The Flatshare // A book worth staying up past your bedtime for

16 April 2019

The Flatshare – Beth O’Leary
Published: 18th April 2019 (hardback)
Source: Netgalley
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
My Rating:
Tiffy Moore and Leon Twomey each have a problem and need a quick fix.

Tiffy’s been dumped by her cheating boyfriend and urgently needs a new flat. But earning minimum wage at a quirky publishing house means that her choices are limited in London.
Leon, a palliative care nurse, is more concerned with other people’s welfare than his own. Along with working night shifts looking after the terminally ill, his sole focus is on raising money to fight his brother’s unfair imprisonment.

Leon has a flat that he only uses 9 to 5. Tiffy works 9 to 5 and needs a place to sleep. The solution to their problems? To share a bed of course...

As Leon and Tiffy’s unusual arrangement becomes a reality, they start to connect through Post-It notes left for each other around the flat.

Can true love blossom even in the unlikeliest of situations?
Can true love blossom even if you never see one another?
Or does true love blossom when you are least expecting it?
I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
It's not often a book makes me stay up well past my bedtime on a school night! It's even rarer that I finish a book in one day when I've been at work for most of it. Those facts alone should say everything about this book. I know that probably won't be enough to convince most of you to read, though, which sucks because writing a review for a book you really love is hard.

It was wonderful. I was so very surprised considering I forced myself to pick up this ARC. I’d just read a really good book and knew I needed to read an ARC to try and catch up. I’d had this book on my Kindle since December and after three months I was a little less excited to read it. I should know by now I'm always making bad choices when it comes to books and the good ones come along when you least expect them.

This book is so well written and I couldn't help but be sucked in from the moment Tiffy is looking at diabolical flats in London. Tiffy was so charming she wasn't some delicate woman out of a bad relationship about to fall apart (partially because she had yet to register it was a bad relationship but more on that later). She was a 6-foot redhead who wore outrageous outfits in a rainbow of colours. She was quirky but not a manic pixie dream girl. She was just a genuine quirky woman who used to like to DIY her toys to make them fit more to her and has moved on to working in publishing where she specialises in DIY and creative books. Unfortunately, publishing is not the gold mine you dream it is as a child. So when she was on a deadline to move out of her ex’s apartment her best option is to flatshare with L Twomey who she doesn't even get to meet because his girlfriend does not want any interaction. It's weird enough they'll share a bed (not at the same time). It seems ideal. She gets it on a night and why does she care who will be sleeping there during the day since she’ll be working anyway? And weekends? Well, he’ll be at his girlfriend's. It’s ideal for her, who doesn’t want a flatmate they don’t actually have to interact with?

And L Twomey? That's Leon. He's a sweetheart and a man of few words. He works as a palliative care nurse and has decided to stick with working nights in the week to earn more money. And he desperately needs all the cash he can get which is why he has decided to share his flat (and his bed) with a stranger is his best option. Leon seems like he will be hard to get to know since he is so monosyllabic but as soon as I met him I was charmed. I mean, a man who chats to an elderly man who is dying about his wartime romance and puts a smile on a young girls face is a sweetheart in my book. He didn’t really think through the fact that when he started sharing his flat it will involve someone else’s stuff inhabiting his space which swiftly leads to notes being lead to notes being left about the flat for them to give each other updates. And well… the rest is history.

Note passing normally brings up the idea of teens at school passing notes in class. It’s sweet and occasionally flirty but all very innocent. I didn’t expect notes to be the thing which triggers an epic romance, though. But it totally worked. From little notes offering up food to another after they’ve cooked to notes complaining about someone leaving the toilet seat up. They soon descend into actual conversations which give more personal details and Tiffy discovers why Leon needs money and Leon discovers why she was so eager to find a cheap flat in central London. They get to know each other as friends and soon that friendship becomes something more once they meet and it was adorable. The notes might be what made me fall in love with this book. It's such a cute way for a romance to start and the quirk that these two are flatmates who haven't seen each other in person? That's even better.

The book is told from both Tiffy and Leon’s perspective and I was impressed with how O'Leary managed to make both Beth and Leon’s voice distinctive in both letter form and their own chapters. They each had a completely different writing style for their chapters as each mirrored their personality. Leon's was short sentences chopped down to the bare minimum to get his point across. Tiffy's were long and detailed and so positive (like her). It had plenty of detail and was quirky and fun and a bit scattered from time to time. And Leon's is so to the point he cuts through a lot of bullshit but also time flies because he spent so much time considering. You could even tell when he was tired. Whilst Tiffy’s ends up avoiding a lot of things so even I didn't see the signs about her toxic ex until she did.

The book was so much more than just Leon and Tiffy’s romance, though. They had their own storylines, Leon was trying to help his brother and Tiffy was moving on from her ex, who was toxic and emotionally manipulated her. She didn’t even want to admit how much to herself. It was only as she got used to her single life and thought about moving on with someone new that she truly realised the extent that he messed with her head. Her best friends were there to support her and I loved each and every one of them. And I adored Leon’s brother as well, I would happy for him to have his very own book. I would totally read it because I do want to know what happens next for him.

This was an absolutely brilliant read and I am so happy I didn’t keep putting off reading. It was exactly what I wanted and nothing like I expected. It packed a real punch and it was well worth the zombie-like state I was in the next day.

Have you read this, or have I convinced you to read? And what was the last book you stayed up past your bedtime to finish?
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