What if your roommate is your soul mate? A joyful, quirky romantic comedy, Beth O'Leary's The Flatshare is a feel-good novel about finding love in the most unexpected of ways.
Tiffy and Leon share an apartment. Tiffy and Leon have never met.
After a bad breakup, Tiffy Moore needs a place to live. Fast. And cheap. But the apartments in her budget have her wondering if astonishingly colored mold on the walls counts as art.
Desperation makes her open minded, so she answers an ad for a flatshare. Leon, a night shift worker, will take the apartment during the day, and Tiffy can have it nights and weekends. He’ll only ever be there when she’s at the office. In fact, they’ll never even have to meet.
Tiffy and Leon start writing each other notes – first about what day is garbage day, and politely establishing what leftovers are up for grabs, and the evergreen question of whether the toilet seat should stay up or down. Even though they are opposites, they soon become friends. And then maybe more.
But falling in love with your roommate is probably a terrible idea…especially if you've never met.
|Product dimensions:||6.20(w) x 8.80(h) x 1.30(d)|
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You've got to say this for desperation: It makes you much more open-minded.
I really can see some positives in this flat. The technicolor mold on the kitchen wall will scrub off, at least in the short term. The filthy mattress can be replaced fairly cheaply. And you could definitely make the argument that the mushrooms growing behind the toilet are introducing a fresh, outdoorsy feel to the place.
Gerty and Mo, however, are not desperate, and they are not trying to be positive. I would describe their expressions as "aghast."
"You can't live here."
That's Gerty. She's standing with her heeled boots together and her elbows tucked in tight, as though occupying as little space as possible in protest at being here at all. Her hair is pulled back in a low bun, already pinned so she can easily slip on the barrister's wig she wears for court. Her expression would be comical if it wasn't my actual life we were discussing here.
"There must be somewhere else within budget, Tiff," Mo says worriedly, bobbing up from where he was examining the boiler cupboard. He looks even more disheveled than usual, helped by the cobweb now hanging from his beard. "This is even worse than the one we viewed last night."
I look round for the estate agent; he's thankfully well out of earshot, smoking on the "balcony" (the sagging roof of the neighbor's garage, definitely not designed for walking on).
"I'm not looking round another one of these hellholes," Gerty says, glancing at her watch. It's eight a.m. — she'll need to be at Southwark Crown Court for nine. "There must be another option."
"Surely we can fit her in at ours?" Mo suggests, for about the fifth time since Saturday.
"Honestly, would you stop with that?" Gerty snaps. "That is not a long-term solution. And she'd have to sleep standing up to even fit anywhere." She gives me an exasperated look. "Couldn't you have been shorter? We could have put you under the dining table if you were less than five nine."
I make an apologetic face, but really I'd prefer to stay here than on the floor of the tiny, eye-wateringly expensive flat Mo and Gerty jointly invested in last month. They've never lived together before, even when we were at university. I'm concerned that it may well be the death of their friendship. Mo is messy, absent-minded, and has this uncanny ability to take up an enormous amount of room despite being relatively small. Gerty, on the other hand, has spent the last three years living in a preternaturally clean flat, so perfect that it looks computer-generated. I'm not sure how the two lifestyles will overlay without West London imploding.
The main problem, though, is if I'm crashing on someone's floor I can just as easily go back to Justin's place. And, as of eleven p.m. Thursday, I have officially decided that I cannot be allowed that option any longer. I need to move forward, and I need to commit to somewhere so I can't go back.
Mo rubs his forehead, sinking down into the grimy leather sofa. "Tiff, I could lend you some ..."
"I don't want you to lend me any money," I say, more sharply than I mean to. "Look, I really need to get this sorted this week. It's this place or the flatshare."
"The bedshare, you mean," Gerty says. "Can I ask why it has to be now? Not that I'm not delighted. Just that last I checked you were sitting tight in that flat waiting for the next time he-who-must-not- be-named deigned to drop by."
