It’s trying times at the moment but, as we all are, I’m keeping safe and finding things to fill my time with. Turns out, I fill my time doing exactly what I’ve always done: walking the dog, watching TV (although Disney+ is slightly different, right?), spending time with family, attempting to write something full length and reading. A lot.
Beth O’Leary’s The Flatshare is one of those books I’ve had on my list, and wanted to read, for ages. Frustratingly, I purchased it before I realised it was on the 99p Kindle deal (so if you haven’t got it already, and you’ve got a Kindle, I would definitely recommend grabbing this deal whilst you can). I had a feeling I would enjoy this book and, thankfully, my feeling was spot on.
Tiffy and Leon share a flat.
Tiffy and Leon share a bed.
Tiffy and Leon have never met.
Much like a lot of the books I’ve read recently, the cover gave little away (apart from, I guess, the obvious fact that they share a bed).
Tiffy is an assistant editor who is friendly, quirky and comfortable in her own skin. O’Leary gave us a character who is funny, a little bit fiesty but also deeply pained by her past. I was drawn in to her narrative and character almost immediately and some of her chapters were laugh out loud funny – which compensated for the ones that made me feel a bit sad. Leon works nights at a hospital and is sweet, kind and determined to do anything to help a variety of characters in the book. It took me a while to get into his narrative, as it was more short hand notes than the descriptive, chatty nature that came with Tiffy’s, but I was drawn in nonetheless.
I liked the way relationships were presented. They were a mixed bag in this book, as O’Leary showed how relationships can go wrong (in the case of Tiffy and Justin, and Leon and Kay) and how they can also be right. It takes a while, as it does for Tiffy herself, to realise just how wrong her previous relationship was and the parts where she reflects on this relationship (as well as parts involving Justin) are raw and uncomfortable to read at times. Though I’m a sucker for romantic relationships, I think it’s important that more and more books are showing the less perfect sides of relationships. The doomed romances of both characters made the other love story in the book even sweeter when it came to it.
I also liked the friendships in the book. Tiffy has Mo and Gerty, plus several women from work who are incredibly supportive of her when things get difficult – but they’re also there to give her a quick reality check when she needs it! Leon has Ritchie, his brother, who (despite his own struggles to overcome through the novel) gives Leon’s narrative a bit of light and comedy – which I felt it needed at times when the narrative lagged a bit or got a bit too heavy.
Another thing I liked was the way that Leon and Tiffy communicated. I’m a sucker for note writing and little Post-it note messages so I really loved the exchanges between Leon and Tiffy before they met. They were funny, light and it set the novel in motion for the actual face to face meeting.
Though I thought they were interesting and sweet, I wasn’t that sold by the subplots. Obviously, the plot with Leon’s brother was important (as it justified his need for someone to share his flat) but I’m not sure it got as much airtime as it deserved. I would’ve liked to see a bit more of him in the book. Even though the Johnny White plot was also heartwarming, I don’t really feel like the book needed it as it kind of got lost in amongst the Tiffy-Justin drama and Ritchie’s case.
Regardless, I really liked this book. It was hard-hitting and emotional at times, but it was warm, a little fluffy and thoroughly entertaining. This book was incredibly hyped since its release and rightly so! I’m looking forward to reading her next book, The Switch, and can’t wait to read what she comes up with after.
Have you read this book? What did you think about it? Alternatively, what are you reading? I’d love to chat in the comments 😊.
You can chat all things books with me on