by Beth O’Leary
The Flat Share is an unapologetic rom-com with all the highs and lows you would expect from the genre. And whilst not breaking any new ground, it is strangely original in its concept.
The small cast of characters is led by the book’s two narrators: Tiff and Leon. The style of their individual narratives is a perfect reflection of their very different personalities. Tiff is gregarious and scatty; Leon is steady, reliable and precise. Tiff loves words and they cascade from her mouth and pen and ants from a nest. On the other hand, Leon is quiet and uses words sparingly like a precious resource not to be squandered.
Leon has a one-bedroom flat, a girlfriend and is in need of extra money to help his brother. Tiff needs a new place following the breakup from her long term boyfriend, Justin. Their friends think they are both crazy but for Leon and Tiff, it is a perfect solution. He works during the night and spends the weekends with his girlfriend. She works during the day. They share the flat (and the bed) without ever having to meet. The arrangement suites them both so what could possibly go wrong?
For the first few months the arrangement does work, but eventually their lives grow increasingly intertwined and the result are inevitable.
As I said, the story breaks no new ground and there is an inevitability about the direction the story takes, but I enjoyed the book immensely. I particularly loved to hate the character of Justin who introduces a sinister edge to the tale. There are plenty of will-they-won’t-they moments and some very funny incidents along the way. The characters are all very interesting and the little sub-plots keep the narrative chugging along very nicely.
Tiff and Leon’s relationship blossoms slowly and at each turn I kept wishing for them to speak their minds and see what the reader can see.
The Flat Share is a funny, delightful and easy read, perfect for those times when you just want to be entertained.