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The Flatshare – Beth O’Leary

Blurb

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..

My thoughts

I’ve just placed my Kindle down after finishing this amazing book and my first thought is jealousy. I’m not jealous of the writer, well,  I am a bit. What writer doesn’t regret not dreaming up iconic books like this! No. I’m jealous of you, the reader. The reader who’s yet to read this delight. I do re-read books again on occasion but it won’t be the same as the first-time round. 

In the blurb this has been stylised as a Richard Curtis rom-com, a director I admire hugely (Notting Hill is one of my favourite movies, more later on that below). But, whilst I can see the parallels I think The Flatshare roots stretch much further back to the halcyon days of cinematography and Billy Wilder. Who can forget those classics like Some Like It Hot and The Seven-Year Itch and, of course not forgetting  The Apartment: all comedies but ones that deal with particularly challenging issues just as The Flatshare does. So, dear reader don’t expect pink fluffy bunnies when you read the blurb. This isn’t a light read although the idea of two people sharing a flat and never communicating or even meeting, except through the medium of Post-It notes is quite frankly ridiculous. It’s the stuff of dreams although, I believe, inspired by a true situation that the author experienced. 

Tiffy, God, I loved Tiffy. She’s kooky (think of, the greatly missed,  Emma Chambers portrayal of Honey in Notting Hill but red-haired and taller and you’ll be able to conjure her up). Like Honey she’s unlucky in love and has made some bad choices in the past, choices that find her pretty much homeless and unable to afford anywhere to live in London except sharing a flat with, palliative-care night-nurse, Leon. Leon has his own financial worries, all his money going on lawyers fees in order to secure the release of his wrongly imprisoned brother. 

The scene is set. The characters are strong, the writing stronger and the plot….well, I’m not giving away any spoilers but, if this little slice of literary delight doesn’t pretty much clean up the 2019 rom-com/up-lift market I’m in the wrong job! 

A million yellow, shiny, pointy thingamajigs. 

Thank you to Beth O’Leary for putting a good word in with Hannah Robinson for the ARC. 

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A Summer to Remember, Sue Moorcroft.

 
Blurb

WANTED! A caretaker for Roundhouse Row holiday cottages.

WHERE? Nelson’s Bar is the perfect little village. Nestled away on the Norfolk coast we can offer you no signal, no Wi-Fi and – most importantly – no problems!
WHO? The ideal candidate will be looking for an escape from their cheating scumbag ex-fiancé, a diversion from their entitled cousin, and a break from their traitorous friends.
WHAT YOU’LL GET! Accommodation in a chocolate-box cottage, plus a summer filled with blue skies and beachside walks. Oh, and a reunion with the man of your dreams.

PLEASE NOTE: We take no responsibility for any of the above scumbags, passengers and/or traitors walking back into your life…

GET IN TOUCH NOW TO MAKE THIS A SUMMER TO REMEMBER!

Available to pre-order here

My review

OMG, where to start.

Life is never quite the same when cousin, Alice does the dirty on groom, Lee on the day of their wedding. But, as so often happens, history repeats itself when Clancy’s fiancé is caught with his trousers around his ankles. The only place she can go to lick her wounds is back to Nelson’s Bar and the holiday cottages half-owned by her cousin.

If you’re expecting a gentle romance that wanders along to the inevitable HEA or HFN then think again. This book is a rollercoaster that takes the reader through more emotional loops than Blackpool Towers. I just loved the character of Clancy who roared off the page and wasn’t prepared to sit back and take the poo that everyone seemed to be flinging in her direction. Nelson, the adorable dog, needs a special mention as does Daisy. However what struck me most was the clever way the writer addressed the plot issues of what is a very complex read. Here the good guys come out on top, the bad guys lose and the in-between ones, you know the sort – the ones that unwittingly harmed the mc through no fault of their own. Well, wait and see. This is up there with my best reads of 2019 and I predict will be in my top ten. 

Ten gold ones 

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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One Summer in Paris – Sarah Morgan


Book blurb

One charming Left Bank bookshop, two unlikely friends, and a summer in Paris that will change their lives forever…

Grace can’t believe it when her husband of twenty-five years announces he doesn’t want to join her on their anniversary trip to Paris – instead, he wants a divorce. Reeling from the shock, Grace makes the bold decision to go on this holiday of a lifetime alone.
Audrey leaves behind heartache of her own when she arrives in Paris. A job in a bookshop is her ticket to freedom, but with no money, and no knowledge of the French language, her summer adventure seems doomed to fail. Until she meets Grace, and everything changes…
Living in neighbouring apartments above the bookshop, Grace and Audrey form an unlikely friendship. They came to Paris to find themselves, but finding each other might be the best thing that’s ever happened to them. 


My thoughts

There are so many things I could say about this book. The superb opening that had me glued to the page from the very start. The amazing Paris location. The main characters of Grace and Audrey, one young and strong, the other middle-aged and damaged – both fighting a darkness… But the only thing you really need to know is that this is Morgan’s best novel to date.

Morgan is in my top 5 of romantic writers. There’s just something about her books that strikes a cord, maybe because we’re both nurses, I don’t know but I’ve read pretty much everything she’s written. But recently there’s been a shift in her writing since How to Keep a Secret. it’s different, stronger, more traumatic. Yes, there’s the guaranteed HEA but the route to that end has so many twists and loops to give any Satnav a power surge. 

One Summer in Paris follows the intricate and complex lives of two strangers, destined to meet on a Parisian boulevard. Two strangers who, in the normal way wouldn’t give the other a look. But something binds them together, a past history that weaves in and out of the storyline. Morgan plays on Grace and Audrey’s differences (age, looks, social circumstances) and yet manages to untangle  the thread that makes them almost mother and daughter. All this set in one of my favourite places in the world and with the backdrop of a dusty treasure-trove of a bookstore. 

Now all I need to do is add A Wedding in December (her Christmas, 2019 offering) to my TBR pile – I have a funny feeling it’s going to be amazing…

10 stars 

Available to pre-order here