A couple weeks ago, I published a piece drooling over Beth O’Leary’s, The Flat Share, explaining why its the perfect isolation read. In brief, The FlatShare is a wholehearted, unconventional love story, with quirky characters, humour sprinkled throughout, and doesn’t dust over difficult relationship legacies.
In light of this, I thought I’d share some recommendations for those of us who were (and still are) smitten with O’Leary’s Rom-Com novel.
Fangirl, Rainbow Rowell
Fangirl, is a young adult, coming of age novel by critically acclaimed author, Rainbow Rowell. It tells the story of Cath and her identical sister, Wren. The two girls have always been totally inseparable, that’s until its time for them to attend college. Wren decides she wants to let her outgoing and social nature flourish. Cath feels left behind, manifesting her private hopes and desires through fanfiction. Soon, these desires begin to materialise and Cath is pushed to make real-life decisions. She must quickly decide if she’s willing to open her heart and her mind to new people and new experiences.
The Switch, Beth O’Leary
Of course, the biggest and best recommendation for those of us who loved The Flatshare is Beth O’Leary’s newest book, The Switch. Released only three weeks ago, The Switch is O’leary’s second novel and is set to be just as utterly edible as the first.
Leena and Eileen are grandmother and granddaughter. After being ordered to take a 3-month sabbatical from her high-flying London job, Leena heads to her grandmothers for a break. Eileen is eighty and newly single. She’s ready to find love once again. In a freaky-Friday style plan, the two decide to switch lives. Eileen heads to the big city to find love, whilst Leena sets up camp at her grandmothers Yorkshire home. The two soon realise their quickly conducted plan might not be as smooth sailing as they initially anticipated.
Normal People, Sally Rooney
International bestselling Irish author, Sally Rooney, has taken the world by storm with her two award-winning novels. Conversations with Friends, her mega-hit debut was swiftly followed by an even more popular, Normal People. Normal people is a coming of age tale which centres around the relationship of students, Conell and Marianne. Despite being from the same small town in Ireland, their home lives and social lives are as different as can be. As the two are drawn into one and other lives we are taken on a journey from adolescence to adulthood, and witness the multitude of ways their relationship takes shape.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, (although, it does kind of feel like we’re all living under some ominous timeless rock…) you’ll be aware that Rooney’s beloved coming of age story has been adapted into a wildly popular and absolutely incredible BBC television show.
Billy and Me, Giovanna Fletcher
Sophie May is content with her everyday life– living in a small village with her mum and working in the local teashop. One day, famous actor, Billy Buskin, comes to town and the pair soon fall in love. Sophie May finds herself thrust into the strange and unknowing world of show business. Shy and reserved, Sophie May isn’t sure she’d ready to bare all and share the spoltlight that comes with being in love with a man like Billy Buskin.
Fletcher has written two follow-ups to the wildly successful Billy and Me: Always with Love and Christmas With Billy and Me (novella).
Our Stop, Laura Jane Williams
Similar to The Flatshare, Our Stop is a story of unconventional meetings and the power of the written word. Nadia and Daniel get the train at 7:30 every morning. That’s if something else doesn’t get in the way. The two are soon bought together through a post in the daily paper and their story begins. One Stop was one of 2019’s biggest hits, it has sold internationally and is currently being adapted for the screen. It’s a love story of what-ifs, near misses, and random chances.
If I never met you, Mhairi McFarlane
Breakups are tough. They’re even tougher when you’re forced to see your ex every day. After Laurie and her partner end their over a decade long relationship, Laurie’s left lost and confused about what her life now means and where she’s meant to be heading. To make things even worse, the pair work at the same law firm and thus Laurie is forced to bear witness to her ex blissfully moving on without her.
Jamie Carter isn’t the romantic type. But, a steady girlfriend is on his tick-list of respectability. It’s the perfect pairing. The two singletons conduct a ‘fauxmance’, played out on their social media platforms. Their relationship functions to serve them both in creating the image they wish to project to the world. As things intensify and their fauxmance develops, confusion arises between what is performance, and what is genuine feeling.
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