⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Slow start finds its footing along the way

The Flatshare

I loved the premise of this book – two people falling for each other by combining their homes and exchanging notes without ever meeting. It’s an understated romance, with a significant portion of the book dedicated to personal growth and character development, rather than moving the relationship forward. But it’s all done in the name of getting these two depressed, overwhelmed opposites to the place they need to be in order to find a healthy relationship. So while I struggled to connect to the story towards the beginning – especially Leon’s way of speaking – I loved the direction the book took partway through.

The story follows Tiffy, a woman who loves to wear colorful ensembles and is struggling to get over her breakup with her on-again, off-again boyfriend. She’s still living in his apartment and acknowledges that it’s becoming more difficult to hold out hope that they’ll get back together this time since he’s moved on with another woman. Desperate to find a place that’s affordable with her meager budget, she agrees to a flatshare – sharing a one bedroom apartment with a guy who works during the night. They share everything from furniture to a bed, but Tiffy has never met Leon. Somewhere along the way, they begin exchanging quick notes in an effort to communicate about mundane things, and those notes slowly develop into a friendship, then the possibility of more.

One thing to note is that this is a decidedly British book. By that I mean that both the dialogue and writing style itself are unlike anything you’d find written by an American author, and that does taking a little getting used to. I’ll be honest and say that the writing style paired with the slow pace of the relationship – Leon has a girlfriend for a significant portion of the book and even the notes don’t begin for a while – made it difficult to connect right away. I wasn’t sure I was loving it, but Tiffy and Leon have such personal growth in the book that the story and relationship gets brighter and better as they do. Fans of women’s fiction will probably enjoy this more than those who like romance, but Tiffy and Leon’s relationship is the focal point of the book. Ultimately, it won me over and I was rooting for these two awkward individuals to find their way together.

The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary. My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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