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?
I read and loved The Flatshare by this author last year so was delighted to spot her new one, The Switch, on audiobook on NetGalley last week. I was thrilled to be approved to listen to it and I’m so pleased to say that I loved it!
The Switch follows Leena, who having been successful in her career has had a bit of a blip and has been given two months off work. She is stunned and doesn’t know what to do with herself. The novel also follows Leena’s beloved Grandma Eileen, who is newly single and trying to find her feet on the dating scene. Leena and Eileen decide to swap homes for the two months – Eileen will move to London and Leena will move back to the Yorkshire village where she grew up!
I loved Eileen from the very start of this novel, and having her character narrated by the brilliant Alison Steadman only added to how much I adored her! I love older characters who are full of life and know what they want. Eileen wants to find love again but she doesn’t suffer fools. I adored seeing her dating exploits in London and was rooting for her to find Mr Right.
Leena was a little harder to like at the beginning, there was clearly something holding her back. Once we learn what she, and her family, have been through I came to understand why she is the way she is. I loved seeing her trying to figure out how to get through being back in the village she’d grown up in, and trying to navigate a better relationship with her estranged mum. I was so moved by the moment in the novel when there is a break through between the two characters, it made me quite tearful.
The narrators for this audiobook are utterly perfect and they really added an extra layer of enjoyment to the novel. Alison Steadman (Pamela in Gavin and Stacy) is wonderful, her voice is so warm and she was a perfect Eileen. Leena is narrated by Daisy Edgar-Jones (Marianne in Normal People) and again she just seem so suited to this role. I definitely recommend the audio book, and I will be looking out for more audio books narrated by both of these women in the future.
The Switch is a perfect read for this summer: it provides warmth and much-needed escapism from the world we’re living in. There is some depth to this novel but the lightness always balances the sadder parts. I adored this one and highly recommend it!
The Switch is out now on audiobook here and in hardback and ebook here.
WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open for anyone to join in and is a great way to share what you’ve been reading!
The Mothers by Sarah J. Naughton
This novel follows a police detective Iona as she starts investigating the disappearance of a married man. I’m only a couple of chapters into this one but we’ve met the group of mothers, one of whom is married to the missing man. There seems to be a class divide in the mothers’ group, and they almost seem like frenemies at the moment. I’m keen to find out what’s going on and also to see how the prologue, where someone seems to be about to smother a baby, fits into the whole story. This is definitely intriguing and I want to know more!
How To Disappear by Gillian McAllister
This is about a family who are split apart when two of them have to go into witness protection. Lauren and her daughter Zara are trying to figure out their new lives and who they have to be now. Lauren’s husband Aidan is trying to figure out how he can help them be safe. This novel is so tense, every time anyone does anything that might potentially put them at risk I find myself holding my breath. It’s really good and I can’t wait to find out what happens and if everyone will be okay!
Small Island by Andrea Levy
I read this book many years ago and remember enjoying it. I’ve heard people talking about it again recently and decided to buy the audio book so I could listen to it. Andrea Levy narrates the book and it’s excellent hearing her voice her own characters. I’m very much enjoying this one and recommend the audio book.
Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine
I’ve had this book on my TBR for three years but I finally picked it up this week and I read it in one sitting. It’s one of the most powerful and eye-opening book on race that I’ve read to date. There is a lot of focus on Serena Williams, as well as the micro-aggressions that are so appalling and shocking. It’s a brilliant book and I recommend it to everyone.
Imperfect Women by Araminta Hall
I listened to the audio book of this from NetGalley and I really enjoyed it. It follows three women in their 40s: Eleanor, Nancy and Mary. The novel opens with Eleanor learning that Nancy has been murdered. It then is told in three parts: first Eleanor in the present, then Nancy in the past leading up to her murder, and finally it concludes with Mary. I loved the exploration of female friendship and all the complexities that come with being a group of three. I’ve already reviewed this one so you can find my thoughts here.
The Switch by Beth O’Leary
This is another audio book that I listened to on the NetGalley app. I really enjoyed this one too. It follows Leena who is given two months off work and she ends up swapping homes with her beloved Grandma Eileen. The novel alternates between them and I really loved getting to know their back story and seeing what was going to happen to them in their new lives. It’s a really heartwarming book and lovely escapism. I’ll be reviewing this soon but in the meantime I recommend it!
