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The Switch

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Goodreads Choice Award
Nominee for Best Romance (2020)
Leena is too young to feel stuck.
Eileen is too old to start over.
Maybe it’s time for The Switch…

Ordered to take a two-month sabbatical after blowing a big presentation at work, Leena escapes to her grandmother Eileen's house for some overdue rest. Newly single and about to turn eighty, Eileen would like a second chance at love. But her tiny Yorkshire village doesn’t offer many eligible gentlemen… So Leena proposes a solution: a two-month swap. Eileen can live in London and look for love, and Leena will look after everything in rural Yorkshire.

But with a rabble of unruly OAPs to contend with, as well as the annoyingly perfect – and distractingly handsome – local schoolteacher, Leena learns that switching lives isn’t straightforward. Back in London, Eileen is a huge hit with her new neighbours, and with the online dating scene. But is her perfect match nearer to home than she first thought?

328 pages, Hardcover

First published April 16, 2020

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About the author

Beth O'Leary

18 books11.6k followers
Beth studied English at university before going into children’s publishing. She lives as close to the countryside as she can get while still being within reach of London, and wrote her first novel, The Flatshare, on her train journey to and from work.
You’ll usually find her curled up with a book, a cup of tea, and several woolly jumpers (whatever the weather).

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5 stars
31,193 (28%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 14,600 reviews
Profile Image for jessica.
2,535 reviews32.5k followers
April 19, 2020
this is exactly the kind of wholesome, endearing, and sweet content everyone needs in their lives right now.

so it makes me so sad that i didnt love this as much as i wanted to, but its definitely not the books fault. i just wasnt in the mood for such a slow, character driven novel.

the entire story is explained in the synopsis - nothing new is given to the reader, everything that happens is mentioned in the blurb. so there really wasnt anything for me to look forward to in terms of plot because i already knew how the story would play out. thats not always a bad thing, especially if a reader is able to connect to the characters, but i definitely need more from this. i checked out here and there because there wasnt anything happening. i almost felt bored, which is a shame because this has such an adorable message.

i think those who are enjoy unhurried stories, quaint english villages, and likeable characters who want what they deserve will really appreciate this.

3.5 stars
Profile Image for Paromjit.
2,605 reviews24.8k followers
April 4, 2020
Beth O'Leary proves that her brilliant debut The Flatshire was no fluke with this smashing follow up, the perfect reading material for our anxious and self isolated times. 79 year old Eileen Cotton's husband, Wade has recently left her for a dance instructor, and for the tree climbing Eileen, she is far from addled, she is searching for sex, love and another man. Living in the Yorkshire Dales and the tiny village of Hamleigh-in-Harksdale, there are slim pickings, as Eileen reflects on how she had planned on going to London before pregnancy and marriage. Living in a warehouse flat in Shoreditch, London, over achieving Leena has a panic attack during a presentation to a client, forced into a two month sabbatical by her boss, she visits her grandmother, Eileen, in Yorkshire. Upon learning of her grandmother's dilemma, she suggests they swap lives and switch homes.

The Cotton women are still heavily in the throes of an unbearable loss and grief, one that has resulted in an estrangement with Leena still raging against her mother. Both Eileen and Leena are indomitable organisers, with Leena pitching in with local gossiping Neighbourhood Watch Committee, their activities and May Day celebrations. After an initially disheartening experience in London, Eileen is aided by Leena's friend Bee in compiling a profile for dating apps, and before long she is juggling men like there is no tomorrow. An inveterate meddler in the lives of others, Eileen is a hit with well nigh everyone, particularly Leena's flatmates like Fitz, becoming a veritable whirlwind as she plans and sets up the Silver Shoreditch Social Club after discovering the elderly isolated Letitia. Whilst there are the odd flies in the ointment for both women, such as a scamming attempt, both women have a whale of a time.

O'Leary has a remarkable talent in writing with wit, charm and humour whilst creating the kind of characters you cannot help but adore. The real star of this novel is undoubtedly the unforgettable and strong Eileen, willing to do the right thing by protecting her granddaughter even whilst knowing that will once again bring heartbreak to her. Life will never be the same again for either woman, the new adventures, love and challenges in their lives offer them the opportunity to process and come to terms with their grief whilst allowing them opportunities to evolve their identities to be who they are now. It is worth mentioning whilst so many of us are pushed into enforced isolation at the moment for who knows how long, many of the elderly have loneliness imposed on them at all times by families and communities. Which explains why I found Eileen's recognition of this and her efforts to establish the Silver Shoreditch Social Club so wonderfully amazing. Highly recommended! Many thanks to Quercus for an ARC.
Profile Image for ✨ A ✨ .
427 reviews1,719 followers
December 12, 2020
I absolutely loved the authors debut The Flatshare. I remember gobbling that book up in a day. While The Switch had the same easy and effortless-to-read writing — I never felt the same enthusiasm while reading this. Maybe it was just me though.

What came as a nice surprise was how much I preferred the older characters in this book to the younger ones! I found them hilarious and charming. Eileen especially was a favourite. She was just such a joy of a character!!

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 on the other hand was not really to my liking. It's nothing against her, I just felt I couldn't connect to her character and she felt very one dimensional.

In all, this book was delightful but not the shining star that I was expecting. Make no mistake, I'll definitely be reading more of O'leary's future books.

Buddy reading with Ameerah and May 🌸

I thought this was going to be like a Freaky Friday movie body switch. And then I reread the blurb and realised it's a place swap not a body swap *face palms*
That's what I get for skimming through blurbs.
My review of The Flatshare
Profile Image for emma.
1,825 reviews48.5k followers
January 14, 2023
From this day forward, I should only read about elderly people.

