I’ve had The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary on my tbr for months and I finally read it over the past few days.
The Flatshare follows Tiffy and Leon. When the novel starts out, Tiffy is looking for a new flat or apartment. Her and her on-again off-again boyfriend, Justin, have been off-again for a few months but he has let her stay at the flat. He presumably has been living elsewhere and it’s hinted that he has a lot of money. Anyway, he has told her that she needs to go and his new girlfriend has made him realize that she is taking advantage of his kindness and she needs to move into her own place as well as pay him back for 3 months worth of rent. Needing a place to live that is very affordable since she owes Justin money, she answers a peculiar ad for a flat. But, this isn’t a regular roommate ad. This is a one-bedroom place so they would be sharing not just a flat, but a bed!
How would this work, you ask?
Tiffy works a regular 9-5 job as an editor for a publishing house and Leon, the guy opening up his flat to a roommate, works the nightshift as a nurse at a hospice. He needs money to help his brother. They would share the flat and bed, but never see each other. When he’s at work, Tiffy is home. When Tiffy is off at work, Leon is back.
They actually go months without ever meeting! But they do get to know each other and become friends through all the post-it notes they leave for each other. Soon notes with a sort of stranger help them feel connected and like they know each other better than anyone else.
I loved this book. It took me a bit to get into it, which is really the only reason I didn’t give it 5 stars on Goodreads, but once I got used to the writing style I really loved the storyline. The novel is told in a dual pov and the Leon chapters are the ones I had to get used to and honestly at first I didn’t think I’d get used to it. His chapters are more stream of consciousness style and his sentences are shorter and choppy. Any dialogue in his chapters are written like a play with the character name and a colon. But, as mentioned before, once I got used to the style of writing for his pov, I hardly noticed it anymore and I could really enjoy the story.
This is a romcom, but it isn’t your normal romcom with its unique storyline and it also touches on deeper topics and themes. There is emotional abuse, gaslighting, advocacy for mental health and therapy. It’s all told in a way that isn’t too heavy or serious though so if you’re worried that this book will be too heavy for a romcom, it won’t be, but just know it isn’t going to be as lighthearted as your typical romcom.
All in all, I loved the book and the back and forth post-it notes was so sweet! I wouldn’t say this is the forced proximity trope per se because even though they share a flat, they are never there at the same time for months. Maybe friends to lovers? Anyway, definitely recommend!
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