I Am Not Your Negro by James Baldwin
I recently watched the documentary film of the same name and found it such an emotional and interesting watch so decided to read the book soon afterwards. Raoul Peck sought permission from the Baldwin estate to look at the 30 pages of notes James Baldwin had made on a book he intended to write called Remember This House about the murders of Medgar Evans, Malcom X and Martin Luther King. He then took these notes and fleshed them out to make the documentary and accompanying book I Am Not Your Negro. It’s really well done and I’m so glad I read this one. I recommend it.
Summerwater by Sarah Moss
I couldn’t resist reading this one very soon after I was approved to read it from NetGalley as I love Sarah Moss’ writing. Summerwater is set all in one day on a Scottish cabin park. It follows twelve characters, and each has their own chapter so you really get to know them. You can sense that it’s all building towards something and this makes this slow-burn character novel impossible to put down. I read it all in one sitting and I highly recommend it.
Mine by Clare Empson
I loved Clare Empson’s previous novel Him so was really keen to read her new one and I loved it. It follows Luke in the present day as he meets his birth mother Alice for the first time and gets to know her. Then in alternating chapters it follows Alice back in the 70s as she falls in love for the first time with the lead singer of a band. This is an emotional and absorbing read and I adored it. I’ve reviewed it here.
Innocent or Guilty by A. M. Taylor
This is the oldest book on my NetGalley shelf so in my attempt to catch up I wanted to read it and I’m so pleased I finally go to it as it was a good read. It follows Olivia as she gets involved with a true crime podcast in an attempt to clear her twin brother Ethan. He’s in prison for the murder of Tyler Washington a decade earlier when they were all 18. I loved the podcast element of this novel and the short transcripts that feature throughout the novel. I did predict some of it but it didn’t spoil my enjoyment. I’ve already reviewed this book here.
Come Again by Robert Webb
This is another audiobook that I got from NetGalley and I enjoyed it. It follows Kate who is grieving after the sudden death of her husband Luke. It’s told in three parts: the first in the present day where Kate is mired in grief; the second where Kate wakes up back in the 1990s where she is about to meet Luke for the first time; and the third where Kate is back in the present and in the midst of a car chase! Olivia Colman narrates this audiobook and she really adds to the novel, I really recommend the audio. I reviewed this book here.
What I Might Read Next
I’m still working on catching up with some of my NetGalley books at the moment so in the coming days I’m likely to be reading more of them. I’m reading by whim just now but these four are the ones that appeal to me the most as I’m writing this post!
The Life We Almost Had by Amelia Henley
The Split by Sharon Bolton
The Weekend by Charlotte Wood
Watch Over You by M. J. Ford
What have you been reading this week? I’d love to hear. And if you take part in WWW Wednesdays or This Week in Books please feel free to leave your link below and I’ll make sure to visit and comment on your post. 🙂
I read and enjoyed An American Marriage last year so when I spotted this book by the author on Kindle this week I decided to treat myself. It sounds like such a good read and I’m looking forward to getting to it.
With the opening line of Silver Sparrow, “My father, James Witherspoon, is a bigamist,” author Tayari Jones unveils a breathtaking story about a man’s deception, a family’s complicity, and two teenage girls caught in the middle. Set in a middle-class neighbourhood in Atlanta in the 1980s, the novel revolves around James Witherspoon’s two families—the public one and the secret one. When the daughters from each family meet and form a friendship, only one of them knows they are sisters. It is a relationship destined to explode when secrets are revealed and illusions shattered. As Jones explores the backstories of her rich yet flawed characters ”the father, the two mothers, the grandmother, and the uncle ”she also reveals the joy, as well as the destruction, they brought to one another’s lives.
Summerwater by Sarah Moss
I was delighted to be approved to read this one on NetGalley this week as I’ve been keen to read it. I actually picked it up yesterday and read it all in one sitting. It’s such a brilliant novella! I’ll be reviewing it soon but in the meantime I highly recommend it.
On the longest day of the summer, twelve people sit cooped up with their families in a faded Scottish cabin park. The endless rain leaves them with little to do but watch the other residents. A woman goes running up the Ben as if fleeing; a retired couple reminisce about neighbours long since moved on; a teenage boy braves the dark waters of the loch in his red kayak. Each person is wrapped in their own cares but increasingly alert to the makeshift community around them. One particular family, a mother and daughter without the right clothes or the right manners, starts to draw the attention of the others. Tensions rise and all watch on, unaware of the tragedy that lies ahead as night finally falls.
