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My friend gave me The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary to read when I visited her in Manchester last year for my birthday. As we are spending much of our time indoors I finally got around to reading it, so here is my review!
The Flatshare follows the story of Tiffy and Leon. Despite the title of the book, they share more than just a flat. The Flatshare starts when Tiffy, having just broken up with her boyfriend, decides she needs an inexpensive place to stay in London. Of course, if anyone knows anything about London, it’s that rent is so expensive. Tiffy knows this and is drawn to an advert for a “bed share” with a nurse called Leon who works nights. It allows Tiffy to use the room in the evenings to sleep and then when she sets off for work in the morning Leon is able to use the room.
At first it is quite clear they are both very awkward with the whole situation. It’s made even stranger by the fact they haven’t met. The set up was arranged by Leon’s girlfriend and for some time afterwards Tiffy and Leon communicate only through notes left around the house. It’s interesting to see how they both open up to each other without speaking face to face. Eventually they do meet though, in the most hilarious and awkward circumstances.
From the exchanging of notes it’s clear Tiffy and Leon have quite a connection. Tiffy is extremely gregarious and Leon is quite shy but seems to open up to Tiffy quite a lot and throughout the book he reveals his extremely gentle and caring side. There is even more of a connection when they meet face to face.
The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary – My Thoughts
I’m not going to give the whole plot away, you’ll have to read it! There are a few sub plots as well, one of them involving Tiffy’s manipulative ex-boyfriend. The way he has treated her and continues to do so has left her with anxiety and along with how it affects other aspects of her life. It also means she is somewhat reticent about entering a new relationship. There is one incident towards the end of the book that highlights how he was and almost ruins things between Leon and Tiffy. I feel like Beth O’Leary handled the topic of manipulative / abusive relationships sensitively. It was subtle at first, the odd lie here and the odd comment there, leading on to bigger things that made Tiffy doubt herself and her own reasoning.
With regards to the plot, it’s hardly going to set the world alight. It doesn’t have many “oh my gosh, what?!” moments. It is advertised as a feel good novel and it achieves exactly that. It’s sweet and uplifting with two immensely likeable central characters and some funny and quirky supporting characters who offer comedic value.