I read Tess and Tattoos in H A Leuschel’s compilation Manipulated Lives. It was the first short story out of the five, and although they were all great stories, this was definitely my favourite. I always enjoy reading about older characters. There’s something very heartwarming and poignant about the older generation, they seem to have a way with words, looking at the world through older and wiser eyes.
The author absolutely nailed it with the main protagonist in this story. Tess, an octogenarian is spending her final years living in a care home, the highlight of the day is when her carer, Sandra, does her rounds and the two women bond and form a touching friendship which is the basis of the story.
This novella is divided into short chapters with clear paragraph spacing which is something I always appreciate in a book.
On starting this, I was given very clear visuals of the scene the author created, vividly placing the characters in a setting that was easy to picture in my minds eye. The character personas were portrayed with precision and simplicity, I connected with them instantly, particularly Tess.
This story has mystery, feel good factor, and a touch of sadness. I was pleasantly surprised by the conclusion, I had an inkling as to where it was going, but the writing was stylised in such a way that it kept me hooked, drip feeding little details at perfectly timed moments.
H A Leuschel has a knack, she gently builds insight into the human psyche in story form, adding feeling and creativity which creates powerful stuff. In Manipulated Lives, Tess and Tattoos was the one novella that stood out the most, and it deserves an individual review in its own right. The other four are also exceptional, so I’d go read them all, they won’t disappoint!
A well deserved 5 star rating from me! 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