Perfect Tunes by Emily Gould
I requested this one from NetGalley on a whim as I can’t resist books about music. This sounds like such a good read and I can’t wait to get to it.
It’s the early days of the new millennium, and Laura has arrived in New York City’s East Village in the hopes of recording her first album. A songwriter with a one-of-a-kind talent, she’s just beginning to book gigs with her beautiful best friend when she falls hard for a troubled but magnetic musician whose star is on the rise. Their time together is stormy and short-lived – but will reverberate for the rest of Laura’s life. Fifteen years later, Laura’s teenage daughter is asking questions about her father, questions Laura does not want to answer. Laura has built a stable life in Brooklyn that bears little resemblance to the one she envisioned all those years ago, and she’s taken pains to close the door on what was and what might have been. When her best friend – now a famous musician – comes to town, opportunity knocks for Laura for a second time. Has growing older changed who she is and what she most wants? After all the sacrifices and compromises she’s made along the way, how much is she still that girl from Ohio, with big talent and big dreams?
When Nancy Hennessy is murdered, she leaves behind two best friends, a loving husband and daughter, and a secret lover whose identity she took to the grave. Nancy was gorgeous and wealthy, with adoring friends and family—from the outside, her life was perfect. But as the investigation into her death flounders and her friends Eleanor and Mary wrestle with their grief, dark details surface that reveal how little they knew their friend, each other, maybe even themselves. Their enduring, complex friendship is the knot the reader must untangle to answer the question: who killed Nancy?
All The Lonely People by Mike Gayle
I’ve read some great reviews of this one so requested it on NetGalley. I’m so pleased to be approved to read this one and plan on reading it soon.
Life is waiting to happen to Hubert Bird. But first he has to open his front door and let it in. In weekly phone calls to his daughter in Australia, widower Hubert Bird paints a picture of the perfect retirement, packed with fun, friendship and fulfilment. But Hubert Bird is lying. The truth is day after day drags by without him seeing a single soul. Until, that is, he receives some good news – good news that in one way turns out to be the worst news ever, news that will force him out again, into a world he has long since turned his back on. Now Hubert faces a seemingly impossible task: to make his real life resemble his fake life before the truth comes out. Along the way Hubert stumbles across a second chance at love, renews a cherished friendship and finds himself roped into an audacious community scheme that seeks to end loneliness once and for all . . . Life is certainly beginning to happen to Hubert Bird. But with the origin of his earlier isolation always lurking in the shadows will he ever get to live the life he’s pretended to have for so long?
The Lost Love Song by Minnie Darke
I was offered the chance to read and review this book for the blog tour and I immediately said yes! This is another book that centres around a song and I love the sound of it.
This is the story of a love song . . . And like any good love song, it has two parts. In Australia, Arie Johnson waits impatiently for classical pianist Diana Clare to return from a world tour, hopeful that after seven years together she’ll finally agree to marry him. On her travels, Diana composes a song for Arie. It’s the perfect way to express her love, knowing they’ll spend their lives together . . . Won’t they? Then late one night, her love song is overheard, and begins its own journey across the world. In Scotland, Evie Greenlees is drifting. It’s been years since she left Australia with a backpack, a one-way ticket and a dream of becoming a poet. Now she spends her days making coffee and her nights serving beer. And she’s not even sure whether the guy she lives with is really her boyfriend or just a flatmate. Then one day she hears an exquisite love song. One that will connect her to a man with a broken heart . . .
The Switch by Beth O’Leary
I read and loved The Flatshare by this author last year so have been keen to read her new one. I was lucky to get this audiobook from NetGalley this week and I’m already listening to it. It’s such a lovely book and Alison Steadman and Daisy Edgar-Jones are perfect narraters. I’m very much enjoying this one!
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?
Under A Starry Sky by Laura Kemp
This is another audiobook that I got from NetGalley this week (I’m so excited about audiobooks now being on there for review!). I downloaded this one on a whim as it sounds like such a lovely read for the summer. I’m looking forward to this one.
