The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary

The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary. Quercus, 2019.

I’ve read The Flatshare before and really enjoyed it, but I kept seeing adverts for a TV adaptation of it, so I was prompted to revisit the novel.

The Flatshare tells the story of Tiffy and Leon. Tiffy needs a cheap place to live after breaking up with her boyfriend; Leon needs extra income to help pay for a lawyer for his brother. He comes up with the idea of renting out his flat when he’s not there – working night shifts as a hospice nurse means his flat is empty during the evenings and weekends.

And so begins an unconventional flatshare: two flatmates who share a bed but never at the same time. And, at the request of Leon’s girlfriend, the two never meet. They communicate through Post-It notes left around the flat when necessary, and a friendship begins to blossom.

The Flatshare is an easy-to-read novel with an engaging storyline – the way the chapters alternate between the two main characters gives the novel a fast pace that keeps you turning the pages. The change of style between Tiffy and Leon’s chapters keeps each character distinct, and both characters are engaging and rounded. The secondary characters are great, too.

When I first heard about The Flatshare I loved the premise of the book, and I love it still – two people never meeting, but communicating through letters or notes. This isn’t a new concept, yet it’s executed in a fun and fresh way. There’s something nostalgic about them writing notes instead of using technology; it feels like a more intimate form of communication for two people who share the same bed – strictly keeping to their own sides – but never at the same time.

When I read the book the first time, I guessed how the main story would play out, but it didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the book. There are other elements of the story, though, that did take me by surprise. It was these that added an extra depth to this book for me, elevating it from a standard chick-lit/romance novel. I won’t give any spoilers, but O’Leary treats a difficult subject with delicacy and insight.

There was something very comforting about rereading this book, this time around. Revisiting these characters and being a part of their story again was really enjoyable and I missed the characters once I’d finished reading.

Overall, I really enjoy The Flatshare. It’s a well-written page-turner with a heart-warming story.


The Lesser Bohemians by Eimear McBride


The Lesser Bohemians by Eimear McBride, Faber & Faber, 2016

I read Eimear McBride’s A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing when it was published a couple of years ago. It was a book I struggled with throughout reading, but found it a rewarding experience by the end, becoming affected by McBride’s stream of consciousness prose that pulls and sucks you into the mind of the novel’s protagonist. I was curious to read her new book, mainly because I wondered what form it would take: would it be written in a similar style to Girl? If so, would it be different enough? Or, would the novel take a completely different experimental form altogether? Continue reading

Death and the Seaside by Alison Moore

Death and the Seaside Alison Moore

Death and the Seaside by Alison Moore, Salt, 2016

I’ve been a fan of Alison Moore’s work since I first read The Lighthouse back in 2012, admiring her sparse, taut prose that’s atmospheric and powerful. When I found out that Moore’s new book Death and the Seaside had been published, I ordered it immediately, eager to read more of her work. Continue reading

The Tidal Zone by Sarah Moss

The Tidal Zone Sarah Moss

The Tidal Zone by Sarah Moss, Granta, 2016

There is so much that can be said about The Tidal Zone but I’ve been struggling to convey my experience of reading it and how to articulate just how much I love this book. What I can say is that it’s definitely one of my favourite books I’ve read this year and I’d urge you all to read it. Not only is it an absorbing novel, it’s one that truly captures and explores human fears in a powerful way. It’s an important book. Continue reading

The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry

The Essex Serpent Sarah Perry

The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry, Serpent’s Tail, 2016

Cora Seaborne begins her new life as a widow in the Essex town of Colchester where she hears rumours of the Essex Serpent claiming lives in the parish of Aldwinter. A keen naturalist, Cora is convinced that this mythical being is simply an undiscovered creature, and she moves her, her son, Francis, and her companion, Martha, to set out on its trail. Here, she’s introduced to Aldwinter’s vicar, William Ransome, and his family. An intense friendship follows and, while they agree on nothing, they find themselves drawn together. This is a rich novel full of interesting characters, an intriguing mystery, and a compelling storyline. Continue reading

Northern Lights by Philip Pullman

Northern Lights Philip Pullman

Northern Lights by Philip Pullman
Scholastic UK, 2011

Despite having come out of the other side of a pretty hefty reading slump, when I picked up Northern Lights I was still suffering with what I’m going to call a reading slump hangover – being inspired by reading again, but still left slightly dissatisfied with reading and not finding a book I love or have been bowled over by. I was thinking that perhaps I needed to recapture my love for reading by picking up something I would have read as a child. Continue reading

The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer

The Art of Asking Amanda Palmer

The Art of Asking – Amanda Palmer
Little, Brown, 2014

This post is less of a review, more a personal reaction to this book, a journal entry on how it has affected me and made me look at my life. The Art of Asking had been sitting on my to-read list for a while, and I only wished I had read it sooner. But in some ways, reading it when I did felt like one of those moments when you read the right book at completely the right time. Continue reading