Skip to main content

Review: Swapping Lives, by Jane Green

Swapping Lives is a story whose theme covers an often-discussed topic: what would it be like to step into the shoes of someone else?

Vicky is 35, has a job as Features Editor at Poise Magazine in London, and seems to have the perfect single life. Deep down, however, she's unhappy. She wants to be married, to have the comfort and safety of a large country home. On the other side of the pond is Amber, a housewife in Connecticuit who keeps being compared to the characters from Desperate Housewives. She's married to a Wall Street broker and has two children, and spends her free time doing events for the local Ladies' League. She also has a huge wardrobe full of designer clothes. Her life, too seems perfect.

But Amber is tired of keeping up with the Joneses, and wants to have a taste of what its like to be single again. And idea is hatched: Poise will hold a Life Swap, in which Vicky will switch lives with a housewife for a month. She'll wear the women's clothes and do all the tings the housewife would normally do. When none of the candidates from England proove to be acceptable, Vicky responds to a letter from Amber--and ends up falling in love, briefly, with the life she leads. Therein follows a string of interesting occurences in which Vicky tries to be the typical American housewife and mother and Amber attempts to live the life of a single woman in London--in the process fending off Vicky's old admirers.

This book had several major flaws. First of all, it took until more than halfway through the book for the swap to actually occur. Jane Green kept setting the mood for more than 200 pages, pages that could have been devoted more to the experiences the women have when they switch. Also, Vicky and Amber decide, after all of this and only two weeks in their new lives, to switch back again! After all the energy that was put into building the characters, there's this anticlimax that is disappointing. The subject of this book is rehashed material and the ending is predictable; the women find that they prefer their own lives, after all. Jane Green should stick to writing about single girls--even though, as a mother of four, I suspect that getting into that mindset would be difficult. However, Green's earlier books were much more fun to read.


Anonymous said…
I wil have to check this out-thanks!
Have you reviewed Princess Bubble? Being a single girl, I love this book!

Popular posts from this blog

Review: Forever Amber, by Kathleen Winsor

Pages: 972 Originally published: 1944 My edition: 2000 (Chicago Review Press) How I acquired my copy:, 2004

Forever Amber takes place in the 1660s, immediately follwing Charles II's ("the Merry Monarch") return of the Stuarts to the English throne. The book features Amber St. Claire, a young woman who starts out as a sixteen-year-old country girl, naieve to the workings of the world. She immediately meets Bruce Carlton, a dashing young Cavalier, with whom she has a passionate love affair in choppy intervals throughout the book. They have two children together, but Bruce won't marry her for the reason he tells his friend Lord Almsbury: that Amber just isn't the kind of woman one marries.

Upon following Bruce to London, he goes to Virginia, leaving her to fend for herself. What follows is a series of affairs and four marriages, with Bruce coming back from America now and then. Amber's marriages are imprudent: her first husband is a gambler, her second is…

Review: Jane Austen's Letters, ed. by Deirdre Le Faye

Pages: 667 Original date of publication: 2011 My copy: 2011 (Oxford University Press) Why I decided to read: How I acquired my copy:, April 2013
This is a compilation of many of Jane Austen’s letters, most of them sent to her sister Cassandra between 1796 and 1817, the year of her death. Although many of Austen’s letters were destroyed by her sister in order to preserve the family reputation, the collection contains over 160 letters in which Austen gives her sister details about her life in Chawton—as well as giving us a tantalizing glimpse of what was going through her mind as she was writing her novels (especially the novel that was to become Pride and Prejudice, First Impressions). There are other letters here, too, giving advice to her niece and professional correspondence to publishers—as well as a couple of letters that were written by Cassandra Austen after Jane’s death.
To the sisters, the letters acted in the way that phone calls do today; Austen’s news is all about pe…

Review: Midnight in Peking, by Paul French

Pages: 259 Original date of publication: 2013 My copy: 2013 (Penguin) Why I decided to read: How I acquired my copy: Phoenix bookstore, May 2013
In January 1937, the body of a young British girl, Pamela Werner, was found near Peking’s Fox Tower. Although two detectives, one British and the other Chinese, spent months on the case, the case was never solved completely, and the case was forgotten in the wake of the invasion of the Japanese. Frustrated, Pamela’s father, a former diplomat, tried to solve the crime. His investigation took him into the underbelly of Peking society and uncovered a secret that was worse than anything he could have imagined.
At first, I thought that this would be a pretty straightforward retelling of a true crime, but what Paul French (who spent seven years researching the story) reveals in this book is much more than that. Foreign society in Peking in the 1930s was stratified, with the British colonials at the top and the White Russian refugees at the bottom, but…