Title: The Flatshare
Author: Beth O’Leary
“Look,’ he says, ‘have you ever looked forward to reading a book so much you can’t actually start it?’
‘Oh totally. All the time – if I had a grain of self-restraint I never would’ve been able to read the last Harry Potter book. The anticipation was painful. You know like what if it does live up to the last ones? What if it’s not what I hope it’ll be?”
The Flatshare is a contemporary romance novel with a very unique premise – Tiffy and Leon share a bed, but Tiffy and Leon have never met… Living in London, on a tight budget, and desperate to move out of her ex’s flat, Tiffy responds to a rather strange advert for a flatshare; the flat in question is only 1 bedroom, but the owner works nights so the flat is hers evenings and weekends, and for the price Leon is asking, it’s hard for Tiffy to say no.
I knew I’d love this novel as soon as I heard its premise. I’m a sucker for any kind of romance, and the setting of this one made it even more exciting. I absolutely loved the author’s tone, it was fun, funny, and the modern references made it all the more compelling.
I loved how unashamedly unique Tiffy was; she wears what she wants to, doesn’t really care about what other people think, and does what she loves no matter what. Plus, as someone who loves knitting, cross-stitch, and any kind of craft, I loved that her job was to write about craft.
I did think at times, the two main characters were almost too “perfect” but I like my romances slushy and unrealistic – so it didn’t really bother me! The connection between Tiffy and Leon was so heart-warming and I loved how they were both so different and yet, seemed to click almost instantly. They shared post-it notes and little scattered conversations were easily the thing I spent every page wanting to read, and I enjoyed every single letter and note.
On a more heavy note, I thought it was so appropriate how this book dealt with mental health and the trauma Tiffy had dealt with. Not only is there no shame or prejudice, but the other characters had such a helpful and supportive approach too. All in all, it made me adore the book even more.
Easily the most important thing about this book is how happy it made me. I loved the characters, I was willing to read everything they did, and loved the connections between them. I think O’Learly does a fantastic job of creating the perfect escapism with The Flatshare, and I cannot wait to read anything and everything she writes next!