Yes, I am only 22 at the time of this writing, and no, I do not enjoy the real-life opinions or habits of our society’s most aged individuals, but I am tired of the antics of young people.

This book, for example, follows a grandma/grandkid duo who swap lives, and I ran out of energy for the younger half of the cast on approximately page 7. Which is unfortunate, because Leena (the aforementioned grandkid, who is actually a grown woman in her 20s) being extremely stupid and trusting all the wrong people and then realizing 15 pages before the end that this is billed as a romance novel and she wasn’t in love and would therefore have to mash her face into what seemed to me to be a random man...anyway, all that nonsense took up way more than half of our page time.

Tough for me, because this would have been at least 4 stars if it was even mostly about Eileen, a badass octogenarian finding herself and having casual sex in the big city. Alas, I am doomed to a life of suffering.

Plus there’s only about a 9% chance I would have picked this up if that were the synopsis, so. Upsides and downsides.

In conclusion, I loved Eileen but Leena’s character arc was the bane of my existence and I would like to find one of those rubber-sticky-hand toys from my childhood (that were extremely fun for all of 15 minutes before they lost their stickiness and got dusty and gross) and hit her with it.

Like. SPOILERS, but. Unsubscribe.

And that’s not even the only annoying thing about this!!!

I mean, I sometimes don’t think books have room for both a romance plotline and a finding-yourself plotline, so no shock that jamming two of each into 400 pages wasn’t the most stellar reading experience of my life, but still.

I also get frustrated when the lead characters are Two Perfect Angels who have Had Their Hearts Broken But Never Did Anything Wrong, Ever, In Their Lives. Let’s get some screwups going, people!!! If I wanted to read about saints I would pick up religious texts, not newly released British romcoms!!!

Bottom line: Only old people deserve rights.


didn't think i'd ever prefer the second-chance romance of an elderly woman to the christmas movie style high-powered consultant who moves to a little village, but it turns out anything's possible.

review to come / 2.5 stars


so maybe i only read british rom coms now...and what about it???


i found out about this book 5 minutes ago and approx 4 minutes and 58 seconds ago it became the only thing i care about
Profile Image for Warda.
1,153 reviews18.4k followers
February 9, 2021
A book is a 5-star read if you end up hugging it by the end, right?

This made my heart feel utterly warm! It made me laugh and I was completely charmed by the characters, especially Eileen. She’s who I want to be if I ever get to the age of 79. Heck, she’s who I want to be right now! The elderly folks really have no shame or filter. And they use those traits with wisdom too. And wit.

Beth O’Leary continues to write a world I don’t want to leave. This story had the perfect balance of heartfelt and emotional moments, whilst making you laugh out loud. Plus, I was convinced these people were a part of my life. I didn’t, and still don’t, want to let go.

The main premise of the story is that Eileen and Leena swap lives after Leena has a breakdown at work and you only have a breakdown once life catches up to you.
Through this, they live a different life to the one that they’re used to, which ultimately leads them to the life they do want to live.

If there are two words that sum up the essence of ‘The Switch’ for me is that it’s healing and about community. Beth O’Leary perfectly captured all of those aspects in every sense of the word and more.
The whole thing was just clever. I loved that it felt so goddamn British - there was so much tea drinking present! - and charming. Everything about it felt real. Every time I picked up to read this book, I was there, in a trance, but there.


Now, I’m off to make myself some Yorkshire Tea and mope around for a bit. I don’t think I’ll ever forget these characters. I can’t wait to revisit them.
Profile Image for MarilynW.
1,114 reviews2,808 followers
March 12, 2022
The Switch by Beth O'Leary, narrated by Daisy Edgar-Jones and Alison Steadman, is my second audio book by Macmillan Audio via NetGalley Shelf. My first book was glitchy so I wanted to give this method another try and this time the book worked perfectly. What a joyful treat this one was, very cute and heartwarming, which are things I normally don't get to say because of the type of books that I usually choose. 

Grandmother Eileen switches locations for two months, with her granddaughter, Leena. Leena experienced a panic attack during a very important presentation at work and was forced to take a two month leave of absence. Seventynine year old Eileen is finally ready to jump into dating since her husband left her for a much younger woman.. The thing is, the dating pool in the small community where Eileen resides is much too small for there to be a chance to find anyone to date and Leena needs to get away from the hustle and bustle of her city life or she'll never be able to unwind enough to recover from her anxiety. So they swap homes and start doing their magic in their new locations. The synopsis makes it sound like this swap was hard for both women but I didn't see it that way at all. I feel like it revived them despite the difficulties (or because of them) of learning new things in each life. Both women brought people together and helped people change. But, both women are also still mourning the death of Carla, Leena's sister, and being back in her grandmother's little town, where Carla died, makes Leena face the grief that she had been stuffing down with work and busy-ness. 

This book is full of the people from both women's lives and the author and narrators brought them all to life. I need to read/listen to more books like this one because it certainly put a smile on my face. I also know that I'm beginning to get attached to audio books because of this experience. 

Publication date: August 18th 2020

Thank you to Macmillan Audio and NetGalley for this ARC.

Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,202 reviews40.7k followers
October 12, 2020
This is delightful, heartwarming, poignant, beautiful novel with different likable narrators/heroines: grandma and granddaughter.

I have to admit: I wasn’t a great fan of Flatshare. It was good written story, both in my opinion the characters and the progression of their romantic involvement failed me during my reading. So I have second thoughts when I decided to try another novel of the same author but surprisingly this book worked so much better for me because its genre is a women’s fiction and family story with romantic vibes. So romance parts of the book are a little overshadowed by two women’s self-discovery and new beginnings, making peace with their past theme.