I wince, surprised. Not at the sentiment — Mo and Gerty never liked Justin, and I know they hate that I'm still living at his place, even though he's hardly ever there. It's just unusual to hear Gerty bring him up directly. After the final peace-making dinner with the four of us ended in a furious row, I gave up on trying to make everyone get along and just stopped talking to Gerty and Mo about him altogether. Old habits die hard — even post-breakup we've all dodged around discussing him.
"And why does it have to be so cheap?" Gerty goes on, ignoring the warning look from Mo. "I know you're paid a pittance but, really, Tiffy, four hundred a month is impossible in London. Have you actually thought about all this? Properly?"
I swallow. I can feel Mo watching me carefully. That's the trouble with having a counsellor as a friend: Mo is basically an accredited mind- reader, and he never seems to switch his superpowers off. "Tiff?" he says gently.
Oh, bloody hell, I'll just have to show them. There's nothing else for it. Quickly and all at once, that's the best way — like pulling off a Band-Aid, or getting into cold water, or telling my mother I broke something ornamental from the living room dresser.
I reach for my phone and pull up the Facebook message.
I'm really disappointed in how you acted last night. You were completely out of line. It's my flat, Tiffy — I can come by whenever I like, with whoever I like.
I would have expected you to be more grateful for me letting you stay. I know us breaking up has been hard on you — I know you're not ready to leave. But if you think that means you can start trying to "lay down some rules" then it's time you paid me for the past three months of rent. And you're going to need to pay full rent going forward too. Patricia says you're taking advantage of me, living in my place pretty much for free, and even though I've always stood up for you with her, after yesterday's performance I can't help thinking she might be right.
My stomach twists when I re-read that line, you're taking advantage of me, because I never intended to do that. I just didn't know that when he left he really meant it this time.
Mo finishes reading first. "He 'popped in' again on Thursday? With Patricia?"
I look away. "He has a point. He's been really good to let me stay there this long."
"Funny," Gerty says darkly, "I've always had the distinct impression he likes keeping you there."
She makes it sound weird, but I sort of feel the same way. When I'm still in Justin's flat, it isn't really over. I mean, all the other times he's come back eventually. But ... then I met Patricia on Thursday. The real-life, extremely attractive, actually quite lovely woman Justin has left me for. There's never been another woman before.
Mo reaches for my hand; Gerty takes the other. We stay like this, ignoring the estate agent smoking outside the window, and I let myself cry for a moment, just one fat tear down each cheek.
"So, anyway," I say brightly, withdrawing my hands to wipe my eyes, "I need to move out. Now. Even if I wanted to stay and risk him bringing Patricia back again, I can't afford the rent, and I owe Justin a ton of money, and I really don't want to borrow from anyone, and I'm kind of sick of not paying for things myself, to be honest, so ... yes. It's this or the flatshare."
Mo and Gerty exchange a look. Gerty closes her eyes in pained resignation.
"Well, you clearly cannot live here." She opens her eyes and holds out a hand. "Show me that advert again."
I hand her my phone, flicking from Justin's message to the Gumtree ad for the flatshare.
Double bedroom in sunny one-bed Stockwell flat, rent £350 per month including bills. Available immediately, for six months minimum.
Flat (and room/bed) is to share with twenty-seven-year-old palliative care nurse who works nights and is away weekends. Only ever in the flat 9am to 6pm Monday to Friday. All yours the rest of the time! Perfect for someone with 9 to 5 job.
To view, contact L. Twomey — details below.
"It's not just sharing a flat, Tiff, it's sharing a bed. Sharing a bed is odd," Mo says worriedly.
"What if this L. Twomey is a man?" Gerty asks.
I'm prepared for this one. "It doesn't matter," I say calmly. "It's not like we'd ever be in the bed at the same time — or the flat, even."
This is uncomfortably close to what I said when justifying staying at Justin's place last month, but never mind.
"You'd be sleeping with him, Tiffany!" Gerty says. "Everyone knows the first rule of flatsharing is don't sleep with your flatmate."
"I don't think this sort of arrangement is what people are referring to," I tell her wryly. "You see, Gerty, sometimes when people say 'sleeping together,' what they really mean is —"
Gerty gives me a long, level look. "Yes, thank you, Tiffany."
