May 21, 2020

BOOK REVIEW: The Flatshare by Beth O'Leary

the flatshare book cover


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.


When Tiffy's (short for Tiffany) ex-boyfriend moves on to another girl, he understandably encourages her to find a place of her own but her choices are limited. Tiffy earns diddlysquat working for the publisher of a craft magazine, and she owes her ex a bit of back pay on rent. She loves her job and can't bear to quit, but she can't afford her own flat in London either. Luckily, she comes across Leon's advert.

Leon works as a palliative care nurse at a hospice facility and makes enough money to cover the rent on his place. However, he needs extra income to hire a good attorney. His brother has been wrongfully convicted of a crime and desperately needs someone to represent him in appellate court. A second job isn't really feasible for Leon because he mostly works overnight to make more money. After brainstorming various ways to make money, he ultimately decides to procure a flatmate. It seems like the perfect solution because they will be occupying the flat at opposite times of the day. (Tiffy also has custody of the flat on weekends because Leon stays at his girlfriend's place anyway).

"I have a feeling Tiffy becomes 'our girl' easily -- she's the sort of person distant relatives and absent neighbors still like to claim some credit for."

Leon's new flatmate is friendly, and loquacious, and goofy, and fun. Her bubbly personality, tall stature (six feet!), and funky outfits grab the attention of everyone around her. Leon -- on the other hand -- is kind, and stoic, and likes to keep to himself. He's not a man of many words, often settles for the status quo to avoid change, and shies away from anything that might attract attention. In other words, Tiffy and Leon are polar opposites. But, that's okay! Because they will never see each other anyway!

Instead, the flatmates communicate thru Post-Its they leave all over the flat. The notes are innocuous at first -- general house upkeep or other trivial matters -- but they become more personal over time. Soon, they realize they've found an ally in this unexpected place and a relationship starts to bloom.

"Feels so different now that I've met her. Can't believe I wasted all that time -- not just those months, but the time before that, the years of dawdling, settling, waiting."


"There's more emotion here than at an airport arrivals lounge.
Love Actually was missing a trick."

Leon and Tiffy are utterly charming, adorable, and unique. In fact, unique is the perfect way to describe this book.

The PLOT is unique.
The characters and their JOBS are unique.
The WRITING FORMAT is unique.

That's what really tips the scales and makes this book a winner in my eyes. It is so very difficult to find books that are unique. Every theme has been done a million times over (especially in romance novels), so it's exciting to read a book with a fresh storyline. 



THE FLATSHARE is a heartwarming and feelgood novel that is well worth the read.    

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