It has promising premise with the idea similar to Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet’s “Holiday” movie: But this time: the women are related and they don’t switch places between the houses at the different continents. And I have to admit: this book’s characters are more realistically portrayed than the movie’s soap opera style predictable rom-com story-line.

Let’s meet with two protagonists: 79 years old, smart, sarcastic, vivid grandmother (reminded me of mash up Golden Girls’ Blanche and Sophia) Eileen, feeling alone, abandoned when her dear partner cheated on her and ran away with a dance instructor, wanting to get drown in the dating pool but there are not much great candidates she may choose and she is too old to kiss rotten frogs and wait for them to turn into kings.

In the meantime her granddaughter who shares the same name with her ( her own daughter thought she was going to die so for showing her appreciation she named her own girl with her mother’s name. But guess what: stubborn Eileen won the duello against grim-reaper and as a solution: they start calling her granddaughter “Leena”) suffering from panic attacks resulted with mandatory two months leave from her job ( at least she didn’t get fired and during two months leave, she will still get paid.), fighting the guilt feelings and grief after her sister lost her battle against the cancer and she still blames her mother, rejecting to visit her.

Two of them need a quick break and seize their opportunities of their lives so during Leena’s visit, Eileen offers her switch places. Changing scenery may be helpful for both of them to have clearer vision about their lives: Eileen may have more dating opportunities with more eligible candidates, getting rid of her daily life routine. And Leena can have more opportunities to spend her time instead of staying at her flat, pouting, getting bored. When she accepts to switch places with her grandmother, she also accepts to attend “Neighborhood Watch” Meeting, bingo days, reconnecting with her mother and of course May Day Festival organization. But as soon as she moved her new place she starts having hard time to adapt and she starts having problems with her long distance relationship with Ethan who works at the same company with her. And charming, mostly annoying Jackson starts confusing her mind and gives her excitement she hasn’t had for a long time. Their freenemies to friends then lovers story is great addition to the story’s general progression.

I also enjoyed dating adventures of Eileen which were entertaining and eventually romantic.
The conclusion of the story was also well-written, tear jerking, heart melting.

So overall: this is sweet, entertaining, well-crafted, humorous, romantic enjoyable family, self-discovery, grief, life and happiness story. We need more feel good books like this in these days which put smile on our faces and help us there is still hope out there!

Profile Image for Danielle.
808 reviews402 followers
November 28, 2020
Eileen makes me miss my gran 😢 she’s so courageous and witty and encouraging ❤️ she was such a likable character. I loved the idea of this granny and granddaughter swapping lives. While it was predictable, it was still entertaining! 🙂
Profile Image for Farrah.
221 reviews573 followers
September 10, 2020
Can I compare this book to my cat? I want to because both are warm, cuddly, and super adorable.
I decided to read this specifically because I wanted a simple, feel-good story and it was perfect for that.

I really enjoyed Leena's half of the book. She's fun and feisty. And I thought the author did a great job portraying her grief over her sister and anger at her mother in a positive and endearing way. It also gave the book more depth than I was expecting.

I also liked Eileen, and appreciate the qualities her character represented. I did find that 𝘴𝘰𝘮𝘦𝘵𝘪𝘮𝘦𝘴 she was a bit 𝘵𝘰𝘰 𝘮𝘶𝘤𝘩 and that, at times, it bordered on gimmicky.

Also, this was my first time listening to an audiobook! Once I stopped over thinking it I fell completely into the story. It was great! I could listen while doing chores. I listened a little bit at work 🤫, I even listened while reading a different book off my Kindle. Joking about that last one!! My brain hurts just to imagining doing that!!!

Thank you NetGalley for allowing me to read this book.
July 18, 2022
Rounded down from roughly 4.5 stars ⭐️ This was my first Beth O’Leary book but it absolutely will not be my last.

The Switch follows Leena and her grandmother Eileen who are struggling in their daily lives and in need of a change. So they decide to swap lives, with Eileen trying online dating in London, and Leena going back to her rural home village.

This was just the charming and easy read that I needed right now. I found myself smiling much of the time, laughing occasionally and with tears in my eyes towards the end. This book tackles grief in such a real way that I found I personally connected so much to the experience of grief by the characters. I fell completely in love with all of the characters in this book, but particularly the quirky and different characters from the village. Arnold was a particular favourite of mine as he reminded me of my grandad! A tough exterior with such a warm and tender heart.

I absolutely love easy reads based in small villages so the setting of this was perfect for me. It felt so vivid and real, I felt a great sadness at saying goodbye to the characters. I love that this book was easy to read whilst tackling the difficult topic of grief. It managed to strike a perfect balance with not being too serious but not being insensitive either. I cannot believe I’ve waited so long to try this author, but I am really excited to delve into their other books now!

I would recommend this to any fans of light novels, with a focus on family, friends and romance.
Profile Image for Chelsea (chelseadolling reads).
1,478 reviews19.3k followers
July 17, 2020
After falling head over heels for The Flatshare last year, this was quite possibly my most anticipated book of 2020. I am so, so happy to report that this completely lived up to my expectations and that I absolutely adored it. Beth O'Leary has a way of writing characters that feel so completely REAL and true to life and I think I can now confidently call her a favorite author. My only real complaint about this one is that I feel like the romantic relationships weren't quite as flushed out as I would have liked them to be, but I also recognize that they were not intended to be the main aspect of the story so it would make sense that they would pale in comparison to the relationships between Eileen and Leena and Marian. Also-- I listened to this one partly via audiobook (thank you, NetGalley & Macmillan Audio!), and it too was SO well done. The voice actors were incredible and really brought Eileen and Leena to life in the BEST way. Honestly, y'all, this book was just an absolute delight and I can guarantee that I will be re-reading it for years to come. I highly, highly recommend.

