By Beth O'Leary
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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…Tweet
If romance was my thing, I might have given this four stars. As is, it's a solid three: light-hearted, mildly amusing, and utterly predictable. While there's a lot to like about this book, from its entertaining setup to its quirky characters to its heartwarming array of relationships (romantic and otherwise), there was absolutely nothing to surprise me about this novel. It's all so completely predictable that I could tell you the whole plot and it really wouldn't be a spoiler. What happens to the nasty ex-boyfriend? Exactly what you expect. What happens to the brother in prison? Exactly what you want. Do the main characters get together? You'll just have to read it to find out... (except not, because you know the answer from the instant you glance at the cover).
Apart from the utter predictability, it's actually quite an enjoyable novel. I genuinely liked the characters and wanted things to work out for them. There are some fun subplots woven in with the main narrative (I particularly liked the Jonny White hunt) and I appreciated the treatment of emotional abuse. While the novel would have been stronger if things hadn't been quite so black and white (the constant chat about "gaslighting" and whatnot can make the novel seem a bit more preachy) it was enjoyable to read a story about two genuinely nice people developing a relationship together. A few things seemed contrived (would they really start pouring out their hearts to each other via notes so quickly??) but for the most part it managed to walk that line between realistic and larger-than-life.
Overall, this isn't going to be a book that sticks with me, but, then again, I've never found a romance novel that has. It was, however, a bit of good fun in the midst of all this coronavirus panic, and I'd quite happily recommend it to anyone who likes romance more than I do.
Review posted to Goodreads.
Tiffy and Leon both live in London. Tiffy needs to move house quickly and she needs somewhere cheap. Leon has a one-bed flat, works nights as a nurse and needs some extra cash. He advertises for somebody to “flatshare”. He would use the flat on weekdays during the day and would spend the weekends with his girlfriend. His flatmate would have the run of the flat for the rest of the time. Against the better judgement of her friends, Tiffy moves in. The rest is history and is recorded for posterity by Beth O’Leary.
This is a very unique premise for a book and the author wasted made the most of the opportunity that she had created for herself. Obviously there are a myriad ways in which things can get horribly complicated and most of them crop up at some point. I expected it to be a jaunty (but enjoyable) holiday read. However I was surprised to find that, rather than being trite, this book had hidden depths. The two main characters each had issues which they were struggling to resolve and these are tackled head-on by the author who explores them sympathetically and in some detail. The characters themselves were both likeable and plausible and, although it was quite hard going and a little slow at the start, it soon gained momentum and I found myself really invested in the characters and rooting for everything to work out well for them. There is a really good storyline which develops naturally over the course of the book and there is also a lot of humour.
The big problem I had with the book (apart from the slow start), was the writing style. I found it stilted at times and it just didn’t seem to flow naturally. One of the tactics the author empoloyed was to use a different “voice” for each of the two main characters and they really were quite distinct. Speech, for example, was represented completely differently depending on the narrator. One was a very conventional method and the other was one that I hadn’t come across before which, possibly because of its unfamiliarity, I found hard to follow. Another way of differentiating the narrators was that one told the story almost in note form so that sentences didn’t even pretend to be “complete”. I found all this a bit off-putting at times, although I did settle into it as the book progressed. Until I reached that point, the prose seemed to be lacking any natural flow or fluency.
The Flatshare is Beth O’Leary’s debut novel but apparently there are more in the pipeline which I would be more than happy to read. Recommended for almost anyone who enjoys a good story well told.
I was delighted when our reading group chose this book, partly because I have already read it so less homework for me, but also I think it's a very clever, well written, easy-to-read book that deserves to be read by many ! I look forward to what Beth has in store for her second book.
I loved this book - the characters are wonderful and you will fall in love with them! Also funny, well-paced, and with some serious bits cleverly worked in. Highly recommended!
I have to admit this book was a complete surprise to me! It's not my usual read at all, but I absolutely loved it.
I found the premise really interesting, the characters were really well written and the whole thing was compelling. I felt it handled the potentially difficult subject matter in a really sensitive way, and managed to be both realistic and uplifting.
I really enjoyed this novel. Great characters that I warmed to and the story was really witty throughout. The story is only ever going in one direction, but that doesn’t matter and it’s a pleasure getting there in the end. This would make a great TV series or movie. A definite favourite that I’ve read so far this year.
This novel is based on a really interesting concept: a Flatshare where two people share a home and a bed but never actually meet.
It's well-written and engaging, with a cast of likeable characters (plus the off villian).
However, I felt it was too long - the story could easily have been told in 100 fewer pages - and the plot was fairly predictable.
But, overall it's an uplifting and fun read.
I enjoyed the book. Took a while to become used to the style of writing - short sentences, constructed as thinking rather than talking. By about page 69 I was hooked. It covers various aspects of life - easy, pleasant read.
A well written debut novel that is both uplifting and enjoyable.