By Beth O’Leary
Assistant book editor Tiffy Moore needs an apartment — fast. Palliative care nurse Leon Twomey needs money — fast.
When Tiffy sees Leon’s ad for someone to share his flat, she thinks she’s found the perfect answer. There’s just one catch: It’s a one bedroom, one bed apartment.
As the ad explains, Leon works nights and spends weekends with his girlfriend Kay. Tiffy would have the flat to herself from 5 p.m. to 9 a.m. and all weekend long. Her friends think this is a terrible idea. The only worse one would be for Tiffy to continue staying with her ex-boyfriend Justin, who has announced his sudden engagement to a woman Tiffy has never heard mention of.
With Leon’s jealous girlfriend Kay handling the initial negotiations, Tiffy moves in. Tiffy and Leon communicate via post-it notes, offers of baked goods and left-over take-out meals. There are adjustments and accommodations. Leon adapts to Tiffy’s beanbag chair and lava lamp. Tiffy agrees to get rid of some of her many throw pillows.
Slowly, over the months of their flatshare, each lets the other know more and more about his (or her) life. Leon has a brother who was wrongfully sentenced to prison; he’s trying to save money for an appeal. Tiffy has a friend from university who has become a barrister and sometimes does pro bono work. She is able to connect Leon’s brother and her barrister friend.
Tiffy and Leon tiptoe toward love carrying a lot of baggage. Tiffy’s recovering from a relationship with the abusive, manipulative and controlling Justin. Leon spent years watching his mother fall for one inappropriate man after another and wants to be careful how he commits himself
Beth O’Leary has created a delightful romance between two engaging characters. They have a supportive friendship before they ever physically meet, yet still struggle to admit to themselves how much they care about the other.
The spanner in the works in this story is Tiffy’s ex-boyfriend, who is convinced that if he can’t have her, no one can. But with some therapy and crew of supportive friends, love triumphs in the end.
This story is a light, fun thoroughly enjoyable read.
About the Author: Beth O’Leary (1992 – )
On her website, Beth O’Leary states “I write uplifting love stories — the sorts of books you reach for when you need a hug.”
She wrote her debut novel, THE FLATSHARE, on her train commute to a job at a children’s publisher. The idea for the story came from O’Leary’s experience when she moved in with her boyfriend, Sam, a junior doctor who works a lot of night shifts. It was also inspired by the difficulties she and friends had trying to rent an affordable apartment. The novel was named 2019 Fiction Book of the Year by the British retailer WHSmith.
She has also written THE SWITCH (2020).
She now lives in the Hampshire countryside and writes full time.