Book Review: The Flatshare – Beth O’Leary

The Flatshare - Beth O'Leary

About The Book

Tiffy Moore and Leon Twomey each have a problem and need a quick fix.

Tiffy’s been dumped by her cheating boyfriend and urgently needs a new flat. But earning minimum wage at a quirky publishing house means that her choices are limited in London.

Leon, a palliative care nurse, is more concerned with other people’s welfare than his own. Along with working night shifts looking after the terminally ill, his sole focus is on raising money to fight his brother’s unfair imprisonment.

Leon has a flat that he only uses 9 to 5. Tiffy works 9 to 5 and needs a place to sleep. The solution to their problems? To share a bed of course…

As Leon and Tiffy’s unusual arrangement becomes a reality, they start to connect through Post-It notes left for each other around the flat.

Can true love blossom even in the unlikeliest of situations?
Can true love blossom even if you never see one another?
Or does true love blossom when you are least expecting it?

My Review

Ssssh. Wanna hear a secret? The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary is going to be one of the books of 2019. Mark my words, this is a book you do not want to miss.

It’s about Tiffy and Leon who are flatmates, except, they’re never really supposed to meet. He works nightshift as a nurse in a hospice and spends his weekends at his girlfriend’s house meaning his flat is free from 6pm until 8am on weekdays and all weekend. When something significant happens in his life he has to earn some extra money and advertises for a flatmate. The thing is, his flat has one bedroom. And one bed. So actually, they’re sharing a bed just not at the same time. It sounds odd, but it works. Tiffy rocks up with her glorious eclectic outfits and lava lamp and turns his flat from a bachelor pad into a joy explosion. As they are both awake at opposite times of the day they leave each other notes to communicate things like ‘please put the toilet seat down’ and ‘why is there a lava lamp in the living room?’ and this is when things get interesting.

This book is being billed as ‘up-lit’ which I get, as it is one of those books that leaves you with a massive smile on your face. Sharp, zingy writing and great characterisation combine to make a book filled with humour and love. However, I kind of feel that the ‘up-lit’ term does it a disservice as The Flatshare also addresses some huge themes like gas lighting, emotional abuse and racism. They’re not glossed over either with the long term effects of an ex boyfriend who made Tiffy feel stupid, ugly and more being explored in depth. This makes for tough reading at times and Tiffy’s ongoing struggles and slow realisation of what her ex was capable of is beautifully examined.

Told from alternating viewpoints, the voices of Tiffy and Leon are clear and distinct. I initially found Leon’s chapters a little difficult to read because they are quite abrupt and staccato but as the book develops and Leon emerges it becomes clear that this is a clever narrative device to really communicate his personality. He is a man of few words who has the weight of the world on his shoulders but he is emotional, loving and kind. I kind of developed a crush on him…OK, OK, I admit it, I did develop a crush on him. He is just so lovely and well written that he leaps from the page.

Tiffy though is one of those characters who you instantly fall in love with. She wears bright, colourful clothes, is sweet, sparkly and sensitive. I felt sad for her many times in the book and was rooting for her to realise how amazing she is. Her friendships are perfectly drawn and I enjoyed immensely the bantering and sparring between them which was pitch perfect in tone. There’s nothing like a conversation with friends layered in history, in jokes and straight talking to make you feel better and The Flatshare gets this stuff spot on.

I really loved this book. I loved that it dealt with difficult things, that it featured two brilliant characters, that it is fun and snappy and just a really good read. It felt like two of my absolute favourite writers, Mike Gayle and Mhairi McFarlane had got together and written a book. It had that vibe and I devoured it in a day. It is a perfect holiday read and one I that comes recommended from me.

Where You Can Buy It

The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary is published today by Quercus in both hardback and ebook. My thanks to Natgalley and Quercus for an advanced copy of the book in return for an honest review.

8 thoughts on “Book Review: The Flatshare – Beth O’Leary

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