Book Review: The Switch by Beth O’Leary

“When people talk about loss, they always say you’ll never be the same, that it will change you, leave a hole in your life … But when you lose somebody you love, you don’t lose everything they gave you. They leave something with you.”

Published in 2020, The Switch by Beth O’Leary follows 79-year-old Eileen and her twenty-something granddaughter, Leena, who are both tired of life. So maybe it’s time they swapped places…

When overachiever Leena is ordered to take a two-month sabbatical, 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. So they decide to swap houses for two months. 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.

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My 2020 Reading Wrap-Up

Over the past couple of years, I have documented every film that I have watched and reviewed them all using Letterboxd. As a way to motivate myself to read more, I thought I would do the same for what books I have been reading, using Goodreads as a way to set myself a reading challenge every year.

I initially set my target as 25 books this year, but a few things happened that meant I reached this goal quite early on. Firstly, I had a baby, so this meant that I was awake at silly hours with plenty of time to read. Then, there was lockdown. Because of lockdown, I decided to join Bookstagram and NetGalley and get more serious about reviewing books. So now, instead of reading two books at most a month, I’ve been reading up to ten.

I upped my goal to 60 around halfway through the year, and still managed to pass that by reaching 74 books. This year has really rekindled my love of books, and I can’t wait to start 2021 with this new passion.

Here’s how my 2020 challenge went:

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Book Review: The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary

“My dad likes to say, ‘Life is never simple’. This is one of his favourite aphorisms. I actually think it’s incorrect. Life is often simple, but you don’t notice how simple it was until it gets incredibly complicated, like how you never feel grateful for being well until you’re ill, or how you never appreciate your tights drawer until you rip a pair and have no spares.”

Written by Beth O’Leary and published in 2019, The Flatshare follows Tiffy and Leon. They share a bed, but they have never met. Leon is a night nurse and has rented his apartment out during his working hours to earn some extra money. Tiffy is desperate after being dumped by her cheating boyfriend and urgently needs a new (and cheap) flat. The solution? To share a bed, of course… As Leon and Tiffy’s unusual arrangement becomes a reality, they start to connect through Post-It notes left for each other around the flat. At first, they’re only about what day is garbage day or polite requests to put the toilet seat down, but Tiffy and Leon soon feel like good friends. And then maybe more.

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