The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary was such a fun read. I saw this book everywhere before finally jumping on the reading bandwagon — and I’m so glad that I did. I loved this story. The writing reminded me of Jojo Moyes and Marian Keyes — both who are favourite authors of mine. The story also reminded me of my own experience moving into a share house and finding love. But more on that later…
The Flatshare tells the story of Tiffy and Leon. Tiffy works as a book editor for a craft book publisher. She has to find somewhere affordable to live in London (in a hurry) after breaking up with her douchey boyfriend, Justin. She sees an ad for an affordable flat, sharing with a guy named Leon. The catch is that they will also share the same bed. But only because they will never be in the flat at the same time. Tiffy agrees to this arrangement despite her friends’ concern.
How is this scenario possible? Well, Leon is a palliative care nurse who works nights and sleeps during the day. He is at work during the night when Tiffy is at home and vice versa. On weekends he stays at his girlfriend’s house. So, the two don’t meet in person. But they slowly get to know each other through the notes they leave around the house.
Both Tiffy and Leon are dealing with stressful things in their lives. Tiffy is struggling to get over her ex-boyfriend and move on, but that is not easy. There are some real problems caused by her relationship with Justin which she comes to realise over the course of the book. Leon’s brother is in jail, falsely accused of a crime he didn’t commit. Leon is trying to help him launch an appeal. There’s a whole cast of other fun, quirky characters supporting these two leads and some serious issues to be tackled which make The Flatshare more than just a light romance.
I related hard to Tiffy working in book publishing as I also worked in publishing. These scenes rang very true to life — low pay and eccentric, but lovely, authors. There was a crocheting author (Katherin) in this novel who reminded me of an author I used to work with. My author knitted beautiful and crazy tea cosies. Sometimes she wore a tea cosie on top of her head during crafting demonstrations. This book gave me some amusing flashbacks to those times. I also related to the whole living with a male flatmate and falling for them scenario. In my case, I had three male flatmates and my now husband was the the guy in the room next to mine.
The only thing about this book that took a bit of getting used to was the way Leon’s point-of-view was written. It was stilted with no punctuation used for the dialogue. For example:
Thursday morning. Ring Mam for short, difficult conversation on bus.
Mam, bleary: Is there news?
I found it jarring at first but slowly got used to it. I’ve read some other reviews where people hated it. My advice is to give it time. You do get used to it after a while.
All in all, this book was a fantastic, light read with some serious elements thrown in. It was very well done for a first-time author. I look forward to reading more books by Beth O’Leary in the future.
Verdict: This book gave me all the feels and ticked all the boxes. It was amusing, enjoyable and entertaining.