Tag Archives: village life

The Switch, by Beth O’Leary

13 Sep

48946446. sy475 Format: Audiobook ARC, narrated by Alison Steadman and Daisy Edgar-Jones (e-book 333 pages)

Publisher: Macmillan Audio

Published: 18 August 2020

ISBN: 9781250751850

Genre: Women’s fiction

Back cover blurb: 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.

My review: This was such a fun story with an unusual pair of heroines, a burned-out Londoner grieving the death of her sister and her 79-year-old grandmother from a small village near Leeds. I really enjoyed how they were both looking for more out of life, and how much they embraced each other’s lifestyles as they initiated the swap where Leena took over her gran’s responsibilities in the village while Eileen got herself on Tinder and flatted with Leena’s friends in Shoreditch. There’s a wonderful cast of friends and neighbours, all of whom I could see clearly in my mind, and although Leena infuriated me near the end, the ending was very satisfying.

I listened to the Netgalley audiobook narrated by the wonderful Alison Steadman (Pride and Prejudice‘s Mrs Bennet) and Daisy Edgar-Jones (Normal People), and although I thought Steadman was probably a little young to play a 79-year-old, they were both fabulous. (The Netgalley app, though, is horrendous and I do not recommend. It kept losing my place and sending me back to the very beginning, or if I paused in the middle of a chapter it would restart from the beginning of the chapter before. Very frustrating! I hope they fix that soon.)

Beth O’Leary is an author I will now keep a keen eye out for. I’m eager to read her other work.

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 5/5




We All Begin As Strangers, by Harriet Cummings

13 Jul

34907292Format: e-ARC, 315 pages

Publisher: Hachette Australia

Published: 26 April 2017

ISBN: 9781409169055

Genre: Mystery & Thrillers

Back cover blurb: How well do you really know your neighbours?

In the small English village of Heathcote the temperatures are rising as summer sets in, as is the sense of unease. It started with small things at first – a perfume bottle being moved, a photograph left behind in someone’s house. Harmless enough. But now Anna is missing.

As the search for Anna gathers pace, suspicion grows and secrets are revealed. Surely one of the villagers can’t be responsible? But then how well do you really know what’s going on behind closed doors…

Praise for WE ALL BEGIN AS STRANGERS – a quirky, darkly atmospheric mystery:
‘Suspense, plot twists and drama make this an exciting read to the very read’ THE POOL

‘A dazzling debut…beautifully plotted, fantastically written and compellingly strange’ DAILY MAIL

My review: Really enjoyed this book told from five POVs about a village under siege from a mysterious burglar who breaks into people’s houses but often doesn’t take anything. It’s based on a true story, although one much more sinister, and reminded me a lot of the Broadchurch TV series, where everyone in the village is a suspect and vigilantes run amok. The different POVs remind us that everyone has secrets they keep from their neighbours, often for good reason. All the characters’ POVs were touching and I really felt badly for how each one was treated. A very good debut novel.

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 4/5