When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. When life gives you the perfect book at exactly the right time, share the hell out of it. That’s how the saying goes, right?
Title: The Flatshare
Author: Beth O’Leary
“‘Your brain can do amazing stuff to protect itself from pain.'”
Have you ever read a book and felt like it was written for you? That was The Flatshare for me. It resonated with me on a personal level; I felt a deep affinity with our main character, Tiffy, who throughout the novel was struggling with unresolved issues stemming from a past relationship, all whilst attempting to keep up appearances with her friends and at work.
The novel is told from the dual perspectives of Tiffy, a quirky book editor, and Leon, a nurse who works night shifts in respite care. When Tiffy is essentially rendered homeless as a result of the fallout with her ex-boyfriend, she is forced to find alternate accommodation. With extortionate London rents, her options are limited, until she spots Leon’s advert for an unconventional flatshare arrangement with a stranger. Cue Tiffy and Leon’s new living situation.
The character development throughout this book is strong; both individually and as a pair, Tiffy and Leon’s stories mesh perfectly. The supporting characters and sub-plots are equally well executed. Additionally, the themes explored are serious and relevant; from gaslighting in toxic relationships, to racial bias and wrongful incarceration, this novel manages to successfully tackle a wide variety of topics.
Honestly, one of the best contemporary novels I’ve read in years, perhaps ever.
I cannot praise this book highly enough, and the fact that it has just been named as WHSmith’s Fiction Book of the Year speaks volumes. Thank you Beth O’Leary and The Flatshare for such a perfectly poignant piece of literature!
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