Book Review: The Switch by Lynsay Sands

Book Review: The Switch by Lynsay Sands

Rating: 4 Stars

Published November 26th 2013 by HarperAudio (first published 1999)
Summary: When they first met Lord Jeremy William Radcliffe, Charlie and her twin sister, Elizabeth were escaping from their uncle-taking turns acting the young gentleman to avoid detection. But Charlie couldn’t help falling head over heels-and out of a window-for the handsome lord. Of course, that was only the beginning; Lord Radcliffe insisted on showing “him” and her lovely sister to London.

But how could he do that? With every touch, Radcliffe seemed unknowingly to incite indecent desires in Charlie, and his fraternal intent was certain to land her in a fine mess. Though it was a great game to play a boy, there was more fun in being female. And after one brush of his fiery lips when her guise was gone, Charlie swore to be nothing but his fiery woman forevermore.
(from Goodreads)

Review: If I had to pick a favorite trope, it would be women disguised as men. Ever since I was 11 and read Tamora Pierce’s Song of the Lioness series, I was hooked. I especially love when the male lead gets feelings for the woman in her man-disguise and starts to question his sexuality (and/or sanity!), or decided he loves whom he loves regardless of their gender (that last doesn’t happen often, I will admit).

I love that Charlie and Beth trade off who is Elizabeth (the sister) and who is Charles (the brother), and the number that does on Radcliffe. Speaking of Radcliffe, I didn’t care him very much as a male lead. He is overbearing and condescending and I wanted to punch him in the nose half the time. Beth also grated on my nerves, and the twins say Beth is the steady and level-headed one, but she just came off as spoiled to me (though she does have some personal growth throughout the story, which I appreciate). I loved Charlie with her madcap ideas, her need to rescue every troubled stray she finds, and even her motion sickness (which I can totally relate to – the motion sickness, I mean). Charlie is brave and bold and sensual and self-sacrificing, all of which I really admire. I just wish Radcliffe was someone I admired more. I will say that while usually the duped male lead is upset to find out he’d been tricked, Radcliffe took the reveal in stride (though that likely had as much to do with his relief that he wasn’t gay as anything else) rather than having a hissy fit about it, so I will credit him that. He also goes to some rather (ahem) extreme lengths to rescue Charlie, which was funny. Some of his attempts to “help” Charlie are also pretty hilarious, such as a trip to the brothel to help him lose his virginity and “man up,” a trip to the gambling house to teach him the dangers of gambling (except Radcliffe’s plans never seem to go quite as he plans…)

I listened to the audiobook as narrated by Fiona Hardingham. I quite enjoyed her performance, and Ms. Hardingham made the sometimes antiquated language of the novel seem quite natural.

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