4.0 10
by Olivia Goldsmith

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Sylvie Schiffer at 40 has a life most women dream about: a gorgeous home in the exclusive suburb of Shaker Heights, two perfect teenage children, a successful husband with a lucrative luxury car dealership. Sylvie has everything, it seems, but what she wants most: passion and romance — moonlit cruises, holding hands, gazing at the stars. "When

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Sylvie Schiffer at 40 has a life most women dream about: a gorgeous home in the exclusive suburb of Shaker Heights, two perfect teenage children, a successful husband with a lucrative luxury car dealership. Sylvie has everything, it seems, but what she wants most: passion and romance — moonlit cruises, holding hands, gazing at the stars. "When you're married," Sylvie sighs, "you don't even get kissed on the mouth."

With building the business, raising the babies and creating their home, she and Bob hadn't found much time to focus on love. But now that the twins are off to college and the business is blooming, Sylvie is sure they will make their marriage bloom. So she believes until one day she does the laundry and notices those incriminating credit card receipts. Her husband has found romance, but it isn't with her.

Bob is having an affair.

Shocked and enraged, Sylvie fantasizes about a bullet to the leg (just to make Bob lame) — followed by a hefty settlement. Her mother begs her to calm down: Her marriage is worth saving. Sylvie's having none of that. Out for blood, she sets off to confront Marla, the other woman. What she finds, however, is not what she expects. Looking at Marla is like gazing back in time: Except for 10 years and 15 pounds, Marla could be her twin. Marla has the best of Bob's love — flowers, hot sex, breathy phone calls, candlelit dinner — yet she admits to Sylvie that she lacks the thing she wants most: a husband and home of her own. "When you're single," Marla sighs, "you have to smell good 24 hours a day."

Going beyond revenge, Sylvie hatches a brilliant scheme to make them both winners and bring Bob to his knees. But will they end up with what they want or walk away empty-handed and broken-hearted?

No one defines modern love, work and sexual warfare better than New York Times  bestselling author Olivia Goldsmith. In her most surprisingly ingenious novel yet, she once again speaks as the voice for her gender when she points out a truth not universally acknowledged until now: All wives yearn for the romance of being a mistress and all mistresses yearn for the security of being a wife.

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Editorial Reviews

Entertainment Weekly
Though dazzlingly implausible in a 'Freaky Friday'-meets-Ivana Trump kind of way... one can already imagine Goldie Hawn capering about in the movie.
Cleveland Plain Dealer
Delightful...frothy...slapstick comedy at its best.
Naples Daily News
Simply hilarious. Guaranteed entertainment.
An oasis in the emotionaldesert of popular fiction.
Kirkus Reviews
More monumental high-concept from Goldsmith (Marrying Mom, 1996, etc.), this time in a wonderfully funny fable about a wife and mistress who reverse rolesþand a husband who apparently can't tell the difference. Sylvie Schiffer lives in happy domestic comfort with perfect husband Bob in a well-ordered colonial home in the plush Ohio suburb of Shaker Heights. There, Sylvie is surrounded by her perfect family (including her outspoken mother Mildred, who owns a ceramic store called Potz Bayou); she brews perfect cups of aromatic tea; she plays a perfect Steinway piano with an ebony lacquer finish; and in winter a fireplace fills her music room with the comforting scent of applewood. But not all is well in Sylvie's middle-class paradise. She's turning 40, her children are in college, and she wouldn't mind some marital passion to take up residence in her empty nest. But Bob, whose greatest passion seems to be his BMW "Beautiful Baby," hasn't made love to her in months; instead, he's found a delicious little number by the name of Marla (does Donald Trump live in vain?), who works as a reflexologist (with a little toe-sucking on the side) and who incidentally looks a lot like a younger version of Sylvie. When Sylvie discovers the resemblance, she hatches a plot to "switcheroo" with Marlaþshe'll find out what it's like to be loved by her husband again, and Marla can experience the joys of having a man of her very own and a kitchen with an island in the middle. In another of Goldsmith's trademark transformations, Sylvie gets a face-life and tones up, while Marla eats banana-cream pies to fill out. It all culminates with a hilarious Thanksgiving when Marla, the non-wife, attempts toroast 28 frozen squabs. Contrived, yes, but hysterically funnyþand after reflecting on the invisibility of women, the reader may find it no more contrived than, say, a Shakespearean comedy. (Film rights to New Line Cinema; $200,000 ad/promo; author tour; TV satellite tour)

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Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.12(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.93(d)

