one thing that is similar in The Flatshare & The Switch - one thing that I absolutely adored in both books. The side characters in the book are people you will love to be introduced to and appreciate their part in the story. Leena has some amazing friends who warm up to Eileen as well. On the other hand Eileen lives in a community that enriches Leena's life. As Leena and Eileen switch up their lives, it is their friends and community that keeps the other going.

The narrators of the audiobook, Alison Steadman and Daisy Edgar-Jones were just perfect for their respective roles. The book was a fun and entertaining read and Beth O'Leary's amazing debut wasn't a one off. She is a talented author who has a way of making you fall in love with her characters.

Audiobook received from Libro.fm