One summer to change her life… Wanda Williams has always dreamed of leaving her wellies behind her and travelling the world! Yet every time she comes close to following her heart, life always seems to get in the way. So, when her mother ends up in hospital and her sister finds out she’s pregnant with twins, Wanda knows that only she can save the crumbling campsite at the family farm. Together with her friends in the village, she sets about sprucing up the site, mowing the fields, replanting the allotment and baking homemade goodies for the campers. But when a long-lost face from her past turns up, Wanda’s world is turned upside-down. And under a starry sky, anything can happen…
Come Again by Robert Webb
I was thrilled to spot this audiobook on NetGalley as I’ve been so keen to read it. I’ve actually already read and reviewed this one so you can find my full thoughts here.
Kate’s husband Luke – the man she loved from the moment she met him twenty-eight years ago – died suddenly. Since then she has pushed away her friends, lost her job and everything is starting to fall apart. One day, she wakes up in the wrong room and in the wrong body. She is eighteen again but remembers everything. This is her college room in 1992. This is the first day of Freshers’ Week. And this was the day she first met Luke. But he is not the man that she lost: he’s still a boy – the annoying nineteen-year-old English student she first met. Kate knows how he died and that he’s already ill. If they can fall in love again she might just be able to save him. She’s going to try to do everything exactly the same…
Have you acquired any new books this week? I’d love to know what you got. Or have you read any of my new books and recommend I get to any of them sooner rather than later? If you’ve shared a book haul post this week then please feel free to share you link below and I’ll make sure to visit your post! 🙂
Today I’m sharing a few more reviews of books that I’ve read and loved over the summer months!
Daisy Jones and The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
I received an eARC of this book from NetGalley but after reading reviews of the book I decided I wanted to listen to the audio book as I read so I bought the audio. This is such a brilliant novel and I loved it! It’s the story of a band called The Six in the 1970s and all the ups and downs that comes with making it big. Things become even more complicated for the band when Daisy Jones joins them. The dynamics between the band members is fascinating and it all felt so real! I loved how the book is told in snippets from interviews, which meant that we see each person’s view point and how memories differ from each perspective. Some people want to be seen in the best light, to be the hero and this shows through. Others play down the part they played, seemingly wanting to be a little more distant. This book was so good that by the end it felt like I’d read about a real band and I wanted to look up their music and to listen to it! It’s the mark of a great novel when you completely forget that this isn’t a true story. I highly recommend this book, I am sure it will be in my favourite books of the year list!
The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary
This is another wonderful novel that I very much enjoyed. The story is told from the viewpoints of both Tiffy and Leon – they flat share but they’ve never met! This premise sold me on the book and I’m so pleased to say that the novel lived up to that premise. I love how these two people communicated through a chain of post it notes, and how they gradually came to know each other so well before they ever met. There is more depth to this novel than I was expecting, and some difficult issues are dealt with. It made it all feel more real to me though and I appreciated that. This is such a gorgeous novel and it’s another one that I highly recommend.
If Only I Could Tell You by Hannah Beckerman
I was eagerly anticipating this novel as I adored the author’s debut and I’m so happy to say that this was everything I hoped it would be. It’s the story of Audrey and her two adult daughters. Something happened when the two sisters were on the cusp of being teenagers and it’s completely pulled the family apart. Jess can’t forgive Lily and as a result won’t let her daughter see Lily’s daughter, and Audrey never gets to have all of her family together in one place. As the secrets of the past are slowly revealed I was just so sad that this family had allowed the inability to speak openly at the time had caused such a long rift. I can understand it though because when you fall out with a family member, the longer it goes on the harder it is to ever get things back. I thought this was such a beautiful novel and it did make me cry – they were cathartic tears though and ultimately this book gave me hope. I adored it and recommend it!
Matilda by Roald Dahl
I was a little too old for this book when it first came out but I had loved other Roald Dahl books as I was growing up (Danny the Champion of the World was my favourite back then!). So when my baby brother was old enough to have this read to him, there was no way anyone else was getting the chance but me (this was almost 30 years ago now)! I’m so glad I made time to re-read it recently as I loved it as much as I ever did. Matilda is such a brilliant character, one you root for all the way through the book. I remember getting absorbed in my very own copy of Oliver Twist when I was 9 and while I was nowhere near as precocious as Matilda I could identify with the way adults didn’t believe I could read at that level on my own. I loved the humour in this book, Roald Dahl had such a talent for capturing children’s imaginations but also making his books fun for adults to (re-)read too. I adore this book and now want to re-read my whole Roald Dahl collection!