Opening sentence: “You’ve got to say this for desperation: it makes you much more open-minded.”
Oh I just loved, loved, loved the story of Tiffy and Leon and was a more than a little sad when my walks to and from work were no longer accompanied by them. As I mentioned in a previous post, romance is a pretty unread genre for me; but it appears my cynical, cold heart must be melting slightly as I’m totally here for an all-out love story these days. As long as it’s funny, clever, superbly written, gives me all the feels and has something a little different to offer. Safe to say, The Flatshare does.
First, there’s the unique concept: Leon works nights and needs some extra cash so hits on the idea of renting out his bed for someone else to sleep in at nights when he’s not there. Tiffy has just broken up with Justin and is still living in his flat, she urgently needs a place to live, sees Leon’s advert and takes him up on the offer. This leads to the unusual situation where they share a flat – and a bed – but are never in it at the same time, so don’t meet. Until they do. They communicate through notes left all over their flat and their relationship develops in a charming, old-school way. This being a romance, you obviously have an idea about where the story is going, but it’s how it gets there that makes this such a great tale. Tiffy and Leon also have a notable trip to my hometown of Brighton, which made me invest in the story even more.
I wake with a jolt that sends a shock of pain through my ankle. Crying out, I look around me. Floral wallpaper. Am I at home? Who’s that man in the chair by the door, reading …. “Twilight?” Leon blinks at me, putting the book down in his lap. ‘You went from unconscious to judgemental very quickly there.’
The second thing that really sold The Flatshare to me was the wonderful characters, they are among the most memorable that I’ve encountered in a while. Tiffy is a true legend; she loves a print clash, embraces her height and bold red hair and has a beautiful, genuine personality. I’d like to go for a drink with her. Leon is so kind and funny and I really did connect with them, they felt like fully formed, real people.
I’m very particular about my audiobook narrators (I just won’t listen if I don’t like them) but Carrie Hope Fletcher and Kwaku Fortune were brilliant, they truly brought Tiffy and Leon to life and were a delight to listen to. This is Beth O’Leary’s debut novel and I’ll certainly be watching out for her next book. I encourage you to listen to or read The Flatshare just to spend a few hours in the company of Tiffy and Leon. You won’t regret it.
- Published by Quercus 2019
- Audiobook narrated by Carrie Hope Fletcher and Kwaku Fortune
- Running time: 9 hours 35 mins
- My rating: