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Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Book Review: The Switch by Beth O'Leary

Leena has worked herself into a breakdown. But that was precipitated by her sister's death from cancer last year. After that, she threw herself into her work which worked for a while, but not forever. After an incident in a presentation with a client, her boss has put her on a mandatory two month sabbatical.

Meanwhile, while talking with her grandmother, Eileen, Leena finds out her grandmother had had grand plans back in her youth, to move to London and be a city girl, that were thwarted by an early marriage and kids. Since Eileen's husband has left her for a younger woman, which doesn't particularly upset Eileen (boy, that's when you really know a relationship is over--when you just don't even care about the breakup), Eileen and Leena hit upon a plan--Eileen will move into Leena's apartment in London (with her two roommates) and live out her 20-something dream and also start dating again, and Leena will move into her grandmother's village cottage and experience life slowed down and calm.

Leena takes over her grandmother's committees and other village responsibilities, including the town's annual festival. She talks to her best friends a lot, but since she and her grandmother even swap phones, she can't Facetime or even text easily on Eileen's ancient hardware. Her boyfriend has to keep canceling his plans to come out and see her due to too much work himself. But she's keeping busy. Meanwhile Eileen has gotten set up on Tinder, thanks to Leena's roommates, and has come up with some plans of her own in London!

This granddaughter-grandmother novel is billed as a rom-com, and while there's a tiny bit of romance, that's not really the story. Leena has to reconcile with her mother and finally deal with her sister's death. Eileen is coming to terms with choices she made in her youth and how those have played out over the years. It's relatively light but also pretty real and full of ups and downs. It's a great escape for a few hours, thoroughly distracting.

This book is published by Flatiron Books, a division of Macmillan, my employer.

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