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Be inspired every day with Living North
Book covers
Staying in
March 2023
Reading time 2 Minutes

This month we've enjoyed reading two books by Maggie O'Farrell and Beth O'Leary

From a complicated love story from the 16th century to a lifestyle switch between a granddaughter and her grandmother from Yorkhire to London, these two books are perfect page-turners.
The Marriage Portrait by Maggie O’Farrell


Maggie O’Farrell
This historical tale is about a woman who exists in the shadow of a husband desperate to consolidate his power through the birth of an heir. The story goes back and forth, as though you’re reminiscing with Lucrezia, daughter of Cosimo De Medici (ruler of Tuscany) who is married in the place of her elder sister to Alfonso II d’Este, Duke of Ferrara – a match made in anything but love. Lucrezia is a free spirit, one that will continue to strive for triumph until her dying breath. With plenty of turns and an extremely unexpected twist at the end, this is a highly recommended read that will immerse you in the culture of the 16th century. O’Farrell is a Women’s Prize for Fiction winner, and delves into the complicated relationships we share with loved ones and the often restrictive boundaries society implements on us.

Jessica Moore, Advertising Executive

The Switch, Beth O'Leary


Beth O’Leary
Leena Cotton blows a big presentation at work and is forced to take a twomonth sabbatical. A change of scenery is needed, so she heads home to the tiny Yorkshire village where her family still live. Her grandmother, Eileen, is newly single, about to turn 80 and ready to find a second love. Leena discovers Eileen’s romantic predicament and proposes a solution: a switch. Leena will stay in Yorkshire looking after her grandmother’s very important village commitments and Eileen should head to London, live her dream and look for love. Both switches prove harder than first thought, and both women discover that love may be closer than they realised. A cosy, witty novel that will make you laugh, cry and ultimately feel inspired to live in the now. If you haven’t had the chance, you must read her debut novel The Flatshare right after this one.

Ellie Patterson, Designer

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