Swapping Lives
Jane Green

Hardcover/410 pages
ISBN: 0-670-03480-0
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". . .a quick adrenalin jolt of the American dream."

Jane Green’s “Swapping Lives” is yet another “chick-lit” novel about educated, talented, hip and stylish women in their twenties or thirties who are searching for the ideal life with the perfect man. Although the plot is predictable, Green adds an interesting twist by introducing a character from the United Kingdom who trades places with one of the U.S.’s “desperate housewives.”

After the popular UK Fashion Magazine Poise! runs an article on “speed sex” (tired moms wanting sex to be over quickly), Victoria Townsley, the features editor remarks she would trade her single, glamorous life to be a married woman with children. The idea is spawned and hundreds respond to the swapping advertisement.

Victoria selects Amber Winslow, who is married to Richard, an investment banker, has two children, and lives in a “McMansion” within the “Wall Street commuter belt.” The nanny takes care of the children while Amber spends her time shopping, attending charitable functions and social-climbing, but “there must be more to life than this.”

Meanwhile Amber moves into Victoria’s London flat, her job at Poise! and accepts dinner and party invitations from Victoria’s family and friends, including one date with Daniel, Victoria’s occasional “shag” (sex) partner. However after two weeks, Amber desperately misses her family while Victoria, who reduces the nanny’s duties, discovers raising children is a major challenge and is starting to becoming sexually interested in Richard, which is not part of the bargain.

As a result of their experiences, both women decide to make life changes. Victoria ends her casual sexual relationships. Amber, who enjoyed writing for the magazine now wants a job and to spend time with her family, learns upon her return that Richard lost his job six months prior and they are broke. Consequently, her desires quickly become reality.

Green, who has seven other novels to her credit, has a easy writing style. And if you want a quick adrenalin jolt of the American dream–financial success, beauty, sex, a devoted husband and perfect kids–as well as picking up some tips on living in the UK, this can be your “quick fix fantasy” for the day.
Reviewer: Kate Padilla