Mo's sniggering stops abruptly when Gerty turns her glare on him. "I'd say the first rule of flatsharing is to make sure you get on with the person before you move in," he says, cannily redirecting the glare to me again. "Especially in these circumstances."
"Obviously I'll meet this L. Twomey person first. If we don't get on, I won't take it."
After a moment Mo gives me a nod and squeezes my shoulder. We all descend into the kind of silence that comes after you've talked about something difficult — half grateful for it being over, half relieved to have managed it at all.
"Fine," Gerty says. "Fine. Do what you need to do. It's got to be better than living in this kind of squalor." She marches out of the flat, turning at the last moment to address the estate agent as he steps through from the balcony. "And you," she tells him loudly, "are a curse upon society."
He blinks as she slams the front door. There is a long, awkward pause.
He stubs out his cigarette. "You interested, then?" he asks me.
* * *
I get to work early and sink down in my chair. My desk is the closest thing to home at the moment. It's a haven of half-crafted objects, things that have proven too heavy to take back on the bus, and potted plants arranged in such a way that I can see people approaching before they can tell whether I'm at my desk. My potted-plant wall is widely regarded among the other junior staff as an inspiring example of interior design. (Really it's just about choosing plants the same color as your hair — in my case, red — and ducking/running away when you catch sight of anyone moving purposefully.)
My first job of the day is to meet Katherin, one of my favorite authors. Katherin writes books about knitting and crochet. It's a niche audience that buys them, but that's the story of Butterfingers Press — we love a niche audience. We specialize in crafting and DIY books. Tie-dye bedsheets, design your own dresses, crochet yourself a lampshade, make all your furniture out of ladders ... that sort of thing.
I love working here. This is the only possible explanation for the fact that I have been assistant editor for three and a half years, earning below the London living wage, and have made no attempt to rectify the situation by, say, applying for a job at a publishing house that actually makes money. Gerty likes to tell me that I lack ambition, but it really isn't that. I just love this stuff. As a child, I spent my days reading, or tinkering with my toys until they suited me better: dip-dyeing Barbie's hair, pimping up my JCB truck. And now I read and craft for a living.
Well, not really a living, as such. But a bit of money. Just about enough to pay tax.
"I'm telling you, Tiffy, crochet is the next coloring books — the next big trend," Katherin tells me, once she's settled herself down in our best meeting room and talked me through the plan for her next book. I examine the finger she's waggling in my direction. She has about fifty rings on each hand, but I've yet to discern whether any of them are wedding or engagement rings (I imagine that if Katherin has any, she'll have more than one).
Katherin is just on the acceptable side of eccentric: She has a straw- blond plait, one of those tans that somehow ages well, and endless stories of breaking into places in the 1960s and peeing on things. She was a real rebel once. She refuses to wear a bra even to this day, when bras have become quite comfortable and women have mostly given up on fighting the power because Beyoncé is doing it for us.
"That'd be good," I say. "Maybe we could add a strapline with the word 'mindful' in it. It is quite mindful, isn't it? Or mindless?"
Katherin laughs, tipping her head back. "Ah, Tiffy. Your job's ridiculous." She pats my hand affectionately and then reaches for her handbag. "You see that Martin boy," she says, "you tell him I'll only do that cruise day class if I have a glamorous young assistant."
I groan. I know where this is going. Katherin likes to drag me along to these things — for any class she needs a live model to show how to measure as you go when you're designing an outfit, apparently, and I once made the fatal error of offering myself up for the job when she couldn't find anyone. Now I am her go-to choice. PR are so desperate to get Katherin into these sorts of events that they've started begging me, too.
"This is too far, Katherin. I'm not going on a cruise with you."
"But it's free! People pay thousands for those, Tiffy!"
"You're only joining them for the Isle of Wight loop," I remind her. Martin has already briefed me on this one. "And it's on a weekend. I don't work weekends."
"It's not work," Katherin insists, gathering her notes and packing them into her handbag in an entirely random order. "It's a lovely Saturday sailing trip with one of your friends." She pauses. "Me," she clarifies. "We're friends, aren't we?"
