A fair amount of time has passed since i last uploaded review, but a lot has been going on! I also lost my love for reading temporarily which didn’t help me rush to find the time. However, while taking a well-earned break upon The Magic At Sea (a Disney Staycation Cruise) I had a few hours each day to myself which I used to read a book that had been on my TBR list for what seemed like forever! The Flat Share caught my interest while flicking through social media and other book blogs but had been at the bottom for some time and when I was buying sticker books for my daughter, I noticed it was in a special offer so it seemed silly not to pick it up for myself.
Tiffy has been broken up with Justin (the worst boyfriend ever by the way! Seriously cannot hate a character anymore than I hate Justin!£ for a while but still lives in his flat. Deciding that she needs to take back her life, she moves out. Sadly Tiffy, like many of us, has a pretty low wage and can’t afford her own flat and is pulled in to a flat share of epic proportions with a seriously low price. Why is the price so low? Because it’s a one bedroom flat with one bed, and the other flat dweller is Leon- an over worked hospice nurse with an innocent brother in prison and a less than understanding girlfriend (I think she’s stuck up, but I think each reader will have their own interpretation). How will this arrangement work? Simple! Leon works nights so will have the bed in the day, and Tiffy works days so will have the bed in the night. Weekends are Leon at his girlfriends place and Tiffy being sick he has the place to her self.
So what stops this arrangement working? Leon and his girlfriend split up, meaning he has no refuge for weekends. Justin (the creep) keeps turning up and literally ruining things for poor Tiffy. Meanwhile Leon’s brother as struggling in prison, and Tiffy’s discovery of a bag of crocheted scarves under the time-share bed helps her and Leon out no end, meaning Tiffy and Leon become involved in each others lives more than they had ever bargained for.
When I first started to read The Flat Share I kept thinking it won’t work, I won’t make it to the end, the brother will turn out to be guilty and it’s going to be one of those books that has too much hype and not enough meat on its bones. BUT how wrong I was!
What really blew me away, was how O’Leary can write to narratives from two polar opposite characters and get it so right! Even the dialogue is set out differently and somehow it’s more “readable” and easy to follow! It was as if Leon and Tiffy were written by two different people! I also really enjoyed the end result and how Justin got exactly what he deserved! I also kept wondering if Leon’s brother was innocent or guilty as we had to take everything about his story at face value, and I was waiting for a twist about him but was really relieved that it all worked out.
Over all, The Flat Share was a pleasantly surprising read and well worth sticking with through to the very end and I’ll be recommending it to everyone as a really good and alternative summer read.
The Flat Share was O’Leary’s debut novel and was written on the train while working as a children’s publisher in 2019 and has since gone on to publish The Switch: A Novel, The Switch 2 (both in 2020) and The Road Trip (available now).