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…
*ARC received via Netgalley in exchange of an honest review. The thoughts are entirely my own and in no way biased.*
Let’s premeditate this one with a message that past Pragati really needs a whack in the head for not having read this book sooner, shall we? BECAUSE PAST PRAGS IS MISSING OUT AND IT’S ALL HER FAULT FOR NOT HAVING READ THIS SOONER!
Anyway, coming to the book. The Flatshare follows the story of Tiffy and Leon who share an apartment, and even a bed, but somehow do not meet till almost half of the book is over. This is because Leon works the night shift at a hospital and is gone during the hours that Tiffy is home while Tiffy works when he’s home. Most of their interaction is in the form of post – its that they leave all around the house for each other, and let me tell you, they are the cutest ever! These two dorks talk about everything under the sun in those post its. From getting to know each other to becoming friends and bantering their way into deep, meaningful talks – all of it happens over post it notes.
What I love most about this book is the character arc for both Tiffy and Leon. There is a lot of importance given to them growing as individuals throughout the story. Though both Tiffy and Leon are there for each other through some of the most hard times a person could ever see, they’re not dependent on each other. They find some amount of strength in the other, but at no point are they too dependent on each other to battle their way through whatever is happening in their life. Yes, the support is definitely welcome, as it generally is, but they have an individual journey of coming out on top of their issues and that is perhaps the most beautiful thing about this book.
Generally, when stories, especially those that are romance, have such subplots, the relationship seems to be the cure for all problems in the leads’ lives. But, The Flatshare focuses on showing that it’s a person can get better only by their own determination, and no one else’s. This is emphasized so brilliantly in Tiffy’s journey through the story as she comes to terms with her past, and learns to stand up for herself. I absolutely loved that though Tiffy had friends who’d been there for her from the start, and then she had Leon, she came to her realizations on her own, and she owned up to them, and then took the initiative to get better herself, for herself, and not for anyone else, or on someone’s beckoning. It is so, so, so important to highlight that for people, because mental illness is something you deal with on your own, no matter how much support you have. You have to want to get better yourself, and you have to take steps to do so. The way this was shown in the story just makes me love it so much!
I also love how O’Leary shows Leon’s growth in the story. He’s a man of a few words, but he makes it a point to speak when it matters, and he always tries to say the right words, because he knows just how damaging words can be. I love that he weighs what he speaks. Often, people say things they don’t mean in the heat of the moment, but Leon always thinks before he talks, and he reserves most of his words for the people that are special to him. Which is why when he does talk, it is so pleasing because you know that Leon is genuinely making an effort because he likes this person a lot. He’s obviously not expressive, but as he spends time with Tiffy, he learns to emote more and speak his feelings out loud which I love.
This is one of those stories where you somehow love the supporting characters almost as much as the leads, maybe even more. They all have their own journey in the story which is very well fleshed out. They’re all constant occurrences throughout the book and no one is forgotten, and none of them is sloppily written. They all have such distinct personalities and they all come out very beautifully on page. My favourite side character has to be Richie, who is Leon’s brother, and just about adores both Tiffy and Leon the most. His story is so heartbreaking, and the way he still holds onto hope after everything is heartwarming and amazing to see.
The romance, though. The romance. Oof. It is so well thought out and extremely well written. The progress of Tiffy and Leon’s relationship is just right. You never feel that it’s fast paced or slow paced. They take their time getting to know each other, and then when they get together, it’s like the most natural thing in the world. It’s like… it’s like it is an inevitable thing. And it doesn’t feel like they’re together because they’re the leads and that’s why they’re together because of course that’s what the story is. They’re together because they’re meant to be together. The understanding, respect, and admiration that they both have for each other, and the way they’re always there for the other, elevating them, and making the other feel better about themselves is just as heartwarming. Even before they got together, they had somehow become support systems for each other who looked out for the other just because they genuinely cared about each other without any underlying romantic feelings or hidden agenda and it was just really beautiful to watch.
I absolutely love every aspect of this book, and if I sit here and talk, I could wax beautiful poetry about it for the next 5 hours, but some of us our busy with their lives and need to get going, so I’ll just wrap this up by saying that YOU NEED TO READ THIS BOOK NOW!
Beth O’Leary is a Sunday Times bestselling author whose books have been translated into more than 30 languages.
She wrote her debut novel, The Flatshare, on her train journey to and from her job at a children’s publisher.
She now lives in the Hampshire countryside and writes full time.
Have you read The Flatshare? How much did you like it? How excited are you for The Switch coming out in April?