My rating: 5 of 5 stars
5 Stories 5 Stars
This is the first collection of novellas that I’ve read in all my years of book-worming. I’ve always preferred to read one longer story, to acclimatise myself to the writing style and characters. Taking the time to find that pull you get when immersed into an authors world. The connection, that moment when you know that you’re hooked. It’s something that can’t be rushed, I love the savouring feeling of meeting a new set of characters, and being a fly on the wall, whatever the scene or situation. This is my reasoning for always choosing one book, one story. It’s why I have never opted for a collection of short stories, I felt that their length wouldn’t give me the time I need to get settled in.
Manipulated Lives by H A Leuschel has completely overhauled that thought process! I think I may have been missing out all this time because I never gave novella compilations a chance. This collection is outstanding, it is going to be a very hard act to follow indeed.
The five stories are very different. But they all have one common denominator, a manipulator. These characters are cleverly calculated, likeable and hateable in equal measures, and yet, fascinatingly brilliant. You’ll find yourself relating to them, whether you’ve been on the receiving end of manipulation, or if you are a manipulator yourself.
The author had the ability to grab my attention within a paragraph or two. This goes for every single story. That pull I mentioned above was instant. This collection could be written as five full length books, the characters were absolutely fascinating, I’d like to know more about each and every one of them.
Manipulators come from all walks of life, and without sounding too sinister, Ms Leuschel has manipulated me into changing my opinion on short reads!! Luckily, this kind of bookish manipulation is very welcome, but once you read these stories, I’m sure you’ll agree that being manipulated is extremely distressing. If you even realise that it is happening to you of course.
Tess and Tattoos
Tess, an Octogenarian, who is haunted by her past.
Sophie, a young, successful woman, who gets totally sucked in by the life of a small boy and his father.
Holly, a teenager who falls for the school heart throb.
A manipulators POV, trying to fathom out his life and his current situation.
My Perfect Child
Lisa, and her unconditional love for her son.
With punchy titles, and well written characters this collection was a superb read. There is dark and disturbing undertones of how twisted and truly evil humans can be, making for a fascinating character study that I cannot fault.
After each story when I closed the book, I caught sight of the cover, and it dawned on me just how fitting it was. A simple picture capturing a young woman obscuring her face with the back of her hand. As I went from story to story, it became apparent that this reaction spoke volumes.
This is a collection of stories that will stay with me for quite some time. It was relatable and thought provoking, and I’d like to say a HUGE thank you to the author for sending me a copy to read and review.