Friday, November 22, 2019

Beth O'Leary - The Flatshare

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…

Comment: This has been a very well liked book recently. Usually it takes me time to get to hyped books but I had the opportunity to get this one and I must say although it wasn't as spectacular as I imagined, it was a very good read indeed.

In this story we meet Tiffy and Leon, two strangers who start sharing an apartment after Leon places an ad so that he can get some extra money to pay the lawyer who has his brother's case while he awaits a trial in prison.
At first, without having seen each other in person because of their different work hours, they only know about one another through the post-it notes they exchange. With time, though, they start getting used to the other personality traits and when they finally meet, it can possibly lead to fireworks.
The problem is that Tiffy has an ex who just won't give up...

Many readers have praised this book and I can see what might explain that appreciation, after all this book has:
A comedy-like scenario in how the two protagonists take months to meet face to face;
A heroine who is quirky and a little unaware of her appeal plus a slight "rescue needed" status;
An introvert hero with an obvious OCD type behavior once he sets his sight on something like helping his terminally ill patient to find the love of his life;
Secondary characters that help our protagonists when it truly necessary;
A villain type of guy who doesn't cross the line but is creepy enough in an emotional way;
A HEA that is swoon worthy.

All the little details that make the list above a plot in this book really make it a winner. I think the way Tiffy was so bubbly annoyed me a little, I would have liked her to be a bit more serious, a bit more focused on formal situations but I suppose that was the point of the author, she must have wanted to showcase a cutesy heroine, with her own lackings and vulnerabilities of course, but someone who wouldn't be such a doormat that the emotional abuse she suffered was only noticeable in stages. 
I mean... I'm in the fence here because I liked how the abuse was portrayed, she was not a patterned victim in how she was abused by her ex-boyfriend but then for the reader to know about those moments, the method used made Tiffy look like a scatterbrain and I think this is why I wasn't as fond of her as I could, she had some descriptions making her look a little bit cartoonish.

Leon, on the other hand, was a very good hero and I liked how he wasn't perfect, how he processed his surroundings and it's clear he is supposed to be a bit too introvert and his dealings with others reveal how reserved and distant he can be. This works to better see his change once he falls in love with Tiffy and I also loved how dedicated he was to his brother and how apparently simple but emotional his memories of childhood were and how they seemed to have shaped some of his opinions and behaviors. We get layers with these characters and for me that is always a good detail.

The plot is on the comedy side, a little unlikely and I couldn't imagine this happening in real life. I think some situations were far fetched but of course the cute part of things, the strong relationships between some characters and their takes on what was happening made for the elements that weren't as strong in my opinion. I still think there were things that could have been better done or that I'd change to my taste but well, nothing is ever so perfect.
The romance development happens gradually and has many romantic aspects, this is actually great because often the romance lacks romantic gestures or scenes and we have those here.

I think the best part of this story is how easy it is to read it. The author's style is fluid, easy to go through and there's enough complexity to make it a good contemporary and not just a simple chick lit read. There are many references that clearly indicate this was written by a British author (British characters always seem to drink so much alcohol...) but it's still possible to just fly away among the pages and focus on what is happening. I'll definitely read her next book.
Grade: 8/10

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