Today’s team review is from Cathy, she blogs here http://betweenthelinesbookblog.wordpress.com/
Cathy has been reading My Sweet Friend by H. A. Leuschel
Following in a similar vein to Manipulated Lives, My Sweet Friend explores how much first impressions and appearances sometimes count in someone’s favour and the devastation that can be caused by deliberate manipulation of other people. Told from the alternating perspectives of Alexa and Rosie, we see how quickly their friendship develops when Alexa joins the PR firm Rosie works for. It’s mostly down to Alexa’s persuasiveness and outgoing nature that they quickly become best friends. Rosie is more reserved. Aways ready to help and easy to get along with, Rosie is quickly swept up by Alexa’s enthusiasm and friendliness.
As the story unfolds it’s obvious something isn’t quite right between Alexa and Rosie. They both have personal problems, a sick mother and a stalking boyfriend, but it’s only when Alexa takes sick leave that things begin to unravel in earnest and the whole truth becomes known.
‘Here, no one knew me. No one would judge me for skipping my usually elaborate make-up routine. No one would notice that I’d chosen unremarkable outfits on purpose to blend into the crowd, and had donned a pair of comfortable sandals instead of the achingly-high heels that complimented my typically carefully selected office clothes. If I’d learned one thing over the years, it was the fact that both immaculate looks and controlled behaviour could go a long way towards influencing people’s impressions of me.’
This quick but thought provoking read packs a lot in, mainly, I think, because it’s driven by the characters, mostly through their dialogue, with little to no telling of events. We learn, little by little, who is doing the manipulating, as it isn’t obvious to begin with, showing a darker side to friendships and how easy it can be for some people to be drawn in without realising what’s actually happening. Manipulators have a wide-reaching effect, encompassing not only the victim but others in their lives.
I enjoyed the more unusual locations of Paris and Biarritz. The characters are well defined and portrayed extremely well, each individual and realistic with flaws and weaknesses. H.A. Leuschel obviously has a very good understanding of the human psyche in all its complexities, and it just goes to show that people aren’t always what they seem. It’s a little scary to think someone might go to those lengths to keep up a deceit, which is starkly apparent between the work and home personas.
A stand-alone novella from the author of Manipulated Lives
A perfect friend … or a perfect impostor?
Alexa is an energetic and charismatic professional and the new member of a Parisian PR company where she quickly befriends her colleagues Rosie and Jack. She brings a much-needed breath of fresh air into the office and ambitiously throws herself into her new job and friendships.
But is Alexa all she claims to be?
As her life intertwines with Rosie and Jack’s, they must all decide what separates truth from fiction. Will the stories that unfold unite or divide them? Can first impressions ever be trusted?
In this original novella, H.A. Leuschel evokes the powerful hold of appearances and what a person is prepared to do to keep up the facade. If you like thought-provoking and compelling reads with intriguing characters, My Sweet Friend is for you.
Helene grew up in Belgium where she gained a Licentiate in Journalism & Communication, which led to a career in radio and television in Brussels, London and Edinburgh.
She now lives with her husband and two children in Portugal and recently acquired a Master of Philosophy with the OU, deepening her passion for the study of the mind. When she is not writing, Helene works as a freelance journalist and teaches Yoga.