THE SWITCH by Beth O’Leary (Quercus £8.99, 368 pp)
by Beth O’Leary (Quercus £8.99, 368 pp)
Bright, ambitious, with a flatshare in fashionable East London and a handsome boyfriend, Leena Cotton is living the dream. But when she has a panic attack during a presentation, her perfect life starts to unravel.
On sabbatical from work, she goes to stay with her 79-year-old grandmother, Eileen, who lives in the tiny Yorkshire village of Hamleigh. They are both mourning the death of Leena’s sister, Carla, and Eileen’s husband has recently walked out.
On impulse, they decide to swap lives: Leena will take over Eileen’s village duties, while Eileen goes to London in search of love (she may be 79, but it’s never too late).
O’Leary’s funny, heartwarming novel about finding your true self in unexpected places will bring a tear to your eye and a smile to your face.
by Lisa Jewell (Arrow £8.99, 432 pp)
Saffyre Maddox is 17 years old, clever and troubled. She lives with her beloved uncle, Aaron, who would do anything to make her happy, including arranging for her to see a therapist, Roan Fours.
Roan and his wife, Cate, live in a posh part of Hampstead, North London, not far from Saffyre’s grotty estate. Their marriage isn’t perfect — Roan had an affair soon after their wedding, and Cate works hard to maintain a normal family life for their teenaged children.
When young women are sexually assaulted in the neighbourhood, and Saffyre goes missing, suspicion falls on Roan and Cate’s creepy neighbour, Owen.
Lisa Jewell’s dark and twisty thriller explores the murkier reaches of the human psyche, confounding expectations as it reaches a shocking denouement.
THE NATURAL HEALTH SERVICE by Isabel Hardman (Atlantic £9.99, 336pp)
THE NATURAL HEALTH SERVICE
by Isabel Hardman (Atlantic £9.99, 336pp)
In 2015, Isabel Hardman received a Journalist Of The Year award for her political reporting. A year later, she suffered a breakdown at the Conservative party conference.
It emerged that she was suffering from PTSD — the result of a past trauma which she does not reveal.
Recovering with the help of medication and therapy, she discovered another kind of health service: ‘a great outdoors which made me want to keep living’, with its benefits for mental health that have become all too evident during the recent Covid lockdowns.
Hardman makes it clear that her forays into wild swimming, bird watching and orchid hunting weren’t a complete cure, but she argues a passionate and persuasive case that a closer connection with nature would be good for us all.
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