"I am your editor!" I say, bundling her out of the meeting room.
"Think about it, Tiffy!" she calls over her shoulder, unperturbed. She catches sight of Martin, who is already making a beeline for her from over by the printers. "I'm not doing it unless she is, Martin, my boy! She's the one you need to talk to!"
And then she's gone, the grubby glass doors of our office swinging behind her.
Martin turns on me. "I like your shoes," he says, with a charming smile. I shudder. I can't stand Martin in PR. He says things like, "Let's action that" in meetings, and clicks his fingers at Ruby, who is a marketing exec, but who Martin seems to think is his personal assistant. He's only twenty-three but has decided it will further his merciless pursuit of seniority if he can seem older than he is, so he always puts on this awful jocular voice and tries to talk to our managing director about golf.
The shoes are excellent, though. They're purple Doc Marten–style boots, with white lilies painted on them, and they took me most of Saturday. My crafting and customizing has really upped since Justin left me. "Thanks, Martin," I say, already attempting to sidle back to the security of my desk.
"Leela mentioned that you're looking for somewhere to live," Martin says.
I hesitate. I'm not sure where this is going. I sense nowhere good.
"Me and Hana" — a woman in marketing who always sneers at my fashion sense — "have a spare room. You might have seen on Facebook but I thought maybe I should bring it up, you know, IRL. It's a single bed, but, well, I guess that won't be a problem for you these days. As we're friends, Hana and I decided we could offer it for five hundred a month, plus bills."
"That's so kind of you!" I say. "But I've actually just found somewhere." Well, I sort of have. Nearly. Oh, god, if L. Twomey won't have me, will I have to live with Martin and Hana? I mean, I already spend every working day with them, and frankly that is plenty of Martin- and-Hana time for me. I'm not sure my (already shaky) resolve to leave Justin's place can withstand the idea of Martin chasing me for rent payments and Hana seeing me in my porridge-stained Adventure Time pajamas every morning.
"Oh. Right, well. We'll have to find someone else, then." Martin's expression turns cunning. He has smelled guilt. "You could make it up to me by going with Katherin to that —"
He gives an exaggerated sigh. "God, Tiffy. It's a free cruise! Don't you go on cruises all the time?"
I used to go on cruises all the time, when my wonderful and now ex-boyfriend used to take me on them. We'd sail from Caribbean island to Caribbean island in a sunny haze of romantic bliss. We'd explore European cities and then head back to the boat for incredible sex in our tiny little bunk. We'd stuff ourselves at the all-you-can-eat buffet and then lie out on the deck watching the gulls circle above us as we talked idly of our future children.
"Gone off them," I say, reaching for the phone. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to make a call."(Continues…)
Excerpted from "The Flatshare"
Copyright © 2019 Beth O'Leary Ltd.
Excerpted by permission of Flatiron Books.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Content warning: Emotional abuse The Flatshare surprised me, in a good way. I don’t usually read books in the contemporary romance genre, because while they’re fun and light and enjoyable, they don’t usually say much. But that was not the case here! It took a little while for the story to really get started, but around halfway it picked up and I couldn’t put it down. What starts as a light-hearted promise of flirtation and courtship becomes a close, inside look at the journey of recognizing, processing, and beginning to recover from emotional abuse in romantic relationships. It was impactful and insightful and really powerful. I didn’t expect much of a statement from this book, so when I found one, I was pleasantly surprised. But that brings me to this description from the cover synopsis: “What if your roommate is your soul mate? A joyful, quirky romantic comedy, Beth O’Leary’s The Flatshare is a feel-good novel about finding love in the most unexpected of ways.” This book was very good, but it is absolutely not going to be feel-good for everyone. So, if you’re reading this review and have experienced gaslighting or other forms of emotional abuse, I just wanted to give you that head’s up. Tiffy and her ex-boyfriend, Jason, have been off and on for years. Every time he leaves her, he eventually comes back. At the start of the novel, she’d still been living in his apartment while he dated someone else, waiting for this inevitability. But then he tells her to move out and that she has to pay him back rent for all the months she’s been living there. So she answers an ad for a flatshare with a person who works the night shift; they’ll share the flat, but never be there at the same time. This will allow her to save enough money to pay Justin back. Leon is very different from Tiffy, who uses lots of words and loves bright colors and quirky decorations. Leon doesn’t talk much; in fact, his narration chapters hardly even use pronouns, and he describes dialogue more like a script with the person’s name and a colon before their statement rather than using quotation marks. I thought that was a really creative storytelling choice. Anyway, he’s quiet and comfortable with the familiar but has a gigantic heart. It’s pretty clear from the beginning that he and his current girlfriend are just not a good match for each other. Also, his brother is currently in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, and this takes up a lot of Leon’s emotional space. What ensues is a story of Tiffy slowly realizing the extent of Jason’s abuse and beginning to recover, and Leon finding that a few steps outside his comfort zone is exactly what he needed all along. By 75% of the way through the book I was reading furiously, heart breaking and throbbing for these two characters.
