• Well Red

The Flatshare

Title: The Flatshare

Author: Beth O’Leary

Published: 2019

Publisher: Quercus Publishing

Rating: ****

Genre: Romcom, Chick Lit, Romance

Difficulty: Easy

Number of pages: 432

Trigger warning – abuse

Always spoiler free – ah, ish, in this case.

I got this book from one of my book subscription things months ago – How Novel Book Club, to be precise – and while I chose this book based on its general theme, I wasn’t sure if it was something that I wanted to read. Not really my favourite genre. So, I ignored it for a bit.

I made assumptions. I was wrong.

Tiffy and Leon share a bed. Tiffy and Leon have never met. (Or – Tiffy needs to find a flat share in London and has a very low budget, coming out of a relationship. Leon needs extra money to help his brother and works the nightshift as a nurse. Together they share the same one bedroom flat, including the same bed.)

While it is fair to say that The Flatshare is an easy read, it covers some serious topics. And yes, it is funny and cute and romantic, but it’s not sleazy or sexist/misogynistic, which is an annoying pitfall many ‘romcom’ books find themselves in. I originally wrote it wasn’t cliched, but it kinda is, in a good way. To be fair – it is a romance book. We’re all expecting some flirting, comedy and romance!

Tiffy and Leon felt like real people. I like that. They were both flawed – but with, real flaws, not over dramatic flaws that makes you think if you ever knew these people in real life you would definitely bash them over the head (or something similar). While, as with any book, there are definitely some very ‘fictional/unrealistic’ aspects of the plot, it definitely felt more grounded in reality then I was expecting. I also feel like Tiffy and I would be good friends in real life. She’s quirky – I get it (yes, I know, quirky character as a MC in a romcom novel – cliched much?!).

What particularly appealed to me was the portrayal of emotional abuse. Or rather, the aftereffects. I don’t know if O’Leary researched this. I don’t know if the portrayal is accurate (I hope it is, it felt like it), but it felt natural and personal. It’s very unusual to see the inclusion of something very serious like this in a ‘lighter’ themed book. I mean, I’ve read romance books where ‘abuse’ is included as a plot point, but it’s often not very well executed/done for the drama of it. The Flatshare does it in the right way.

The prose was good as well. It was an easy read, and I loved little aspects peppered within it. The notes between Tiffy and Leon, for example, really showcased their different personalities.

The book is seriously feelgood. It doesn’t promise to be anything more then that, and it delivers that in spades.

Well Red Reviews

Would I recommend this book? Yes

Favourite quote(s):

"Twilight?" Leon blinks at me, putting the book down in his lap.

'You went from unconscious to judgemental very quickly there.”

“Now, huddled in a corner with three Aldi bags of knitting needles, crochet hooks and wool, accompanied by an ex-hippy and a sardine sandwich, I can no longer deny the fact that my life has taken a turn for the worse.”

“The sudden rememberings are striking at entirely random times now, just bobbing up out of nowhere and sending me absolutely reeling.”

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