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Chapter One

Sylvie stood for a moment in the cool, dark hallway. It was the only dim place in the house and, though Sylvie loved the light--in fact, had fallen in love with the house for its light--she always found the comparative darkness of the hall a welcome contrast. She told herself that she really had too much to do to stand still here, one hand on the simple carved mahogany of the banister. She put her thumb on the comforting place where the curve of the wood had been worn flat by years of other thumbs. You don't have time to linger here, she told herself sternly. But despite her admonishment, just for a moment, she would enjoy this quiet. She listened to the tiny creaks the old house made and the comforting tick of the wall clock, then forced herself to pick up the cup of tea she'd left on the sideboard. The jasmine smell filled her head.
Sylvie began to walk down the hall but, as always, glanced first into the dining room, then the living room opposite before moving down the hall toward the music room. Oh, she loved her house. It wasn't large by Shaker Heights standards--just a center-hall colonial with only three bedrooms. But visitors, once in it, were always surprised by the grand dimensions and dignity of the house. Each of the downstairs four rooms was exactly the same size: all of them were large, light, airy rooms with ten-foot ceilings and long, high windows. Bob, at one time, had suggested they sell the house and buy a bigger one, but Sylvie had been aghast and had steadfastly refused. She didn't need a guest room--guests stayed next door at her mother's or camped out on the music room sofa. She didn't need a family room: all the roomsdownstairs were for the family.
Sylvie knew how lucky she was, and she didn't take her good fortune for granted. Bob sometimes laughed at her for her little habit of checking each room. "Do you think they're going away?" he'd ask. Or "Are you looking for something?" he'd inquire. "Not for, at," she'd tell him. She was looking at her home, a place she had created slowly, over time, with Bob and the children. And she never wanted to be complacent about it.
Now Sylvie knew more surely than ever that she'd been right to not even consider selling the house. Perhaps in the old days they'd been the smallest bit cramped, but what would they do now with a larger place? Without the twins at home, the two bedrooms upstairs did stand empty, yet the rest of the house seemed to enfold and protect her. It was not a house too big for a couple, and perhaps someday when Sylvie was used to the idea that the children were gone she could turn one of their rooms upstairs into a proper guest room. Maybe she'd make a den for Bob out of the other. Then he wouldn't have to leave his paperwork all over the desk in the corner of the dining room, though lately he hadn't used it much, or at least kept it much neater than usual.
Sylvie moved down the hall to the music room, carrying her cup of tea before her as if the luminous white china could light her way like a lamp. She had only a few minutes before her first lesson and turned into the music room to see the usual organized clutter of sheet music, Schirmer's Piano for New Students piled beside A Hundred Simple Piano Tunes and Chopin's Sonatas. Her gray sweater lay across the bench of the Steinway, but nothing--ever--sat on its beautiful ebony lacquered top. Sylvie felt a little shiver of pleasure as she walked into the room. There was a touch of fall in the air and she closed one of the long windows. It was too early for a fire but, with the approach of autumn, she knew that soon the time she liked best in this room, the time when she gave lessons and played while apple wood burned in the grate behind her, was just ahead. Though she certainly missed the twins, this season was always a good time for her; September, when the children had begun school and she'd gone back to her full routine of piano lessons. It felt as if the year were beginning. Students returned from their summer holidays. Sylvie remembered that Jewish people actually celebrated their New Year about now. It made sense to her.
No reason to be sad, she told herself. No empty nest syndrome here, just because the children were no longer at Shaker Heights Elementary or Grover Cleveland High. Her daughter, Irene--Reenie to the family--would settle in at Bennington, and her twin brother, Kenny, already seemed perfectly happy at Northwestern. So, Sylvie told herself, she should settle in and be happy too. She was about to celebrate her fortieth birthday and was planning a treat. Bob had asked what she wanted and she'd finally decided. After all, she wanted romance. She had everything else.
Sylvie stopped for a moment, sipped her tea, and reflected on how many marriages in their neighborhood had failed. She and Bob were one of the lucky couples. They were happy. They loved each other. But she had to admit that sometimes she felt . . . well, Bob was always so busy. She'd expected he'd have more time once the kids were gone, but it was only she who had more time. He had filled up his agenda with campaigning, men's club meetings, and business. But now Sylvie would help him take the time so they could discover themselves as a couple once again. She herself could focus a little more on Bob. Men liked that, even men as evolved as Bob. She'd already ordered some nice nightgowns from Victoria's Secret. She'd make romantic dinners. She'd bought three bottles of champagne and had them hidden in the old refrigerator in the garage, waiting for a spontaneous moment to reveal one with a flourish and let Bob pop the cork.
Sylvie smiled to herself. She wanted to lie in bed with Bob in the morning and talk and giggle instead of letting him jump up, shower, and shave by half past seven. She wanted to sit out in the backyard in the coolness of the October evenings, wrapped in a blanket with him beside her, gazing up at the stars. She wanted to spend a Sunday morning poking around a flea market, sipping coffee from a Styrofoam cup held in one hand with Bob holding the other. She looked around at her lovely room and smiled with anticipation. Switcheroo. Copyright � by Olivia Goldsmith. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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What People are saying about this

Ruth Coughlin
"Goldsmith... is an often hilarious writer, and she's at full-tilt boogie here. Goldsmith is good at depicting the war between the sexes, especially when it comes to getting beneath the skin of a woman scorned. SWITCHEROO... [is] filled with comic touches and terrific one-liners. Frothy as a frappe, it's slapstick comedy at its best."
Margaret Ann Hanes
"Goldsmith's story line is full of warm and witty secondary characters; lost of humor, including a hilariously funny Thanksgiving family dinner; and a resolution that seems, well, perfectly fitting for two women who believe the grass is always greener. A requisite purchase for any public library with popular fiction readers."
R. Hunter Garcia
"In her seventh novel, SWITCHEROO, [Goldsmith] returns to the topic of women's revenge against philandering men... SWITCHEROO deliver[s] some earnest passages on the heartbreaks of being wife or mistress."

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