Closer to 4 1/2 stars, but rounded it up because I unashamedly devoured this book in two days and it left me prickly-eyed in the end. First off, I loved the premise: two people sharing a flat (and bed) at different times of day, thus never actually having to meet. Conversation via sticky notes in ensues in an adorable romance. I loved the pacing. O’Leary kept me waiting just long enough for the right scenes to keep me turning page after page. The characters were all wonderful (especially Leon and Richard!) and I was sad to let them go at the end. Tiffy had good character development as well- the issue of abuse was handled tactfully and realistically. My only real issue with the book was that Leon’s chapters took some time to adjust to and at first I didn’t like them very much. The prose is much more stilted and short during them, but soon enough it and it began to feel very Leon-y and ceased to bother me at all. All in all, a nice romance for anyone looking for a light, entertaining romance.
In her delightful and heart-warming debut novel set in London, British author Beth O’Leary transcends the typical contemporary romance by introducing a unique approach to building a relationship through Post-It notes and shared food, delicately handling the topic of PTSD from an emotionally-abusive relationship, and tackling racial profiling. In a dual narrative format, we are privy to the intimate thoughts of two wonderful protagonists. Socially anxious Leon communicates in shorthand and works as a palliative care nurse. He needs money for his incarcerated brother’s legal fees, so decides to advertise a flatshare (or, more accurately, a bedshare). Tiffy, asst. editor for a crafting and DIY publisher, with a colorful attitude and wardrobe to match, responds after being evicted from her ex-boyfriend’s flat. With both of them working opposite shifts, they never expect to meet, but fate has a way of upsetting the best-laid plans. A strong group of secondary characters including Rachel the best friend, Gerty the barrister, Mo the counselor, Holly the young, but wise-beyond-her-years leukemia patient, RIchie the incarcerated brother, and Katherin the demanding knitting and crochet book author provide sound advice, a little match-making help, and emotional support when Justin, the vile and controlling ex-boyfriend, keeps pushing his way into her life. For fans of Christina Lauren, Sally Thorne, Helen Hoang, and Josie Silver. I received a complimentary ARC of this book from Flatiron Books through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Opinions expressed are completely my own.
Really enjoyed this - sweet, believable, and funny. Author has wonderful understanding of people and relationships. Liked thoughtful part therapy played in heroine’s journey. Will definitely buy next book O’Leary writes. Thank you for a great romance novel!