TW: cancer, death of a loved one, severe grief/depression
Profile Image for Jayme.
1,140 reviews1,892 followers
March 12, 2022
UPDATED ON 3/11/22

I loved EVERY SINGLE MINUTE of this delightful audio book, narrated by Alison Steadman and Daisy Edgar-Jones of Hulu's "Normal People"! I definitely recommend listening if you enjoy AUDIBLE!

The Flat Share was a 5 star book for me last year, so, I have been eager to read (or listen to) this latest offering by Beth O’Leary, and it did not disappoint!

In fact..I enjoyed it even more!

So, I am thrilled to update this review and share this news!

The Flatshare, which sold over half a million copies, and her second novel, The Switch-both now have small and big-screen deals– The Flatshare was just commissioned by Paramount+ as its first UK comedy series and will star Jessica Brown Findlay (Downton Abbey, Brave New World) and Anthony Welsh (The Great).

The Switch is in development for a studio feature film by Amblin Partners (Steven Spielberg's production company) and starring Rachel Brosnahan (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel).

So, what’s this one about?

29 year old Leena Cotton has just been ordered to take a 2 month Sabbatical from work.

Her Grandmother, 79 years young Eileen, would like a second chance at love but she has known all of the eligible gentlemen in her tiny Yorkshire village forever.

The solution? Swap lives for 2 months!!

Leena moves into Eileen’s house, and Eileen moves into Leena’s Flat, with Leena’s roommates who help her to set up a “profile”, swipe right, and try “casual dating”!

This is contemporary fiction at its BEST!

It’s not a typical “romance” as the joy of this charming story is how the two women embrace their opportunity, and the people in their “temporary” lives, with wry and witty observations!

Their narratives alternate, and though I enjoyed both women, Eileen’s chapters were my favorite! I absolutely ADORED her! ??

These are characters I already miss!

Available Now!
Profile Image for preoccupiedbybooks.
458 reviews1,027 followers
August 1, 2020
It's only fitting that I review this wholesome and heart-warming love letter to Yorkshire on actual Yorkshire day, whilst drinking a cup of Yorkshire tea!

Eileen is 79 and wants a change, and to start dating again,
Leena needs a break, she's tired, stressed and grieving,
So they decide to swap lives for two months!
Will a change of scenery help the two women?

The Switch was just what I needed! It was like having a cuppa with an old friend! The plot was nothing new (hello 'The Holiday') but this charming, heartfelt book was all about the characters and their relationships. It won't be a book for everyone, it's quite a slow building character driven plot, and more about family and friendships, than a full on romance read, but I really liked it! Last year The Flatshare ended up being one of my favourite reads, despite it taking a while for me to get into it. This book charmed me from the very start, with its lovable characters, charming village life, witty banter and feel good storyline!

Told from both Eileen and Lina's POVs, I was engaged and entertained no matter which one of them I was reading about! However, Eileen really shone out of the pages! She was hilarious, wise and just an amazing character. I really want to be her when I'm 79! I really liked both characters, and hoped for the best for them, on their paths of self discovery. I also loved many of the side characters, from grumpy Arnold (I ❤️ him!), snarky Nicola, sharp Betsy, easy-going Jackson, Basil and Hank the dog in Yorkshire, to Bee, Martha, Fitz in London! This book was all about family, friendship and the importance of a community. It had some important things to say about loneliness, and how hard it can be for the older generation, when sometimes their house becomes more of a prison than a sanctuary. It also looked at grief and anger at the loss of a loved one, and family estrangement. I laughed and I cried at both the village life antics like the May day fair and Hank the dog taking Leena for a walk, and also loved Eileen learning about internet dating, and figuring out London.

I had heard great things about the audio, but was in the mood to read it, but I can totally see what a good audiobook it would be!

Basically I just want to visit Hamleigh-in-Harksdale, to sit and have a cuppa with all of these characters! This book made me smile, it made me feel good. What more can you ask for?! I see that Beth O'Leary has another book out next year, The Road Trip,and I will definitely be reading it!
Profile Image for Tina Loves To Read.
2,456 reviews1 follower
February 6, 2022
This is a romance book. I listen to the audiobook of this book, and I have to say I like to listen to my audiobooks at a faster then normal speed. There was two narrators (Alison Steadman and Daisy Edgar-Jones) for this book. I have to say I love the narrator that did Eileen's (The Grandmother) parts, but the narrator that did Leena's (The grand-daughter's) parts I did not love or hate. The story was so fun or good. I loved the characters, and they have so much personally. I was kindly provided an e-audiobook of this book by the publisher (Macmillan Audio) or author (Beth O'Leary) via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review about how I feel about this book, and I want to send a big Thank you to them for that.
Profile Image for EmBibliophile.
498 reviews1,146 followers
September 7, 2020
4 stars

Fun fact; somewhere in my stone cold heart, I have a tiny soft spot for grandmas. I don’t know why but I just really enjoy their company. I won’t swoon over babies but whenever I see a nice old grandma I grew ridiculously soft. Let me tell you, grandmas are the best company you could ever have!

Now the reason I’m mentioning that is because I truly adored Eileen (the 79 years old grandma) I adored her character and her charming personality. Her chapters were a delight to read and I truly wished she was real so I could meet her. She was the shining star of this book!

