Management consultant Leena Cotton has reached a breaking point. It’s been almost a year since her sister Carla died and she’s lost her focus. It took a meltdown during an important presentation for her to take a two-month sabbatical, forced upon her by her company. Her beloved grandmother Eileen invites her to leave London and return to her hometown for a respite and repair her broken relationship with her mother. Once there, Leena helps the recently divorced Eileen set up a dating site profile but realizes pickings are slim in their small Yorkshire town. Eileen comes up with the idea that they switch locations for the next two months. She’ll live with Leena’s flatmates and Leena can stay and assume her responsibilities. They decide to do it and the results are surprising and not without consequence.
One of my very picky international friends (that’s you Inge) raved about this book so I added it to my shelf early while I waited for the US editions to arrive. I also knew I wanted the audio version and I’m so very glad I waited. Two narrators were used for the voices of Leena and Eileen and both were wonderful. Surprisingly, the 79-year old Eileen was the one that captured my heart. She was willing to completely put herself out there after having been dumped by her husband and ended up winning over everyone within her orbit in London. Leena’s journey was rockier as she needed to heal, make peace with her mother and come to terms with her sister’s death. Both women were interesting in their own rights with lots of heart and skills.
There were many laugh out loud moments but the foundation of this story was bolstered by the strength of these two women and a host of well defined secondary characters. Leena may have been a bit damaged but was not down and out. She eventually made her mark in her hometown and regained her equilibrium. Eileen never let her age be an excuse for anything and used the occasion of her husband’s abandonment to embrace a more vibrant life. Both narrators did these characters justice and made a wonderful story even more delightful. I’d expected to be entertained but was unprepared for one of such substance. Another book where I was sad to reach the end.
(P.S. – It’s being developed into a feature film starring The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’s Rachel Brosnahan!)
- Release Date: August 8, 2020
- Narrators: Alison Steadman, Daisy Edgar-Jones
- Audio Length: 10 hours, 30 minutes
- Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Libro.fm
(Thanks to NetGalley and Libro.fm for my complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.)