She slept there at night. He slept there during the day. They communicated via a multitude of post-it notes. They lived together, though they had never met. I was all set for the rom-com, funny parts of this book. I was expecting them, but I was not expecting the depth of emotion O'Leary delivered, and I was more than delighted by it. Tiffy was a wonderfully quirky heroine. I adored her sense of humor and her flare for fashion. I was appalled by how her ex treated her, and my hatred for him only grew as we dug deeper into the story. However, Tiffy was lucky to have a great support team in Gerty, Mo, Rachel, and to her surprise, Leon. And, Leon! He was a delightful introvert, who won my heart with his kindness. As a hospice nurse, he spent a lot of time with very ill people, and some of the things he did for them were quite lovely and touching. I especially loved the side plot where he sought out one of his patients past loves and his fight to get his brother a retrial. Both really demonstrated what an amazing person Leon was. The romance! I could see it all brewing as I read the post-it notes, and I was overjoyed when they finally met. Needless to say, their meet-cute was pure rom-com gold, and I may have snorted. There are two things I see in books this day, that make me groan. One is the mention of certain book franchise, that I can never escape in YA, and apparently couldn't escape in this adult book too. The other is when authors pull politics into non-political books. It's just permeating every form of media, and I want an escape from it when I read. I really didn't expect politics to have any part or mention in the story, and I especially didn't expect a story based in London to have American politics in it. Aside from that, I really enjoyed this book, and I know my pet-peeves are not shared by the majority of readers. Except for three small glitches, this book enchanted me from beginning to end. I just couldn't get enough of Leon and Tiffy story, and you know I happy crying at that ending!!
This book was a delight! It should be in everyone's beach bag or vacation carry on. The set-up for this one offers a lot of interesting situations and it delivers. Tiffy and Leon are sharing a flat...even though they have never met. Leon is a hospice nurse and works night. He has the apartment from 8am-6pm. Tiffy is an assistant editor at a boutique publishing house and has the apartment from 6pm to 8am. They get to know each other through notes on Post-its scattered and stuck all over the tiny flat. I loved these characters and how their relationship began with these notes. So much of their personalities are revealed with this device. Leo's notes reflect his man of few words traits, while Tiffy's are lengthy and scattered. But they found common ground even with limited communication. The author created wildly interesting supporting characters as well. I was just as invested in their stories as I was Leon and Tiffy's. I don't want to elaborate because I don't want to reveal too much. The reader should get to experience it all just as I did. This book is begging to be made into a movie! There were so many scenes I was picturing in my head as if I was seeing them on the big screen. But if that is going to happen, please consult me because I have passionate ideas re: casting. The Flatshare is fast paced, fun, smart and heart lifting. The author also shines a light on a more serious topic through the character of Tiffany, so don't write this off as pure fluff. I thank NetGalley and Flatiron Books for an advanced digital copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Tiffy is just getting out of a bad relationship and desperately needs an affordable place to stay. Enter Leon and his advertisement for a flatmate. However, Tiffy and Leon won’t just be sharing a flat, they’ll be sharing a bed - but not in the way you think (or not yet anyway). Leon works nights and weekends so he is only in the flat during the day and Tiffy works a normal day job so she is only in the flat at night and on the weekends. They build a friendship through post it notes that slowly morphs into something more. When I first started reading this book, I was expecting your typical romcom. Quirky heroine - check. Outlandish meet cute- check. Funny best friend/side kick - check. However this book is anything but typical. While it does have the afore mentioned characterize (I mean they’re tropes for a reason, right?) here they feel fresh and new. I really enjoyed the progression of Tiffy and Leon’s relationship and couldn’t wait for them to actually meet. I appreciate the slow build and that it wasn’t just “insta love.” While this book definitely made me laugh out loud at parts, it also covers serious topics like emotional abuse and having an incarcerated loved one. Beth O’Leary does a great job of covering these topics in an honest and empathetic way that also manages to avoid being too heavy. This book will make a great summer beach read. Thank you to Netgalley and to Flatiron Books for giving me an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
A charming rom com that begins as a slow burn, then picks up the pace after the first 75 pages and keeps readers hooked until the very end! This is a great chic-lit title with the story based in London, which as an American was a nice change of scenery. The banter between fellow flatshare occupants Leon and Tiffy was witty, relatable and pivotal towards how this story evolved. For those looking for a light spring/summer read, make sure you get your hands on The Flatshare!
