Book: The Flatshare
Author: Beth O’Leary
Genre: Contemporary Romance
My Rating: 4.25/5 Stars
“Now my flat’s not mine, it’s ours, and when she’s gone all I will see is the absence of rocky road and books about bricklayers and that bloody stupid paisley beanbag. It’ll be another room full of what’s missing. Just what I didn’t want.”
This was a charming book with a unique concept. It definitely held up to my standard of a romance: easy to fall into and easy to love. My experience was thoroughly enjoyable.
When Tiffy is desperate for a new flat, after her boyfriend breaks up with her, she finds herself with no good options. So it’s no wonder she decides to settle with an unusual situation created by a man named Leon: share a flat with a stranger but never meet. Their jobs make it so that they don’t have to be home at the same time: Tiffy can have it at night and Leon can have it during the day. But when they start communicating through notes and get to know each other better, they suddenly desire to meet. Despite this shared interest, the doubts creep in, especially when the past won’t leave them alone.
“It was a weird way to get to know Leon, writing all these notes over the last few months, and it sort of happened without me noticing – one minute I was scribbling him a quick note about leftovers, the next I was in a full-on, day-to-day correspondence.”
I feel like this book emanated so many different moods. It was a little bit silly, it seemed innocent and serious at the same time, and it was funny and awkward too. Not gonna lie, the awkwardness of the entire situation was a delight to read through. Everything was also super British (obviously); I’m bringing this up only because of how different certain words were from what I’m used to in North America. It was fun to compare them.
The chapters jumped between the duel perspectives of Tiffy and Leon, and not only were their differing personalities apparent from what we were told, but it was also made clear through the writing style in their respective chapters. I found this beyond interesting, especially in Leon’s chapters, because they were written in such an unexpected way. I kind of thought of them as a diary entry, the way his thought process was portrayed.
I was really curious about how their romance would start because I imagined that they wouldn’t meet for some time, but the meeting happened sooner than I expected. I have to say that Leon, as the love interest, was an absolute win. The awkward, quiet, sensitive types always get me. He portrayed no possessiveness or aggression or toxic masculinity. He even gave Tiffy all of the space she needed to sort through things and was always there for her when she needed him. I mean, I feel like I’m praising him for doing the bare minimum, but still.
“Remind myself that there is no saving of people—people can only save themselves. The best you can do is help when they’re ready.”
I was a little confused about the way Tiffy’s friendships with Gerty and Mo were presented. It was always her contacting them when she needed something. They were constantly her support from one problem to the next, which is a great thing, but that was as far as their friendships went. We never really saw them if Tiffy wasn’t in some kind of trouble and I wish more aspects of them were shown.
And side note: most insane ex-boyfriend I’ve ever read about.
Though this wasn’t perfect, I’m glad that this was the choice I went with when I was craving a romance. It made me smile big at times, laugh, and even get teary-eyed. I will definitely be checking out more of O’Leary’s books in the future.