Swapping Lives

( 61 )

Overview

What if a successful, single Londoner and a comfortable, Connecticut mother of two were to walk in each other's shoes for a month? Vicky Townsley is the director of Poise! magazine and lives a glamorous London life. She has everything she wants-except marriage, children, and a house in the country. Amber Winslow has a stone mansion in Connecticut, two kids, and a nanny, but she hasn't found the fulfillment she had expected from being a wife and mother. When she spots an intriguing contest in Poise! Amber ...

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Swapping Lives

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Overview

What if a successful, single Londoner and a comfortable, Connecticut mother of two were to walk in each other's shoes for a month? Vicky Townsley is the director of Poise! magazine and lives a glamorous London life. She has everything she wants-except marriage, children, and a house in the country. Amber Winslow has a stone mansion in Connecticut, two kids, and a nanny, but she hasn't found the fulfillment she had expected from being a wife and mother. When she spots an intriguing contest in Poise! Amber impulsively enters, never expecting to be picked.

A must-read for every modern woman who's ever considered the road not taken, Swapping Lives is a warm and realistic chronicle of two women who do more than wonder if the grass is greener on the other side of the Atlantic.

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Editorial Reviews

People
Green's writing is deliciously witty and her heroines authentic. This is a charming book that demands, 'Read me in one sitting!'
Toronto Sun
A perfect summer read ... funny, poignant.
Publishers Weekly
Vicky Townsley, single and successful features director of Poise! magazine in London, thinks that marriage and children are all she needs to be happy. Amber Winslow, wife and mother living in Highfield, Conn., feels like her life is out of control. When Poise! offers to help them switch lives in the interest of a magazine article, Vicky and Amber eagerly agree. What they find is that their own lives aren't so bad, and that happiness comes from within (nothing startling here). Landor's overly affected takes on British and American accents are more distracting than enhancing. Her high-pitched children's voices are annoying and her male characters ring false. The lightweight story is enjoyable but overlong. An abridged version that trimmed back on the nonstop inner dialogue and detail-filled scenes would have probably made for a less draggy audiobook. Simultaneous release with the Viking hardcover (Reviews, Apr. 17). (July) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Vicky Townsley, stunning, single, and a successful features director at a hip London magazine, longs for the simple life: a country home, a couple of big dogs, gorgeous children, and a wonderful husband. Meanwhile, Connecticut housewife Amber Winslow is bogged down with the responsibilities of social climbing and motherhood that are part of her picture-perfect life in the idyllic suburbs. Vicky is so desperate to find out what life would be like as a happily married mother that she assigns herself a story that requires swapping lives. And Amber is the lucky recipient of this twist on Wife Swap and Trading Spouses. The experiment gives both women the excuse to get away from their lives and find out if the grass really is greener. Of course, it takes only a few short weeks for both to appreciate the paths they've chosen for themselves. Green's (The Other Woman) witty blend of chick lit and mom lit allows readers to escape and live vicariously through these two characters. Recommended for all popular fiction collections.-Anika Fajardo, Coll. of St. Catherine Lib., St. Paul, MN Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The British Green, master of the career-girl novel (if your idea of a career girl includes Manolos and a Birkin bag) switches the lives of a pampered American housewife and a London magazine editor, with predictable results. Thirty-five-year-old Amber Winslow seems to have it all: a McMansion in a Connecticut suburb, a walk-in closet filled with couture, two beautiful children and a doting husband. But of course life in-is it Stepford?-isn't as rosy as it seems. Her Jamaican nanny is all but raising the children; Amber lives in a state of anxiety that one of the League ladies is besting her; and she has this nagging feeling that her whole life is a useless sham. Across the Atlantic, Vicky Townsley is also yearning for what she doesn't have-a country home with kids, a big dog and a husband. At 35, she is the features editor at Poise! magazine and enjoys a glamorously hectic social life and a dishy friend (with benefits) who lives around the block. Thanks to a contest sponsored by the magazine, the two women swap lives for a month, bringing with them little more than a toothbrush and underwear. For both, the situation reaffirms that they really do love their life/family, but for Amber, there are some added realizations that the superficiality of her life is interfering with her sense of self. Good for Amber and Vicky and destination epiphany. The real question is whether the journey is enough for the reader-and it mostly is. Green skewers Connecticut suburbia with a gleeful relish, and she hits the right marks with sympathetic Londoner Vicky, a quirky, imperfect heroine who keeps a pair of fat pants at the back of her closet. Clothes, bags, shoes, romance, self-acceptance-all we've come toexpect and done well enough.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780452288508
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 5/29/2007
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 513,224
  • Product dimensions: 5.36 (w) x 7.98 (h) x 0.92 (d)

Meet the Author

Jane Green

Jane Green was born and brought up in London. After abandoning a Fine Art degree and a stint in journalism, she went into public relations and worked for a time on This Morning. Jane then went back into the newspaper world and became a popular feature writer with the Daily Express, before going freelance and starting her first novel. A string of international bestsellers and marriage to an American later, Jane now lives in Connecticut – but flies home to London as often as four children and lots of animals allow.

