Staff Pick: The Switch by Beth O’Leary

Title: The Switch
Author: Beth O’Leary
Narrators: Alison Steadman and Daisy Edgar-Jones

In an effort to choose an audiobook outside of my go-to mystery/thriller genre, I searched for something light and funny for a change. I’d heard enticing early reviews for Beth O’Leary’s The Switch and since it’s very different than anything I normally pick up, I jumped at the chance to delve into something new. It took all of about fifteen minutes into this 10-hour audiobook, and I was hooked! If you’re on the hunt for a mellow, joyous listen, then trust me when I say The Switch is a great option for you.

After a panic attack at work, Leena Cotton, the youngest executive in her London office, is forced to take a two-month sabbatical. Meanwhile, her grandmother Eileen begins a search for love after becoming single. When the ladies decide to swap lives—Leena will live in her grandmother’s slow-paced cottage town and Eileen will seek adventure amidst the hustle and bustle of the city—they commit fully by swapping homes, lifestyles, and even cell phones! Naturally, it’s hilarious. But what really made me adore The Switch is that it doesn’t shy away from teaching hard lessons on family, love, and work-life balance at every turn.

I can’t imagine anyone better suited to narrate than Normal People’s Daisy Edgar-Jones as Leena and the adorable Alison Steadman as Eileen. Between their accents and their unignorable chemistry, I’d listen to these two read the fine print of an insurance contract on repeat, if it came to it. By adding tasteful sound effects and background music, the production of this audiobook truly brings the story to life.

Though I haven’t read Beth O’Learys earlier book The Flatshare (yet!), I’d feel confident in recommending her work to pretty much anyone. Her writing is accessible to all and her endless charm is tough to dislike. O’Learys characters are relatable without being predictable, and her story strikes the perfect balance of lighthearted and meaningful.

Overall, I’m pleasantly surprised with The Switch. Outside of the humor of seeing a grandmother living in a twenty-year-old’s life, the story is deeply heartfelt and explores the importance of adventure, no matter your age. In such a stressful, uncertain time for many, The Switch is a welcomed escape that I hope everyone has the chance to enjoy.

Publisher Summary:

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 long-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.

So they decide to try a two-month swap.

Eileen will live in London and look for love. She’ll take Leena’s flat, and learn all about casual dating, swiping right, and city neighbors. Meanwhile Leena will look after everything in rural Yorkshire: Eileen’s sweet cottage and garden, her idyllic, quiet village, and her little neighborhood projects.

But stepping into one another’s shoes proves more difficult than either of them expected. Will swapping lives help Eileen and Leena find themselves…and maybe even find true love? In Beth O’Leary‘s The Switch, it’s never too late to change everything….or to find yourself.

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