Even though the plot was simple and kinda predictable, the book was still a delightful heartwarming read. I loved listening to this one on audio (so thanks to NetGalley and Macmillan audio for providing the audiobook) it was so well done. The narrators did a splendid job. Overall, this was a really cute book to read.
Profile Image for Dorie  - Cats&Books :).
992 reviews2,777 followers
August 18, 2020

This is a contemporary fiction novel about a grandmother and granddaughter who switch their lives and their homes for 2 months. This was an audiobook and I really enjoyed the narrators. They captured what I felt was the tone and feeling of the book.

Leena lives in London and has been working so intensely that she finally has a panic attack during a major presentation. She is “ordered” to take a 2 month paid vacation. Problem is, Leena doesn’t know where to go. She finally decides to visit her grandmother, Eileen whom she is very close to.

She visits Yorkshire where her mother also lives. She and her mom have been somewhat estranged ever since her sister passed away. She and her grandmother talk at length about what they want in life and decide it might be a good idea for them to switch lives for 2 months. Leena will stay in the village and do all of the things on Eileen’s “project” list, which ends up being more than she bargained for. Eileen will go to London and live in Leena’s flat with her flat mates.

Soon Eileen is helped to set up a profile on a dating website and makes friends in the apartment building. There are definitely some believability issues here with the many things that she is able to accomplish while she is there. She starts a club that will meet in a common space and hopes to bring seniors together. She also manages to meet two men on the dating site, one of which she has a “fling” with, for want of another word.

Leena meanwhile really gets to know the neighbors in Yorkshire. It’s a small town and everyone knows everyone’s business. She finds herself in charge of the local May Day event which is more work than she imagined. She also finds that her long time boyfriend, Ethan, isn’t very good at long distance romance while there is someone in this small town that she finds more than a little interesting.

Although I found the book a bit saccharine at times, there were some serious issues addressed including grieving over the loss of a loved one, really understanding and communicating with people and learning to love yourself and find your inner strengths.

I can highly recommend this as a great audiobook listen. It was quick and interesting and the narration was great.

I received an audiobook of this novel from the publisher through NetGalley Audiobooks.

This novel is set to publish in all formats on August 18, 2020
Profile Image for Jenny.
103 reviews69 followers
June 12, 2022
I can say it is my best feel-good read of the year as of now. The story is quite simple, a grandmother and granddaughter switch lives for two months.

The characters were great with much depth and personality. I was more interested in Eileen even though I liked Leena too. She was just the best grandma, adorable, joyful, funny and full of energy. I was totally Eileened on that part.

It does tackle grief since Leena’s sister died of cancer and some repressed emotions needs to be addressed in the family. If you are looking for a incredible plot packed with twists and turns… dont hold your breath. It was more about finding oneself and making meaningful relationship in a community, the romance was more secondary for me. (It was not why I enjoyed it the most).

If you’re looking for a light read, full of warmth, charm and fun moments you’ll have a blast, I know I did.

4.5 ⭐️
Profile Image for Corina.
759 reviews2,127 followers
November 16, 2020
It's time for my BEST BOOKS OF 2020 LIST


Update August 2020: I'm going to listen to the audiobook, and I already know I'll LOVE it 💕

Update September 2020: I finally finished the audiobook, I had some minor issues with the audiobook, but the story managed to pull me in.


Now, after finishing The Switch, I know why I loved The Flatshare so much. It’s the writing, not just the story that speaks to me.

the writing
For me The Switch really shows off the author’s writing style. Besides an engaging and charming story, it’s the writing that made me chuckle and laugh. Simple interactions and monologues had me cracking up. I think I found an author that really works for me personally.

the story
The story was without a doubt, charming, endearing and heart-warming. Besides the official SWITCH, the underlying plot had surprising depth. The theme of how to move on and forgive after a shocking loss, wove through the plot without taking away from the overall joy of the story.

Thanks to the alternate POVs, because both, Leena and Eileen’s stories were engaging, entertaining and absolutely lovely, I honestly couldn’t tell you which one I loved more. Both characters are dear to my heart.

As with the author’s debut novel, this novel also had a couple sub-plots that kept the story moving forward. It was never boring, and I was pulled into the story from the very beginning. There was always something going on.

the characters
Oh boy, there were SO many amazing characters in this book. The older generation was the HOOT!! I have a weakness for seniors, just look at Missy Carmichael, the folks from The Big Finish and of course OVE. And the author portrayed them perfectly. They were cantankerous, funny, witty, and most of all, loyal and supporting. The gang in London was equally lovely and distinctive, and took Eileen in with open arms.

The relationship between Leena and her grandmother was the heart of the story, but all the other friendships, new and old made this book unforgettable.

to the point

I loved this book and will be purchasing a hardcover as soon as possible, because I need a copy on my bookshelf.

This is a highly recommend book for me.


I received a copy of this book from publisher for free, in exchange for an honest review. My opinions have not been influenced by the publisher or the author.

Find more reviews and book recommendations on my blog.

Find me on Bookstagram.
Profile Image for Berit Talks Books.
2,019 reviews15.7k followers
August 13, 2020
A true gem! Beth O’Leary brightened my day and lifted my mood with this charming tale. Uplit at its absolute best! Leena is a type a workaholic who suffers a panic attack at work one day while giving a presentation. Forced into a two month sabbatical by her boss Leena heads to her grandmother’s house. Eileen it’s 79 and spunky, recently left by her husband for a dance instructor. Leena needs to relax and regroup. Eileen wants to find love, but the pickings in her small town are few. SO grandmother and granddaughter decide to switch places. Leena Will move back home to her childhood small town and Eileen will head off to London. This is when the magic of the story begins! Love watching Leena navigate small-town life-The neighborhood watch, the May fair. And it was even more fun watching Eileen find her way in fast paced London-trendy roommates, online dating, crazy traffic. The audiobook is narrated by Alison Steadman and Daisy Edgar-Jones Who gave the perfect voices to Leena and Eileen. I seriously felt as though I was spending time with good friends every time I started listening to the book. There was just so much charm and wit in their narration, really one of the best I’ve listen to this year.

