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 have to admit that in all like hood if not for the Comedy Women In Print Prize I might not have picked up The Flat Share by Beth O’Leary! Not sure why, I’m not a book snob, at least I hope I’m not? I enjoy reading lots of different fiction, but what I see as Chick lit, doesn’t normally rock my reading heart. Well, reading the shortlist for this amazing book prize has taught me a very important lesson, this form of fiction is both relevant, funny and will firmly be one of my favourite go to genres.
If you look at the cover alone, it appears like a gentle easy read, nothing heavy and it is all these things. But, it is also deeply moving, relevant and funny and joylessly uplifting! On the surface Tiffy is a young, zany modern girl, who is living her perfect life, works in publishing and has friends who care about her. Underneath this, she has been damaged by a controlling relationship with a man whose obsessive behaviour is deeply disturbing and has left her fragile. Leon has a great career as a nurse, but with a wrongly imprisoned brother, his life is also in free fall and is in need of help. Put these two together and you have the basis of a book of real poignancy, told with warmth and an understanding of the strength of the human spirit.
What makes Flat Share such a wonderful read is the warmth that permeates the story and the humour that stops it becoming dark. The writer acknowledges the traumas both Leon and Tiffy have been through and does so within a story that is original and quirky. She allows their friendship to develop gradually over time and makes both characters feel warm and caring. For the first half of the book that don’t even meet and are like ships in the night, as one gets up to go to work, the other arrives home and as she develops the story, she left me yearning that they would eventually meet in real life. Beth O’Leary has created a story of quite astonishing freshness, taking an unusual idea and creating a story of endless warmth, so much so, that by the end, I was in love with the characters and the story.
I don’t often add new writers to my list of books that should automatically be purchased, but Beth O’Leary has just joined. It take talent to deliver a story that tackles difficult subjects, while creating such a feeling of hope, with liberal dollops of humour and as such, creating a book that is one of my favourites reads this year!
But why not order it from your local indie bookshop?
About the author
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 in reach of London, and wrote her first novel, The Flatshare, on her train journey to and from work.
She is now writing novels full time, and if she’s not at her desk, you’ll usually find her curled up somewhere with a book, a cup of tea, and several woolly jumpers (whatever the weather).