Two women change their lives to rediscover themselves in this novel.
Olivia Westcoat is a writer in South Carolina who has lost interest in the direction of her blog. She’s sick of the high-society drama she’s been covering and yearns to write a book. Lena Browder is a wife and mother who is in desperate need of an escape from her abusive husband and ungrateful daughter. Both women hop on a plane and leave their troubles behind, bumping into each other at an airport on a layover. The old college friends decide to swap houses for a month, with Olivia traveling to Lena’s small vacation cottage in the Northern Neck of Virginia and Lena heading to Olivia’s chic condo in Charleston. Though it takes time to adjust to the pace of their new lives, Lena and Olivia begin to relax and envision a new future. Lena rediscovers her love of photography as she wanders the streets of Charleston and engages with the city’s friendly residents. And in the quiet of a river cottage, Olivia unwinds and begins her novel. Yet their life swap is not without complications. Olivia finds herself falling for the handsome widower next door, who is still struggling with his wife’s death and his relationships with his children. And Lena stumbles across a case of elder abuse and ends up in some serious legal trouble. Though Farley’s (Only One Life, 2019, etc.) novel touches on some serious themes, such as abuse and the loss of a loved one, this story is really a modern-day fairy tale with some enjoyable but unsurprising events. Her main characters are well crafted and relatable, though some of the supporting cast lacks nuance. Lena’s acquaintance Jade is a classic villain who is “evil and manipulative” while Lena’s daughter promptly and somewhat inexplicably matures in the space of a few weeks. But maybe that’s all part of the fairy tale. And who doesn’t love a story of good versus evil that seems headed for a happy ending?
Swapping houses never looked so good in this light and sweet romantic comedy.