Wednesday, 10 March 2021

World Book Night 2021: Book Sixteen


The Flatshare by Beth O'Leary (Quercus publishing)


I had the chance to read this in advance format a few months before it was first published and after reading it I couldn't wait to be able to share it with other readers - in fact along with one of the other people who got an advance copy I think we tried pressing copies in to all of our colleagues' hands.

I started this thinking it was going to be another book about a woman breaking up with a long term partner and struggling to make life work in a dream job based in London.

In some ways this is what the book is about, but it turns in to so much more. Rents are expensive in London for those on a low wage so Tiffy and Leon (two strangers) have to share a flat. So far so normal...however it is a one bedroomed flat so they have to share a bed. Luckily Leon works nights and Tiffy in the daytime so they essentially flat share with an invisible person.

Through notes we learn how the two become friends and all about their back stories and this is where things get interesting as there are some incredibly powerful plot strands here and some very serious topics are covered. Unlike We Are All Made of Molecules however these are integral to the plot rather than the devices the story is hung on and (far more importantly) they are handled sensitively and realistically.

I've become a real fan of Beth O'Leary and am eagerly awaiting her third novel to come out. Don't dismiss this book as a story for Millennials or as a mindless romcom - give it a whirl...

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