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…
I’ve seen this contemporary romance novel everywhere. And I mean literally everywhere. From bookstagram to twitter, there’s not a soul alive that hasn’t heard of The Flat Share. I’ve been dying to read it for ages and the minute it dropped in price, I grabbed the ebook as fast as I could. I also included it in my Romance Reading List.
I love the romance genre and read a number of books that fall under that category in my life. However, I went into The Flat Share cautiously. I’ve had so many experiences with overhyped books that now I try to keep a clear head when reading them. It’s helped that I haven’t read reviews on it in a while.
Beth O’Leary really did something here.
You’ve got the usual ingredients for a good romance novel. A girl, Tiffy, who’s finding herself. A guy, Leon, with his own issues. An uncomfortable situation in the picture of a flatshare, where one sleeps in the bed during the day and the other during the night. The cutest method of communicating through post-it notes. A story of hope, the scary but beautiful message of starting over and finding love where (and when) you least expect it.
“Look,’ he says, ‘have you ever looked forward to reading a book so much you can’t actually start it?”
The pacing was exceptional. I felt like it built slowly but it wasn’t dragging. It seemed that their romance was organic. I knew they were going to fall in love but their situation made me wonder exactly how that was going to happen. Months were going by where they hadn’t met despite living together. There were parts where I smiled at how cute this story was.
Tiffy is eccentric. She’s loud and cheerful. You can tell she’s one of those optimistic people who will always bring a smile to people’s faces. She’s kind and loving. I liked her as a protagonist. As for Leon…where do I even start? I loved how he wasn’t the typical ‘bad-boy’ confident hero that swoops in to save the day. He was awkward, shy and incredibly introverted. His nervousness stole my heart and I adored how much he loved his family. Leon was truly the best character for me. (Alongside Rachel of course, Tiffy’s crazy friend)
His narrative was a bit awkward to get into, which is why it dropped a star for me. I suspect O’Leary wrote it that way as a reflection of his character. It irritated me to begin with but I gradually adjusted to it.
“Being nice is a good thing. You can be strong and nice. You don’t have to be one or the other.”
However, whilst this is a cute typical love story. It does have a dark layer where O’Leary explores emotional abuse and gaslighting in relationships as Tiffy comes to terms with her past relationship. Reading about gaslighting in relationships isn’t something that I have seen done often but I liked how O’Leary done it. Tiffy had to work through it herself. It wasn’t that Leon came along and suddenly, she was magically better – which is a storyline I hate with an absolute passion.
“Remind myself that there is no saving of people —people can only save themselves. The best you can do is help when they’re ready.”
This is such a timely post. More than ever, we’re talking about the extra lengths women go through just to be safe in a society that protects men. I know we say that racism is ingrained but patriarchy is too. Women are always taught to be cautious when they leave their house. Send a message to a friend. Carry your keys in your fists. Take a cab when it gets dark. Wear bright clothing. Never have two headphones in.
Why is it our responsibility to take extra measures?
It’s men that abuse their dominance to seek out women. They rely on the privilege a society born out of patriarchy gives them. The obsessiveness that Tiffy’s ex has with her is only a small example of the variety of dangers that involve men in.
Looking back now, Tiffy’s ex’s actions are even more frightening because I could imagine how much worse some scenes could have been if certain people weren’t there. It’s terrifying to think that even though this is fiction, it has the potential to be someone’s truth.
Additionally, I also liked the wrong conviction storyline and the trauma that it can have someone who has been falsely imprisoned for something they didn’t do. I would have liked to have seen it in more detail. However, I recognise that the love between Tiffy and Leon was at the forefront of this novel.
If you’re looking for a romance novel about hope and truly being yourself, then this book is the one for you.