Tiffy Moore needs a cheap flat, and fast. Leon Twomey is a doctor who works nights and needs cash. The London property market is a mess. Leon’s bed is unoccupied at night, and Tiffy only needs it at night. So the perfect solution seems to be for them to share the bed, but never at the same time. In fact, they’ve never actually met.

As you can imagine, things in Beth O’Leary’s novel The Flatshare don’t go according to plan. A crazy ex boyfriend, brother in prison, break ups, mad jobs and supportive friends all conspire to bring the two together, and ruin their well thought out plan.

This isn’t a deep and meaningful book, although it does touch on emotional abuse, the judicial system, and chaotic economic situation that brings someone to this situation. It’s fun and easy to whip through in a few hours, and the characters are warm enough for you to want to know more and follow them. The crisp and efficient Gerty, Tiffy’s lawyer friend, is a particular highlight, with a softness under the harsh veneer.

The plot is tight and fast, the prose compelling, and the dialogue believable. The characters are warm and well drawn, and there’s never a page that should have been skimmed. The novel got  Penguin Random House Children’s editor Beth O’Leary a six figure deal from Quercus, and a second book is planned.

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