The Flat Share by Beth O’Leary – book review

The Flat Share is an addictive rom-com, which flits between Leon and Tiffy’s somewhat parallel lives.

Tiffy Moore – niche book editor with 9-5 job and crazy ex-boyfriend. Needs immediate, cheap accommodation after said ex boots her out as he brings home another woman.

Leon Twomey – palliative care nurse working nights. Needs cash to pay for a lawyer, as his little brother has been incarcerated for a crime he didn’t commit.

It seems like the perfect solution – Tiffy and Leon share a bed. But Tiffy and Leon have never met.

Leon occupies the flat during the day, whilst Tiffy sleeps there at night. The pair converse through post-it notes on fridge doors, leaving food and sharing advice. They’re friends who share a bed, but have never seen each other face to face.

Despite being a slow starter, I completely adored The Flat Share, which sped up from half way through. From there, my whole body felt every emotion – tensing up whenever gaslighter Justin showed up, relaxing when things seemed perfect.

Within the growing love story, Tiffy is dealing with the emotional turmoil that was her previous relationship, whilst being dragged to crochet related events – only for said crazy ex to turn up and ruin things.

Leon is having relationship problems of his own, with Kay being unsupportive of her partner, who is trying desperately to get his brother out of prison by way of appeal. Meanwhile, he’s looking after terminally ill patients and trying to find one of their long lost lovers.

Kind-hearted Leon is an introvert with a lot of love to give, but unsure how to give it. Tiffy’s suffering with coming to terms with how she was abused, with the help of friends Gerty (a lawyer) and Mo (a psychologist).

Gerty agrees to take on Leon’s brother, Richie’s, appeal – but after months of preparation and hope, Tiffy is unable to make it due to a major book launch. All is going well, with Leon and Tiffy on the cusp of a relationship, until Justin drops a giant bombshell which brings everyone’s world crashing down.

The Flat Share offers small, bite-sized chapters from both Leon and Tiffy’s side. I loved whenever there was a cliff hanger I was desperate to hear their perspective again. That said, I’d have loved to hear some narrative from Gerty, Mo, Justin ad Richie’s perspective too. Justin’s thoughts would have been particularly interesting. To explore the mind of someone mentally abusing another – to discover why narcissists behave how they do.

I would love to see The Flat Share turned into a film. I could almost see it playing out in my head, envisaging Tiffy’s larger-than-life expressions. The scene in Brighton with Johnny White the Sixth, the sprained ankle, and the almost drowning would make for great on-screen watching. I think it would be an interesting concept to see Leon and Tiffy sharing the flat at different times, and delve a little deeper into other characters’ lives.

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