Author: Beth O’Leary
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Published (audio): May 28, 2019
Time: 9h 35m
Narrated by: Carrie Hope Fletcher, Kwaku Fortune
Tiffy O’Leary works days and needs a new (and cheap) place to live ASAP. Leon works nights and needs cash NOW. It seems like the perfect arrangement– she’s there at night and on weekends, he’s there only during the day. Except they aren’t just flatmates– they share a bed. And have never met.
I knew immediately from the description that I was going to like this book if, and only if, the flat share aspect of it made sense. The whole premise had the potential to be way too contrived, but it was pulled off very well. And, in doing so, it also executed one of the best slow-burn-get-to-know-one-another-first romances I’ve read in awhile. Tiffy and Leon don’t actually meet until about halfway through the book– they exchange post-it notes and scraps of paper to communicate– but it’s through these notes, full of everyday reminders and questions, that they get to know one another. The author says it best with this line:
“It’s weird how easily you can get to know someone from the traces they leave behind.”
These notes are like mini dates and help to set up so much delicious tension for the first half of the book. By the time they actually meet, which I thought was a hilarious scene, I was legit ANXIOUS for it.
What really made me fall in love with this story though was the alternating POVs from Tiffy and Leon. Normally, I’m not a fan of this style of romance writing. I like to guess what the love interest is thinking off the page– it adds to the mystery and overall “will they or won’t they” tension, but in The Flatshare it just works. Do you remember the Jamie/Aurelia story line in Love Actually? How they carried on a conversation in their native languages without even knowing they were replying to one another? They both just intuitively answered each other while revealing so much about themselves. It’s my favorite thread of that whole movie. The back and forth between Tiffy and Leon’s POV reminded me of those Love Actually scenes — they always seemed to be answering the other, even when not leaving notes. Granted, I was listening to the audio version, so I’m not sure if I’d have those same feelings reading them on the page.
The story does have a few darker elements to it, which I thought were handled with care and even the right touch of humor at times. The secondary characters were engaging and not afraid to call out the main characters, which is always a favorite for me. (Sidenote: Imma need a companion novel about Richie and his love story.)
The one aspect of the story that didn’t work for me was the Big Misunderstanding at the end– it was a bit too cliché for me. Without giving spoilers, I’m not a fan of situations that can be resolved with ONE conversation. Blergh.
As for the audio recording, I could have done without the tinny sound of the phone calls made throughout the book. It was off-putting and hard to understand at times. Overall, though, this was a delightful listen, with Carrie Hope Fletcher and Kwaku Fortune giving terrific performances as Tiffy and Leon, respectively.
The Flatshare is a fun, well-written debut from Beth O’Leary, full of interesting and complex characters and an almost perfect slow-burn romance. I give this a solid capitalized Y’all!
This book is perfect for those that like: slow-burn romances, witty dialogue, and super awkward meet-cutes.
You might not like this book if you aren’t into: stories with abusive relationships, alternating POVs, or crocheting.