Jane's hugely successful books include; Straight Talking, Jemima J., Mr Maybe, Bookends, Babyville, Spellbound, The Other Woman and Life Swap. Her latest novel is Second Chance.

Biography

British import Jane Green is a founding member of the genre known as "chick lit," a literary territory populated by funny, likable, underdog heroines who triumph over life's adversities and find true love in the end. If someone turned Green's life into a novel, she might emerge as a chick-lit heroine herself. She toiled for years in the trenches of entertainment journalism and public relations (two fields that sound far more glamorous than they are!) before moving up to become a popular feature writer for The Daily Express in London.

In 1996, Green took a leap in faith when she left the paper to freelance and work on a novel. Seven months later, she had a publishing deal for her first book, Straight Talking, the saga of a single career girl looking for (what else?) the right man. The novel was a hit in England, and Green was, as she admitted in a Barnes & Noble interview, an "overnight success." The success got even sweeter when her second novel, Jemima J, became an international bestseller. Cosmopolitan called this cheerful, updated Cinderella story "the kind of novel you'll gobble up in a single sitting."

Since then, Green has graduated to more complex, character-driven novels that explore the concerns of real women's lives, from marriage (The Other Woman) to motherhood (Babyville) to midlife crises (Second Chance) -- all served up with her trademark wit and warmth. Whether she has outgrown chick lit or the genre itself is growing up, one thing seems certain: The career of Jane Green is destined for a happy ending.

Good To Know

Some outtakes from our interview with Green:

"My life is actually very boring. The life of a bestselling novelist sounds like it ought to be spectacularly glamorous and fun, but in fact I spend most of my time incognito, and in fact were you to pass me in the street you would think I was just another dowdy suburban mom."

"I'm still a failed artist at heart and never happier than when I'm sitting behind an easel, painting, which is something I rarely do these days, although I have a few of my paintings around the house, competing, naturally, with far greater works."

"I am completely addicted to gossip magazines that are, I have decided, my secret shame. I know everything there is to know about who's been wearing what and where, the only problem is I have an inability to retain it, so although I enjoy it whilst flicking through the pages, as soon as I close the magazine all the information is gone."

"I am a passionate gardener and happiest when outside planting, particularly with the children, who have their own vegetable gardens."

"My favorite way to unwind is with friends, at home, with lots of laughter and lots of delicious food. I'm a horrible baker -- everything collapses and tastes awful -- but a great cook, particularly comfort food: stews and casseroles."

"I have a deep and passionate love of America. It is where I have always thought I would be happiest, and although I miss England desperately, I find that my heart definitely has its home over here."

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    1. Also Known As:
      Mummy
    2. Hometown:
      Westport, Connecticut
    1. Date of Birth:
      May 31, 1968
    2. Place of Birth:
      London, England
    1. Education:
      "Managed to drop out of Fine Art Degree at University."
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 61 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(13)

4 Star

(21)

3 Star

(14)

2 Star

(8)

1 Star

(5)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 61 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2012

    Love Jane Green

    Swapping Lives is a cute, quick weekend read. Jane Green reminds us that the grass is not always greener on the other side. It's not her best book, but it is one that shouldn't be missed. The characters are real and likable, without being far fetched.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 14, 2011

    Good intentions but okay delivery

    I think the whole appreciate your life and things are not always better elsewhere is a good theme, but the author's delivery is not very catching. I thought the story was very slow, and I didn't grow attached to any one of the characters. I had sympathy for their situations and saw how real their problems can be, but it wasn't enough for me. The book just didn't hook me. It had good intentions, therefore I finished it, but I probably wouldn't reread it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 12, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    An interesting and enjoyable story.

    I've always enjoyed Jane Green's books and "Swapping Lives" is no exception. The story was interesting, but not a surprise since the subject of swapping something, homes, mates, work, etc has been around for awhile. The characters in the story were believable, especially Vicky and Amber. I read the book over a two day period, so for me it was a fast read, but an enjoyable read. I won't say it was one of Jane Green best, but it was still a wonderful read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2008

    Fun chick lit read

    I first picked up this book because I LOVE the show wife swap. This is probably my second favorite Jane Green book. You really get to now the characters in the story which make it so much more real than other authors do with their characters. At first I thought there was going to be a LOT more drama but was pleasntly surprised that there wasnt. (I didnt want another 'To have and to Hold' on my hands.) Read the book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2008

    Enjoyable. Hits it right on.

