Welcome back to Reading, Reading, Reading!
Believe it or not, I have taken a short break from my dark and crazy mystery/thrillers and have been working my way through my unread contemporary romance novels! Although I claim that my favourite genre is mystery/thriller, contemporary romance novels always seem to take up a good chunk of my favourite books at the end of every year. Last year, I read Beth O’Leary’s debut novel, The Flatshare, and while it did not make my favourite books list, there is no doubt that her most recent publication, The Switch, will!
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?
This book was the equivalent of a chef’s kiss. It was perfection in every sense, and ever since I have finished the novel, I have been contemplating whether it is currently my #1 favourite book of the year!
What made this novel so great was the quirky, unique, and overall wonderful cast of characters. There were quite a few characters in this novel, but I never found them hard to keep track or remember. I became so emotionally attached to almost all of the characters, and found myself caring for them so much. I specifically loved Arnold, Martha, and Fitz’s characters, as they were side characters that added so much to the novel.
The writing in this novel really stood out to me while I was reading it. Like The Flatshare, this novel was written in dual perspective. Both points of view were written with very distinct voices, and I never had aa problem remembering which perspective I was reading from. The characters voices were established very well from the very beginning of the novel, which I enjoyed and appreciated immensely. In most cases of dual POV stories, often times one voice will stick out more than the other, and in this case, that voice was Eileen, the 79-year-old grandmother to Leena. Her voice was incredibly witty and humours, and it was such a joy reading all of her chapters!
I also really appreciated the way Beth O’Leary wrote both of the settings in this novel. Leena lives in a small village a couple of hours away from London. O’Leary wrote the town to perfection, and it really felt like I was in a small town when reading from her perspective.
Typically, I am not a huge fan of character driven novels, because I love plots with a clear problem and solution. However, this one was spectacular. Overall, I absolutely loved this novel and gave it 5/5 stars. And although I gave The Flatshare 5/5 stars as well, I somehow liked this novel 10x more! If you are a fan of character driven contemporary novels, I would highly suggest giving this one a try!
Good Night Book Owls!