Eileen and Leena were such delightful characters, they felt like old friends. Loved all the secondary characters as well the quirky residence of the small town and the posh London roommate/friends. Admittedly I think I favored Eileen’s story just a little more. I just adored how sweet and pure she was. How tremendously optimistic, always wanting to bring everyone together and thinking the best of all. Just can’t say enough good things about this book! Definitely going to make my top reads of 2020 list.

This book in emojis 🐱 🚖 📱 🗝 👩🏼 👵🏼

*** Big thank you to Flatiron and Macmillan Audio for my gifted copy of this book. All opinions are my own. ***
Profile Image for Tina.
512 reviews795 followers
December 20, 2020
What a wonderful gem of a book!!! The audio was fantastic!!! This is cute and heart-warming. The story alternates between Leena and Eileen. I enjoyed both stories equally.

Leena lives in London and has been suffering greatly since the passing of her sister. Her Grandmother, Eileen who lives in a tiny village in Yorkshire has also been feeling down since her husband of over fifty years has recently left her. They decide to switch places for two months. Leena will go off to Yorkshire and live in her Grandma's house and Eileen will go to her flat in London and live with her friends.

This is such a sweet feel-good type of book that I know I would have loved even if I'd read it. The audio was like a bonus for me. I love the writing style. I will definitely pick-up any book written by Beth O'Leary in the future!

I'd like to kindly thank NetGalley and Macmillan Audio for granting me access to this Audiobook. It was a fabulous experience!!!

P.S. I did not realize that Daisy Edgar-Jones from the series, "Normal People" narrated Leena's part. I loved that book and only just recently watched the series and loved her in it. It was a treat to hear her narration.
Profile Image for Michael David (on hiatus).
625 reviews1,538 followers
September 27, 2020
Such a wonderful story that hits the salient points of a “switched” storyline.

Eileen and Leena (grandmother and granddaughter) decide to swap homes for two months. Eileen will leave all of her duties and try to find love three hours away. Leena (on LOA from her job) will try to enjoy the freedom of not having a job, and take up the “jobs” her grandmother left for her.

This story has some of the most wonderful characters I’ve ever read about, and it’s a real treat to read. There are many readers who compare it to “The Holiday”, the Cameron Diaz film. Although this isn’t a Christmas tale, I get it. I almost think it’s more like her film, “In Her Shoes”...with a touch of my favorite Thanksgiving film (maybe only Thanksgiving film?) “Pieces of April.”

Heartwarming, funny, sad at times, bittersweet, and amazing! I didn’t want this one to end.

5 stars for this gem!
Profile Image for Sheyla ✎.
1,820 reviews479 followers
September 25, 2020

What an adorable book! Just loved it.

We have two very different (maybe not) women, a grandmother, Eileen and her granddaughter, Leena needing a change.

Leena's sister, Carla passed away from cancer a few months back. This has left Leena feeling a terrible loss, her grief is consuming her and she is struggling at work. After having a panic attack during one of her presentations to a big client, her boss tells her to take two months off to relax.

Leena decides to visit the town her grandmother and mother lived in. This is also where Carla spent the last few months of her life. It's hard for Leena to visit her mother's home especially since Leena has not dealt with her grief and she's estranged from her mother.

Eileen is an active 79-year-old woman. She lives in Yorkshire. She is part of the community and helps everyone she can. Her husband walked out on her a few years back and she would like to find some male company. She is thinking of starting dating but she knows the pool of men in her age group is scarce in her town.

Then, Leena has a bright idea. Why don't they swap lives? Eileen should go to London, stay with her roommates and start dating while Leena stays in Yorkshire to help with all the activities her grandmother participates in and also to check on her mother.

Easy peasy, right?


The audio was fantastic. A job well done by both Daisy Edgar-Jones and Alison Steadman as the narrators.

Now in regards to the novel, I can honestly say that I adored these characters. Eileen was superb. Her parts were probably my favorite ones. She was classy, funny, interesting, helpful, a good friend and a great grandmother.

Leena was fun too. In the beginning, she was a mess but once she starts finding out more about herself, the stronger she became. I also love her romance with Jackson and her friendship with Arnold.

Kudos to Beth O'Leary for creating a cute story with memorable characters!

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

A complimentary copy was provided by Macmillan Audio via NetGalley Shelf in exchange for an honest review.

MrsLeif's Two Fangs About It | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
Profile Image for Mark  Porton.
385 reviews325 followers
November 7, 2021
After reading Beth O'Leary's first book, The Flat Share, which was funny, feel good, fresh and totally surprising - I was massively looking forward to her second book, The Switch.

However, The Switch didn't really hit the mark for this Mark. The story of a Grandmother and Grandaughter switching lives (albeit partially), swapping houses and towns was just a bit too ridiculous to believe. I couldn't warm to the main characters and the supporting cast were really clones of those endured in the scores of 70s and 80s British Sit-Coms I've seen over the years.

The funny bits weren't funny and the sad bits weren't sad. Everything was all a bit too predictable and pedestrian. Which is a shame, as O'Leary's first book gave me some genuine laugh out loud moments.

