Review: The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary

Tiffy and Leon share a flat
Tiffy and Leon share a bed
Tiffy and Leon have never met…

Tiffy Moore needs a cheap flat, and fast. Leon Twomey works nights and needs cash. Their friends think they’re crazy, but it’s the perfect solution: Leon occupies the one-bed flat while Tiffy’s at work in the day, and she has the run of the place the rest of the time. 

But with obsessive ex-boyfriends, demanding clients at work, wrongly imprisoned brothers and, of course, the fact that they still haven’t met yet, they’re about to discover that if you want the perfect home you need to throw the rulebook out the window…

The Flatshare was the first book I read as part of my new virtual book club and I have to say, what a way to start! I thought it was absolutely brilliant – easy to read, very funny and the perfect escape from our current reality. The humour throughout the book is very British, which I thoroughly enjoyed, and the story is a grower, getting better with every single chapter. The short chapters and different sections also make the book an ideal choice for binge-reading.

My expectations for The Flatshare were already quite high as the book came highly recommended by many other book bloggers, but even I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. I can safely say this is up there with my favourite contemporary romance books because the concept is so unique and interesting. The story is heart-warming, witty and exactly the right amount of corny, which is what I look for in a romance novel.

On the surface, this book appears to be a sweet, cute book about falling in love but it’s so much more than that. Without giving too much away, several serious themes are running throughout The Flatshare including stalking, gaslighting and criminal justice. Beth O’Leary’s commitment to raising awareness for, and tackling, these forms of abuse are what makes The Flatshare stand out in a rather overcrowded marketplace.

What’s more, Leon and Tiffy are incredibly relatable characters and I couldn’t help but feel like I knew them personally. Leon was glorious throughout and Tiffy, who I wasn’t overkeen on in the beginning, became somebody I was truly rooting for. Rachel and Gerty were also stand out characters for me – I think everybody has friends like these two.

In the beginning, the two characters largely communicate through post-it notes and these were some of my favourite sections of the book. I loved how the author used these quick scribbles around the flat to reveal so much about the two main characters. An intriguing and very clever method.

While discussing this with my fellow book club members, some people suggested that the writing format of Leon’s chapters was distracting and off-putting, but I loved it and felt it really added to the reader’s perception of Leon. Usually, I hate it when narratives miss out so many conjunctions but it worked in this case and only made Leon more endearing.

The best kind of books are those that genuinely surprise you and I have to say, Beth O’Leary is a truly wonderful author who deserves every bit of her recent success. After devouring The Flatshare, I can’t wait to grab a copy of The Switch, her second offering, and get lost in what I’m sure will be another glorious story. Highly recommended!

Goodreads rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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