Swapping Lives

by

Author: Green, Jane

Title: Swapping Lives

Genre: Chick Lit/Audiobook

Publication Date: 2005

Geographical Setting: Highfield, Connecticut & London

Time Period: present day

Series: no

Plot Summary: Vicky Townsley is a 35-year-old editor at a popular women’s magazine in London who is convinced that her real life can only begin once she is married with children. But first she needs to find a man who is ready for commitment. Amber Winslow is a wealthy wife and mother in Connecticut with a mansion, a gardener, and a full-time nanny. She loves her husband and children but feels as though her life has become a meaningless competition. When Amber and Vicky trade lives for a month as part of a magazine contest, both women get a chance to live the life they think they want. But both women come to realize that the grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence.

This audiobook, narrated by British actress Rosalyn Landor using many different voices and accents, features plenty of dialogue, a contemporary plot that is character-centered but engaging, and an intriguing concept of switching lives. Although the two main characters seem perfect on the outside, the author relates their inner struggles in detail. Secondary characters are easily recognizable but fun: the supportive friend, the ladies man boyfriend, the catty “friends” at the fundraisers. The settings—both London and a wealthy suburb in Connecticut—provide a peek at glamorous jobs and lifestyles, with plenty of descriptions of fabulous homes and designer fashions. The dialogue and plot get a bit racy at times, with plenty of talk of “shagging” and some strong language. Despite the sometimes melodramatic introspective musings of the two main characters, this book is basically a light read, with a happy ending for all involved.

Appeal Terms: humorous, romantic, chick lit, detailed, inner dialogue, glamorous, motherhood, relationships, light read, self discovery, British customs, romance, happy ending, Connecticut, London, marital problems, fresh starts, suburban, quick read, role reversal, identity crisis, fashion-centered, familiar characters, introspective, multiple points of view, sympathetic, character-centered, domestic, multiple plot lines, racy, rich and famous, strong language, contemporary, emotionally charged, melodramatic

Subject Headings: women’s magazines (fiction), London (fiction), role reversal (fiction), housewives (fiction), Connecticut (fiction), women and dating (fiction), marriage (fiction), suburban living (fiction), motherhood (fiction), identity

Three Terms that Best Describe the Book: glamorous, identity crisis, character-centered

Three Nonfiction Titles:

The Handbag: An Illustrated History by Caroline Cox
– Examines the history of handbag design within the context of changing society and women’s roles in it

Little Black Book of London by Vesna Neskow
– This travel guide features insider recommendations and full-color neighborhood maps that pinpoint landmarks, museums, entertainment, pubs, clubs, and hotels in London

Queen Bees & Wannabees: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and Other Realities of Adolescence by Rosalind Wiseman
– The characters in Swapping Lives could learn a few things from this book about cliques and social climbing girls

Three Fiction Titles:

Sushi for Beginners by Marian Keyes
– Depicts the lives of three women in the fashion magazine industry, exploring the trials and tribulations as well as the happiness and joy of true friends in the fast-paced world of love and career.

I Don’t Know How She Does It: The Life of Kate Reddy, Working Mother by Allison Pearson
– Kate Reddy, a hedge fund manager and mother of two, struggles to juggle her professional and personal lives and to balance work and home.

Goodnight Nobody by Jennifer Weiner
– A celebrity gossip reporter turned suburban Connecticut housewife sets out to solve the mystery of a super mom found dead on the floor of kitchen in this light mystery.

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