It’s Happy Paperback Publication Day for The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary and to celebrate Quercus Books are giving you the chance to win a copy of The Flatshare with its brilliantly quirky new cover!
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About Beth O’Leary
Beth studied English at university before going into children’s publishing. She lives as close to the countryside as she can get while still being within reach of London, and wrote her first novel, The Flatshare, on her train journey to and from work.
You’ll usually find her curled up with a book, a cup of tea, and several woolly jumpers (whatever the weather).
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This book surprised me. It has the kind of charm that makes it memorable. The main character, Tiffy, is a kind of anti-Eleanor Oliphant and yet at the same time in a way a part of her is an Eleanor. This book has the same kind of quaint je ne sais quoi. An indescribable element which draws readers in.
Tiffy is looking for a place to live and Leon is looking for a flat mate. Neither of them have a lot of choice, which is how they end up coming up with a strange living arrangement. Sharing the same bed, but never at the same time – sounds like a really bizarre way to share a living space.
Leon’s girlfriend, yes he has a girlfriend, just has one rule. Never the twain shall meet. Tiffy and Leon must never be in the flat at the same time.
This is how the most entertaining part of the story evolves, as the two of them inadvertently become involved in each others lives and build a friendship without ever meeting each other. The fine lines of friendship are woven through communication, common concerns and an instantaneous emotional connection.
The other aspect of this book is how Tiffy slowly comes to the realisation that her relationship with her ex might have been anything but perfect. It’s interesting, albeit perhaps not what friends would do, how they are all invested in Tiffy making the connections herself. She isn’t swayed or convinced by anyone, she just starts to see events, actions and remarks in a different light.
The flashbacks she experiences are the beginning of an epiphany. Instead of remembering the loving boyfriend she suddenly feels different emotions. Fear, apprehension and the feeling of being manipulated. Is this because she wants to hate him for leaving her and for cheating? Or is there something more nefarious going on?
It’s a witty contemporary rom-com with endearing characters and a compelling plot. O’Leary brings humour, emotional turmoil and intense relationships to the table, she also weaves more serious topics into the story.
How easy it is to be controlled and abused without realising it and how some people can suck the life out of their partners with their sheer selfishness. Simultaneously it’s also about the fragile bridges of love and romance that can be built over distance and time without any physical interaction at all. It’s a really lovely read.
Buy The Flat Share on Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Quercus; pub date 18 April 2019. Buy at Amazon com. at Waterstones.