I won't give up on this author, due to the quality of her first book. This book however, I won't remember with any great degree of fondness.

2 stars

Thanks to Netgalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for a review.
Profile Image for Kat (on hiatus).
226 reviews547 followers
January 19, 2021
First of all, let me give a shout-out to my friend, Tina, who recommended I listen to the audiobook, because I can’t imagine a better way to experience this book than through the charming narration of Daisy Edgar-Jones and Alison Steadman. They really brought this story to life, and I loved every second of it! After my last frustrating audiobook attempt with The Thursday Murder Club, I feared my mind would go wandering again, so this time I put a leash on it and read along to the audio in my Kindle, which worked like a dream.

After the death of her sister to cancer, successful young London business consultant Leena Cotton finds herself struggling to cope and is sent on a two-month sabbatical by her company. At the same time, Leena’s feisty 79-year old grandmother, Eileen, recently abandoned by her husband and watching over Leena’s grieving mother, Marian, in quaint little Yorkshire village, Hamleigh-in-Harksdale, decides she’s ready to find love - or a fun fling at the very least. In this heart-warming, feel-good twist on the rom-com genre, Leena and Eileen agree to switch places for eight weeks, Eileen moving in with Leena’s roommate, Martha, in London, and Leena moving into Eileen’s Hamleigh home for eight weeks.

Trading homes opens up whole new worlds for these two, introducing Eileen to online dating and Leena’s eclectic mix of flatshare building residents, and throwing Leena into the - mostly elderly - village Neighborhood Watch and planning committee for Hamleigh-in-Harksdale’s annual May Day festival. Both scenarios created plenty of smiles and laughs, and I loved Eileen and Leena’ storylines equally. As an aside, I have to admit it was mildly uncomfortable for me to hear about a 79-year-old woman getting jiggy with her online match - but then again it’s kinda the same phenomenon that happens when kids don’t want to imagine their own parents having “happy” time. I digress.

Part of what made this story so delightful is the extended cast of characters, who were so full of personality. I was utterly charmed by the aged residents of Hamleigh. They are my kind of fun, and even the crotchety ones were lovable. Betsy, Arnold, Basil, Roland, Penelope, Nicola all stole my heart with their antics. On the younger end of the village residents, Jackson, who develops feelings for Leena, is just plain ol’ dreamy, and I loved his story with Leena. In London, Leena’s friends Bee, Martha, Yaz, Fitz, and building resident, Letitia, all egged Eileen along in her adventures and proved to be the very best support system she could have wanted.

All of this humor is deftly balanced with the underlying and melancholic story of the death of Leena’s sister, Carla, as Leena, Eileen and Leena’s mother, Marian, all find healing for themselves and with each other, which was very touching.

It’s a lovely story, and I highly recommend it!

★★★★★ ❤️
Profile Image for Kaceey.
1,070 reviews3,613 followers
January 10, 2021
A delightful read guaranteed to leave an ear-to-ear smile on your face.

Leena seemingly has it all in her busy London life. A top-tier job and a strikingly handsome boyfriend. Suddenly she finds her back against the wall after being unceremoniously forced into a sabbatical from her position.

Eileen is eighty and not about to give up on life or love. When granddaughter Lee arrives in her Yorkshire home she welcomes her with open arms. And dear grandma Eileen may just have a clever plan to help them both get what they need.

For Leena, a much needed respite away from the grind of the city. For Eileen, a chance to live London and see what it has to offer a spunky octogenarian.

Thus, the decision is made to Switch.

This is a sweet read that will have you cheering for Eileen and crossing your fingers that we’ll be that feisty in our eighties!

The audio version was perfect!

A buddy 🎧 with Susanne.

Posted to: https://books-are-a-girls-best-friend...

Thank you to libro.fm
Profile Image for Christy.
3,817 reviews32.4k followers
May 14, 2021
3.5 stars


The Switch is Beth O’Leary’s sophomore novel and one I’ve been looking forward to. ‘The Flatshare’ was one of my favorite books last year so I had really high expectations for this. Though I didn’t love it quite as much as O’Leary’s debut, it was still a book I enjoyed overall! 

Eileen is an almost 80 year old grandma from a small town, and her granddaughter Leena is a twenty something from London. After Leena is forced to take an extended break from work and Eileen can’t dine da date in her small Yorkshire village, they decide to swap lives for a while, or at least residences.

Leena struggles at first in Yorkshire. Being in a small village and trying to fit in takes a little time. Also, long distance relationships aren’t easy. Eileen takes to the city pretty well. Her dating apps, making friends with Leena’s neighbors and co-workers, and of course, meddling in her granddaughters life. 

"Grandma, what are you doing?"
"Medding!" I yell cheerfully. "It's my new ‘thing’!”

Eileen was my favorite character in this book. I love older folks and every scene with her made me happy. It reminded me of my late grandma and I kept a smile on my face. I also liked Leena a lot. It was fun watching how they adapted to each other’s lives and group of friends etc.

This story was light on the romance, but heavy on the friendships, family dynamics, and heartwarming moments. Overall, I had so much fun listening to the audiobook (narrated flawlessly by Alison Steadman and Daisy Edgar-Jones) and highly recommend it!
“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.”

*A big thanks to Macmillan/Netgalley for the audio ARC of this book*
Profile Image for Susanne.
1,159 reviews36.8k followers
February 11, 2021
Cute as a Button!

Can love be found at any age? Maybe!

When Leena Cotton is forced to take a two month leave from her job, she has an idea. Her Grandmother Eileen Cotton lives in Hameligh-in-Harskdale and has always wanted to live in London, thus the two decide to switch lives, with Leena moving to Hamleigh and Eileen moving to London.