The Flatshare is an engaging, fun and very often serious novel telling of the oddball relationship that forms between flatmates Tiffy and Leon. Oddball because they only communicate through Post-it notes and do not meet until late into the relationship. Serious because Tiffy’s exboyfriend has emotionally abused her and will not let her go even though he is the one who dumped her. Serious because Leon’s brother is in prison innocent of charges and dealing with a lax lawyer. What Tiffy does for Leon is wonderful. What Tiffy’s ex does to her is awful. How Tiffy rebounds and stands up for herself is what makes it all worthwhile. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
This has to be the cutest book I've read in a long time. I loved everything about it! The set-up is perfect, Tiffy and Leon are new flatmates that operate under a bedsharing system. When Tiffy is there, Leon is at work, and vice versa. They never have to meet. But they still communicate. Soon enough, the flat is covered in a sea of sticky notes ranging from grocery lists and requests to put the toilet seat down, to heartfelt conversations as the pair get to know each other without speaking face to face (or even on the phone.) But this is a LOVE story, so we know that won't last forever. And when it finally happens, wow, it's great! What follows is an adorable love story. Both Tiffy and Leon have obstacles to hurdle but, with each other, they don't have to do it alone. Leon confides in Tiffy about his falsely imprisoned brother and Tiffy tells Leon about her crazy, stalker ex. And as they travel down this road, it feels nothing but genuine. They're so different from each other (Leon is quiet and serious, and the writing in his chapters reflects this well, while Tiffy is colorful and boisterous and so full of life) but, somehow, it just works. I shipped them almost immediately and spent the book with the goofiest grin on my face. I loved it! I'll definitely be waiting for Beth O'Leary's next book!
4.5 stars What a wonderful debut novel! The Flatshare was such a sweet and emotional story that surprised me in the best way. I absolutely fell in love with the idea behind this book and was instantly intrigued by the tagline "What if your roommate was your soul mate?" Tiffy and Leon were such interesting characters and complemented each other so well, even though they seem to be opposites in every way. Tiffy is eccentric and has a tendency to overshare, while Leon is quieter and much more reticent. Their meet cute and intimate living situation are atypical, but all the awkwardness only endeared me more to the characters. I loved how a simple note exchange set in motion such huge changes for both of them. It had me asking myself if you really can get to know someone through the traces they leave behind? The author allowed Tiffy and Leon's friendship and relationship to develop naturally and I loved the slow burn between them. The story is told in dual POV, and I will admit that Leon's chapters took a bit of getting used to. I ended up loving his abbreviated speaking/writing style, however, and I really feel like it fit his character perfectly. Some of the Britishisms went over my head, but the author's sense of humor and witty banter had me gasping for air because I was laughing so hard. With all the laughs, there are some serious issues as well, and I felt that they were addressed very honestly. For example, Tiffy struggles for a large portion of the book with her past relationship. I appreciated that the author didn't rush through her healing or downplay the effect that emotional abuse can have on an individual as well as their friends and loved ones. I really loved how patient and supportive Leon and all of Tiffy's friends were. They stood by her and lifted her when she needed them, but what I loved best, is that ultimately, it was Tiffy who had (and did) save herself. The secondary characters really were amazing (please tell me a Richie book is in the works!) and added some wonderful comic relief at just the right moments. I was smiling ear to ear as I turned the last page, and Leon and Tiffy's story couldn't have ended in a cuter way. Definitely recommend this one and can't wait for more from Beth O'Leary. *I voluntarily read an advance reader copy of this book*
Reading the description of The Flatshare, I thought it sounded like a perfect, fluffy romantic comedy. Leon needs extra money, so comes up with the unique idea to share his flat. He works nights and stays with his girlfriend on weekends. Tiffy needs a new place after her boyfriend left her for someone else and expects her to pay back rent and answers the ad. Told from both perspectives, the story is NOT what I was expecting. I went into it expecting an updated version of the 80s movie The Night We Never Met, but it's so much more. As the story moves forward, we find that Leon is desperately afraid for his brother, who Is in prison, and Tiffy's ex-boyfriend is not how he appears. Couldn't put it down- this is a fantastic debut. I'll be watching for more from Beth O'Leary. I received a copy of this title from the publisher.
