“Being nice is a good thing. You can be strong and nice. You don’t have to be one or the other.” - Beth O'Leary, The Flatshare
Dear Reader, How would I describe this novel in three words? Endearing, charming and incredibly heartwarming. A cheesy romance novel that is guaranteed to bring a smile to your face (and raise eyebrows at times).
Just to give you a small snippet into the world of Flat Share: the story follows two main characters, Tiffy Moore and Leon Twomley, as they navigate their careers and personal relationships whilst living in the heart of London. Through sheer desperation, they end up as flatmates sharing one bed between them. Tiffy gets the flat during the evenings and weekends. Leon has custody during weekdays, working as a palliative care nurse at night.
The novel changes perspective every chapter. Initially, this makes for quite the roller coaster when flitting between Tiffy's flowery verbosity (she does work at a publishing house after all) and Leon's to the point staccato tone of voice. It seems that Tiffy and Leon couldn’t be more different, but their evident disparity surprisingly blends into a balance of opposing forces (call it yin and yang if you will), imbuing a sense of symbiosis between them. Unconventional? Yes. Unusual? Yes. Borderline kooky? Oh yes. But somehow it just works.
A warning: don’t be fooled by this novel’s initial bubblegum, happy, fun facade. As the story progresses the author brilliantly (and perhaps deliberately) weaves in quite a sobering range of themes including mental health, crime and family. Not to worry though, O’Leary expertly administers these tidbits with small spoonfuls rather than introducing them by the bucket-load. Light and cheery is the order of the day, dark and dreary is kept at bay.
I must share with you with one of my favourite quotes from the book:
“Life is often simple, but you don’t notice how simple it was until it gets incredibly complicated.”
Can you relate?
The best setting to read this book in you ask? I would say with a hot cup of coffee or tea (or preferably cocoa if you have any on hand), something sweet (maybe some tiffin or a few chocolate digestives), a blanket that looks like it was stitched together with love from Grandma, and incense or a candle for that final flourish.
I hope you read this book soon, it's the perfect pick me up if you're feeling a bit low. Can't wait to hear what you think!
- Gia x
Dear reader, keep an eye out for a Tiffy inspired recipe coming soon!
Comment down below with what you think it might be. - Gia xx