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Genre: Adult | Contemporary Romance | Roommates
Epistolary Romance | Friends-to-Lovers
Read Count: 1
My Rating: 3.8 stars!
Description: 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…
The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary is a book that I’ve seen everywhere in the last month… and a book that immediately caught my attention when I heard what it was about. To be fair, any book about a romance (or something) between roommates always grabs me, and this one sounded extra intriguing and unique.
This book follows Tiffy and Leon, both of whom have a problem that requires a quick fix. Leon needs money to pay for his brother’s lawyer bills (sorry, more information on that in the book!) and requires a roommate to help offset his rent, and Tiffy needs a place to stay after her ex-boyfriend becomes and ex.
It’s certainly a unique situation, as it holds one of my favorite tropes: There’s only one bed. But Leon works nights, so he gets the apartment 9am-6pm (sleeping during the day) and Tiffy gets the apartment 6pm – 9am. They’ve never met, but it works, each essentially getting their own apartment for when they’re not at work, even if space is a bit cramped (because Tiffy has a lot of stuff).
At some point, we may need to do a bit of a tidy of our notes to one another, by the way. The flat is starting to look like a scene from A Beautiful Mind.
Eventually, Leon and Tiffy start to communicate. It starts innocently enough, with someone leaving a note about the food in the fridge, and then it exploded until their walls are covered in the various Post-it notes around the apartment, as they tell each other about random things from their day. Again… they haven’t met in person and have only texted maybe twice. But they communicate through notes all over their apartment which was incredible. I love an epistolary romance, and though this wasn’t quite it, they connected through the written word, without even knowing what the other looked like, and it was dorky and absolutely everything to me!
This book is a bit difficult for me. I LOVED the concept, and I even enjoyed the characters, but it took me a while to get into. It has a slow narrative and the way Leon’s perspective was written in this dual-pov was a tad off-putting. I loved that she changed her writing style for his perspective, making the dual POV’s very distinct and letting their personality dictate the narrative, but his perspective was very hard to get used to, as it didn’t use full sentence structure. It’s like it was written in bullet-points, then translated to sentences with some punctuation.
As I peel the Post-its and taped scraps of paper off cupboard doors, tables, walls, and (in one case) the bin lid, I find myself grinning. It was a weird way to get to know Leon, writing all these notes over the last few months, and it sort of happened without me noticing – one minute I was scribbling him a quick note about leftovers, the next I was in a full-on, day-to-day correspondence.
It was a bit difficult for me to get into, and even while I was reading it, and I didn’t think I was enjoying myself. Until I caught myself rubbing my cheek and realized that my smile muscles were hurting! I had to take a pause at that point. Yes it was goofy, and the writing style wasn’t something I liked with Leon, but I still was grinning at the hilarity and enjoying the hell out of the story anyway.
The story was also very subtle in ways that I appreciated. Their friendship, for one, was something that grew very gradually until it seemed just natural that of course they would be so close and share vulnerabilities – even if, again, they’d never met. There were a few side-plots, too, that kept me invested in the story, even if the friends-to-lovers aspect didn’t move nearly as fast. I never enjoy romances where it’s just Hero&Heroine and you never see anything outside of that. This was… almost the opposite (until they met, at least), which I actually liked! We really got to know the characters and their friends and it felt more genuine that way. But once the two of them met… damn. I loved how shy, kind and introspective Leon was, and how bubbly, infectious and effervescent Tiffy was.
Something also to mention, was I really liked Tiffy’s journey. She’s fresh out of a draining several-year relationship and starts to realize how manipulative and abusive it was, and I thought it was portrayed very well. He never hit her, but through subtle and not-so-subtle manipulations, he undermined her confidence and was in complete control of their relationship. And things only deteriorated. Tiffy had a lot of healing to do, and I thought her journey was done quite well. That, plus the friends-to-lovers, epistolary aspect of this story, sold me. ✨
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Have you read The Flatshare? What are some epistolary or friends-to-lovers books that you love? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you!