Book Review: The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary

“My dad likes to say, ‘Life is never simple’. This is one of his favourite aphorisms. I actually think it’s incorrect. Life is often simple, but you don’t notice how simple it was until it gets incredibly complicated, like how you never feel grateful for being well until you’re ill, or how you never appreciate your tights drawer until you rip a pair and have no spares.”

Written by Beth O’Leary and published in 2019, The Flatshare follows Tiffy and Leon. They share a bed, but they have never met. Leon is a night nurse and has rented his apartment out during his working hours to earn some extra money. Tiffy is desperate after being dumped by her cheating boyfriend and urgently needs a new (and cheap) flat. The solution? 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. At first, they’re only about what day is garbage day or polite requests to put the toilet seat down, but Tiffy and Leon soon feel like good friends. And then maybe more.

Rating:

In between reading heavy thrillers and psychological mysteries, this is exactly what I needed this week. The Flatshare is a light-hearted, funny, and charming story filled with genuine and deep emotions. It’s a very engaging story that excels because of the fantastic chemistry between its two narrators.

Told through two perspectives – Tiffy’s detailed and excitable narration set aside Leon’s to-the-point thought-process – what I loved most about this story was how these two very different people come together as they begin to help each other out of their slumps. It’s something I can relate to so my heart warmed more the closer that they got.

I found myself laughing out loud on a few occasions and smiled throughout. Tiffy and Leon are such lovely characters. You really get to know them and fall in love with them, as you look forward to them finally meeting and hopefully hitting it off. Most of all, they feel very authentic so it’s a story that’s very easy to like.

The Flatshare is also an incredibly sexy book. Beth O’Leary certainly steams up the room with her well-described sex scenes (or near sex scenes, in most cases) and doesn’t hesitate to linger on the details, all the while managing to avoid them feeling awkward or rushed over.

There are some darker themes amongst the contemporary romance, as well, including gaslighting, stalking, abuse, and wrongful convictions, but it’s balanced perfectly as it would be in real-life, not letting either storyline get in the way of the other. But they aren’t blurred over either. O’Leary brilliantly but sensitively explores how damaging abusive relationships can be, but also creates great supporting characters who are there for support.

Even if you’re not a fan of romance, this is a book that I’m certain you will enjoy. It’s real, it’s emotionally-driven, and I’m really going to miss Tiffy and Leon now that I’m finished reading it.

About Charlie Morris

Proofreader and film blogger living in Cornwall.

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