“I stop dead in my tracks. Someone behind me walks into me and swears (stopping abruptly in central London is a heinous crime, and immediately gives the people around you permission to kick you).”―
I had been seeing this book headlining on many of the bookish accounts I follow on instagram and when I spotted it on Audible, I just had to get it. I had just finished a particularly heavy read and The Flatshare was just what I needed to feel better.
Book: The Flatshare
Genre: Fiction / Humor / Romance
Publisher: Flatiron Publishing
My Rating: 5 Stars
Author: Beth O’Leary
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Tiffany Moore is a twenty something Londoner with a badly paid job as an editor at a quirky publishing company. She is currently in charge of a DIY book on Crochet which is gaining momentum via some interesting reviews by celeb influencers on social media. She has also just broken up with her long term boyfriend Justin and now needs a place to stay. The problem is her meager salary and the huge rental costs in London.
Leon Twomey is a 27 years old palliative care nurse who works night shifts to earn extra money. He needs money to pay for the legal fees for his unfairly imprisoned younger brother Richie. He lives in a double bedroom flat in Stockwell London and decides to find a flatmate to share costs.
Since he works nights, the flatmate would have the flat at nights and he during the day. He spent his weekends at his girlfriend Kay’s place so this was the perfect setup in every way possible.
“Life is often simple, but you don’t notice how simple it was until it gets incredibly complicated,”―
He hadn’t reckoned with our vivacious and quirky heroine who quickly worms her way into his affections with her witty post-its which she begins to strew all over the apartment. A witty banter ensues forth between the two via this novel note taking and soon they become enmeshed in each other’s lives; without actually ever meeting.
Leon is on a mission to find the lost love of one of his elderly patients Mr.Prior who had served during one of the wars and was now nearing his end. Side by side he finds time to visit Richie and figure out legal strategy with the lawyer.
Tiffy is disarmed when she runs into Justin unexpectedly at one of her book promotion events, which leaves her extremely flustered. She keeps trying to figure out what he wants as he is now newly engaged to someone else.
“Often think it must be very tiring, being Tiffy. Even in note form she seems to expend so much energy.”―
When she discovers a bag of beautifully crocheted scarves under Leon’s bed, she is hit by stupendous idea for her book promo as well as make extra cash for her flatmate. Then she somehow lands up at the hospital Leon works at to promote the book and crochet ideas among the patients as a PR exercise. She is perplexed to find that every nurse, doctor, aide, and patient at the hospice either knows of her or is curious about her. Meanwhile Leon keeps avoiding bumping into her in person, which he later regrets.
More drama comes in when Tiffy intercepts a phone call from Richie to Leon which leads to her becoming acquainted with Richie’s legal situation. Tiffy calls up her brilliant lawyer friend Gertie and coaxes her to look into his case as things don’t seem to add up there.
And then the unexpected happens when Tiffy and Leon collide, half naked in their shared bathroom.
You really need to read this book to know how it unfurls further and whether these two end up as lovers or just good friends who share a flat.
What I liked:
The story line progresses in two voices alternately – Tiffy and Leon, so we get a clear perspective of what either is thinking/feeling. The post-it writing is just so romantic and heart warming that I begin to look forward more to the notes than the actual plot.
The social media influence in the book is brilliantly woven in with the narrative of the publishing house and book promotion. I loved all the PR exercises, the eccentricities of the author and the social media gaffes.
I loved the way the characters are sketched out, especially Rachael who I thought was hilarious. Her sense of humor and timing is just impeccable and she seems to be just the perfect colleague-friend one needs at a stressful job. Tiffy comes across as chaotic at times but endearing and vivacious too. Leon is reserved and reluctant to talk much about his life.
What I didn’t like:
Midway in the story the ex-boyfriend turns out to be an obsessive stalker and a control freak AND used to gaslight and humiliate our heroine who was absolutely clueless about it. More so her friends never caught onto it or voiced their opinions about Justin till everything tumbles out of the closet. This was the only fly in the ointment for me so as to speak but the effects and process of somebody being controlled has been very effectively described here.
Overall a very enjoyable, quick and light read with just the perfect sprinkling of humor and romance to keep me enthralled with the plot. The Flatshare was just the book to pick after a very heavy read and I was glad of all the chuckles and mirth it induced.
If you like my book reviewing then perhaps you would like to check out another one here – The Stationery Shop by Marjan Kamali
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