Sounds like an adventure of a lifetime right?

For Eileen Cotton it is. She suddenly finds herself looking for love on a dating website for the elderly and what she finds is a whole lot of fun. Eileen also finds herself living in Leena’s apartment, along with Leena’s flatmates - which is an experience like no other.

Leena, on the other hand, has to take care of all of Eileen’s “projects” in Hamleigh and none of Eileen’s friends are very accepting of her. Can she win them over while also trying to mend her relationship with her mum with whom she hasn’t been close, in over a year?

A heartwarming novel that will warm your soul in the sweetest of ways, the words I would use to describe this book are “adorably cute.”

In tough times, I recommend listening to the audiobook, as it made me smile and I think it will make you smile too! 3.5 Stars

A buddy listen with Kaceey!

Thank you to Libro.fm and Macmillan Audio for the alc.

Published on Goodreads on 10.21.20.

Review also published on blog: https://books-are-a-girls-best-friend...
February 15, 2023

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I've developed a reputation for being a fan of dark romances but sometimes I like to read something cute. When I found a new copy of THE SWITCH at a thrift store, I was excited because I really enjoyed the author's other book, THE FLATSHARE, despite thinking it would just be pointless fluff. There was an emotional depth to that book and a really strong connection between the two leads that made it so much more than a bookish piece of candy that you forget after one bite. I was excited to see what the author would do in her other books, too.

THE SWITCH kind of has the same premise as those house-swapping shows that were popular in the aughts. Leena and Eileen are granddaughter and grandmother. Leena works a stressful corporate job in London and has just messed up a major presentation by having a panic attack after overworking herself for months. Eileen lives in a small English village; her husband left her and she fills the void of loneliness by looking after her daughter and participating in the Neighborhood Watch Association, which is filled with other nosy, lonely busybodies, like herself.

They end up proposing a swap of each other's houses. Eileen will go to London to take care of things and maybe do some online dating with over-seventies folks, and Leena will rest and convalesce in the English village and take some time to clear her head. It seems like the perfect plan, except in the village, Leena starts to fall for a sweater-wearing teacher who isn't her boyfriend and Eileen finds out that dating isn't quite as simple or easy as she thought it would be, and that her granddaughter's problems go so much deeper than a maybe half-hidden fear of public speaking.

So I'm going to be straight up and say that I didn't like this as much as I did THE FLATSHARE. Namely because it wasn't as romantic or sweet or light-hearted. This one has a pretty heavy subplot involving cancer, like so many other chick-lit books seem to have these days, and it's not mentioned in the blurb, which I know some people find triggering. The heroine has a sister who died of cancer and it put a rift between Leena and her mother, and it's talked about a lot. I appreciate the importance of grief and overcoming it to the point where it becomes manageable even if it never goes away, but I hadn't quite signed up for that. So if you're sensitive to topics like that, take heed.

The romance was also pretty weak. Weirdly, the grandmother gets most of the romance (and the sex scenes!), which is refreshing but also makes the book feel very one-sided. This is more Eileen's book than it is Leena's, which is also not obvious from the cover, as it was designed in the exact same way as THE FLATSHARE, but I feel like FLATSHARE is targeted towards young women in their late-teens to their early thirties, whereas the targeted audience for THE SWITCH feels older. I wish there had been more development between Leena and her love interest. It felt like they went from like to love very quickly, to the point where the epilogue had me going, "Whaaa?"

I also feel like things were never fully resolved with the mother. And the resolution with Leena and her not-nice boyfriend wasn't nearly as satisfying as the one in THE FLATSHARE. THE SWITCH ends up feeling more like chick-lit than a romance because the focus of the story is less on romance than it is on the development of the characters. It actually reminded me a lot of Jane Green's books, only without the mean streak of humor that could make those such difficult reads. Not surprised Marian Keyes blurbed my copy, either, because there's definitely traces of that sort of family hijinks vibe present here, too.

Overall, I'd say that this was fine. I skimmed a little towards the end because I got a little bored but it was cute, and Eileen is the cozy, meddling grandmother that I always secretly wished I had growing up.

3 stars
Profile Image for Maria Clara.
995 reviews506 followers
December 3, 2020
¿Qué te impulsa a leer un libro? ¿La caratula? ¿La sinopsis? O ¿la primera estrofa?

En este caso, puedo afirmar que no tengo ni idea! Aunque quizá fue por la caratula. Sí, seguro, fue verla y decirme: "Tengo que leerlo".  Claro que la sinopsis también aportó su granito de arena. Y qué decir de la primera estrofa... Así que, supongo, fue un nada y un todo a la vez. Un golpe de aire, un quizá convertido en debería, y un debería combinado con un poco de por qué no.  Después de todo, así es cómo empiezan las grandes historias de amor, ¿no?

Antes de seguir, he de decir que ya conocía la pluma de la autora por Piso para dos, una comedia romántica que me cautivó en su día. Así que más que descubrir a una nueva autora, lo que he hecho es adentrarme en una nueva aventura. 

En tus zapatos, O´leary nos invita a conocer a dos grandes mujeres:  Leena y Eileen; dos torbellinos llenos de ternura, amor y un toque de locura que nos harán reír, llorar y amar. Dos mujeres que necesitan reencontrarse, volver a descubrirse y forjar una nueva vida. Dos mujeres rodeadas de un maravilloso elenco de personajes que te harán desear conocerlos más, adentrarte en sus vidas y, ya puestos, compartir con ellos su día a día.

No voy a desgranarte la novela, pero te puedo asegurar que la SINOPSIS se queda corta ante esta novela.
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