Manipulated Lives is a collection of five short stories, although each longer than I had anticipated. Each story is unique and I found myself immersed in five very different stories about five very different people, living very different lives. However, they do all have something in common. They have all fallen victim to a manipulator or they are the manipulator.
I won’t say too much about the stories themselves as I don’t want to give anything away, but I have to say that I think the last story, where we meet Lisa, will definitely stay with me. As a parent I can totally understand her desire to make her child happy. However, keeping children happy isn’t the same thing as letting them have their own way all of the time. This teaches them nothing and Lisa learns this the hard way. I really did feel for her.
These stories highlight just how easy it can be to be manipulated by another human being and how it might be obvious to others looking in from the outside, but the victim can be totally oblivious. Also, some people thrive on manipulating others, but these people aren’t necessarily easy to spot. Any one of us could fall for their charms and I’m sure most of us have, to some degree, at one time or another.
A thought provoking collection.
Many thanks to the author for my review copy of Manipulated Lives.
Five stories – Five Lives
Have you ever felt confused or at a loss for words in front of a spouse, colleague or parent, to the extent that you have felt inadequate or, worse, a failure? Do you ever wonder why someone close to you seems to endure humiliation without resistance? Manipulators are everywhere. At first these devious and calculating people can be hard to spot, because that is their way. They are often masters of disguise: witty, disarming, even charming in public – tricks to snare their prey – but then they revert to their true self of being controlling and angry in private. Their main aim: to dominate and use others to satisfy their needs, with a complete lack of compassion and empathy for their victim. In this collection of short novellas, you meet people like you and me, intent on living happy lives, yet each of them, in one way or another, is caught up and damaged by a manipulative individual. First you meet Tess, whose past is haunted by a wrong decision, then young, successful and well balanced Sophie, who is drawn into the life of a little boy and his troubled father. Next, there is teenage Holly, who is intent on making a better life for herself, followed by a manipulator himself, trying to make sense of his irreversible incarceration. Lastly, there is Lisa, who has to face a parent’s biggest regret. All stories highlight to what extent abusive manipulation can distort lives and threaten our very feeling of self-worth.
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Author Bio –
Helene Andrea Leuschel 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.
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