    I will say that I was very interested in this book all throughout but Green did take quite some time to get to the point she intended to make. I wish she would have developed some of the characters more. The main point of the book was fantastic in that the grass isn't always greener on the other side. I think we have all wondered at some point what it would be like to live our lives another way. I recommend this to anyone who enjoys witty writing and fun characters with vivid imagination.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 31, 2012

    Dull

    Kind of dull and the way its written grows annoying. I coildnt even finish.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2012

    Entertaining

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 3, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Get on with the swap

    I just finished Jemima J when I picked up this book. It definitely was not as enjoyable. Though I did enjoy this book, I couldn't help wondering when the swap was going to happen. You know it is going to happen based on the summary but it took forever to happen. When it did happen then the story was rushed with very little detail. Maybe it should have been titled Wishing to Swap Lives. Read Jemima J instead.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 26, 2009

    Not worth it.

    This was the first book of Jane Green's that i picked up. It was on the bargain table and the cover caught my eye. While reading about the book, I thought it was interesting. Boy was I wrong! This book was so boring I could not get into it. I read about a quarter to half of the book and was not impressed. So I asked friends of mine that were big fans of the author. They informed me that this book by far was the worste and not to bother finishing it if I didn't like it at this point.

    Because of this book I doubt I will pick up another Jane Green book.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2008

    Hard to get into

    This book only became good after the two women swapped lives...up until that point I found the book quite boring.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2008

    Fun and Believable

    Like all of Jane Green's books I've read, the characters in this are so believable and you get to know them very well. It was a very cute story with a happy ending (duh) and fun to read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2008

    A Lot of Fun

    Really enjoyed this - Laughed openly more than once!! A perfect vacation read 'even if you're not on vacation, you'll feel like it'

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2008

    so boring

    Jemima J was the first Jane Green book I read and no Jane Green book has come close to that book. This book was so boring, a complete waste of my time. She used the phrase, 'keeping up with the Joneses' so many times I wanted to scream. If she didn't add so much unnecessary dialogue, the book could have easily been 200 pages less.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2007

    The plot didn't really go anywhere!

    The author could've done a great job with this book, but she spent too much time restating things 'such as how the characters felt about their situations and so on', wasting precious material 'and space'! I can see where she wanted to go with this and that she had good intentions, but it got very repetitive! Wish she'd developed certain characters and aspects of the plot a little more! Still, I would be lying if I said I didn't enjoy the book...

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2007

    If You Enjoy Jane Green You Will Like This Book

    As a 'Book Swapper', with some ladies at my office I have read a lot of Jane Green books, even though she is not at the top of my list, her writing style is consistent. This book follows right along with her others, so if you are a Jane Green fan I think you will enjoy this book. Overall its a quick easy read with a funny storyline, but does tend to drag on with no major page-turning plots.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2007

    ADDICTING!

    I have read every book by Jane Green and this by far has been my favorite (it's a tie with Jemima J)! This book gets my recommendation any day!

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    A reviewer

    In London glamorous thirty-five year old single Vicky Townsley loves her work as the features director of Poise! magazine. Her only negative in her mind from living the perfect life is she wants a husband and children no prospects exist.-------------- In Highfield, Connecticut, wife and mother to two wonderful children, Amber Winslow loves her family and their affluent existence. Yet she feels life is passing her by as her identify as a thirty-five year old is attached to her loved ones and even that is tainted as the nanny raises the kids.--------------- Poise! offers Vicky and Amber an opportunity to swap roles in order to determine if the grass is greener on the other side of the pond. Both jumps at the opportunity and agree that an article or two would come out of trading places. Now Vicky and Amber learn the difference between dreaming and reality.-------------- At times amusing, the swap is fun to follow as the two women find the other¿s lifestyle not anything near what they expected. Vicky and Amber are fully developed characters with some of their traits coming across by others comparing them to the one they replaced. Although the rest of the cast is underachievers and the epiphanies that both women obtain are obviously coming from the moment of the initial swap, readers will enjoy this lighthearted romp as two women learn to appreciate what they already have by walking in the moccasins of the other.------------ Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2007

    Love Jane Green as Always!

    I love Jane Green books and to me, this one didn't disappoint. I could related to the book in some ways. I would recommend this book to anyone that is a Jane Green fan.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2007

    Not the best of Jane Greene

    After reading other Jane Greene books this was a disappointment. The plot was too simple and predictable and I found it a challenge just to finish the book. Definitely not one of my favorites.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 2006

    Jane Green is once again a hit!!

    A wonderful story about discovering happiness in your life. Jane Green is a wonderful author!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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