The Flatshare is a book I picked up expecting to love for one reason but ended up enjoying for another! This book follows Tiffy who needs to move out of her ex’s apartment but is on a tight budget. The solution comes in the form of a flatshare. Leon is a nurse on the night shift and is renting his place to Tiffy from 5 at night to 9 in the morning. The agreement is that they won’t meet, but there’s nothing to stop them from communicating via post it notes. Obviously, I expected a romance from this book, so I may as well start there. The romance was actually not one of my favorite parts of the story! I didn’t feel the chemistry between Leon and Tiffy, although I appreciated their relationship and how their friendship grew. I loved their interactions and shipped them as friends, but whenever they interacted romantically I wasn’t convinced. Since I was excited about the romance, this was definitely a bummer. But! The book ended up gripping me for another reason! Tiffy is dealing with her ex-boyfriend throughout the book. At first I just thought that Justin, her ex, was a loser, but as the book went on it became more and more obvious how emotionally abusive he was. It was very well done, as the reader starts making this realization at about the same time as Tiffy does. Or maybe a bit sooner because of Tiffy’s wonderful friends. Mo and Gertie are Tiffy’s two best friends and I honestly loved their friendship so, so much! They were always there for Tiffy, but also knew when to give her space and let her work things out on her own. I especially appreciated Gertie, because she was such an outwardly gruff person, but had the biggest heart! This is also a very British book, which I did not know before reading it, although I probably should have been clued in by the title, since it’s not called The Apartmentshare. This is neither a good or bad thing, it just meant that there were some terms that took a moment to translate to American English. This book is also told in dual perspective, and the two characters have very distinct voices that represent their personalities very well. Tiffy’s is overflowing with adjectives and exuberance, while Leon’s is more clipped and to the point. At first this made me dislike Leon’s chapters because his voice was so different than what I’m used to reading, but it really grew on me as I read! I ended up really enjoying the difference by the time I had finished! Even though Leon was a more closed off character, you got to see his warm and fuzzy side through his interactions with some lovely side characters. Leon would do anything for those he cares about and this is especially true for his brother Richie, who has been wrongfully imprisoned. I really loved Richie and I was so glad that he was such a big part of this book! In addition to Richie, some of Leon’s patients were also his friends, as much as Leon would deny it, and it was wonderful to see his interactions with them as well. The biggest factor that detracted from my enjoyment was the drama! I know that this is a more personal issue, but over the top dramatics sometimes get to be too much for me. Lots happened in this book, most of which was predictable, but also incredibly angsty, and the combination of the two just made me frustrated. To sum it all up, I had some issues with the writing and plot, but I very much enjoyed all the characters! I’d recommend this book to Sophie Kinsella and Christina Lauren fans who appreciate lots of angst and drama!
The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary a five-star read that you won’t want to share. I don’t know where to start with this review as the first time I tried picking this read up I put it down after a couple of chapters, but then someone was raving about it and I though eughh I will give it a go, I hate not finishing anything. What can I say other than I’m so glad I did, I loved it. There was something so heart-warming about this one, I adored Leon and his passion for his patients. The descriptions and secondary characters were great and the story from Tiffy and her struggle she has a job she loves but doesn’t pay her enough and an ex that she just can’t or won’t quit. The main think I adored about this story though were the post-It notes just the simple way of communicating was sweet and dramatic at the same time. This will definitely be one of those reads that will stay with you for a long time, if like me you don’t get sucked in, in the first couple of chapters keep going as I promise you, you won’t be disappointed.
I received an advanced digital copy of this book from Netgalley.com and the publisher Flatiron Books. Thanks to both for the opportunity to read and review. The Flatshare by Beth O'Leary is, in a word, brilliant. It is laugh out loud funny and deeply emotional and touching at the same time. The characters are all too human and real. I wanted to be friends with all of these people, especially Gerty. (You'll have to read it to find out for yourself.) There are some incredibly real and emotional themes in the storyline, but nothing is given the "22 minute dramedy" treatment. Every aspect is thought through and well written. The buzz around this book is well deserved. It should be one of The Books to Read of 2019. 5 out of 5 stars. Highly recommended. Add this book to your TBR list now!