‘My Sweet Friend’ is a captivating novella drawing you into the lives of two women, Rosie and Alexa. Each from their perspective, they narrate a story of manipulation and intrigue…
When new girl Alexa comes into the office, Rosie feels inspired by her buoyant behaviour, by her elegant style and the way Alexa presents herself to her new colleagues. What attracts Rosie most, is that underneath that cool and efficient exterior, Alexa shows an insecurity which makes her, in Rosie’s eyes, human and loveable. No wonder Rosie does her best to show Alexa around and help her where she can. So why does the story start with a burned-out Alexa in Biarritz?
In Biarritz, the reader meets Alexa for the first time and it is obvious that all is not well. Why is she hiding out in southern France and why does she feel “swatted, and in danger of being crushed?” She considers her career in the corporate world and, although she knows she should not answer it, she cannot but pick up her phone. Rosie is on the other end and it becomes clear that Rosie has no idea Alexa is in Biarritz but instead thinks she is home on sick leave. Slowly, phone call by phone call, event by event, their backstory is revealed and we learn to know what had been going on – and how manipulative behaviour is at the bottom of this. Lies and deceptions have a negative impact on the friendship between the two women and we can only hope that the ‘sweet friend’ realises what is going on before it is too late! How will this end? Will we, will Rosie and Alexa, find the answers they crave for?
From having read and reviewed the author’s ‘Manipulated Lives,’ I knew this novella would prove as fascinating and as much into the topic of manipulative behaviour as the five stories in her first book – and yes, it totally was. I felt drawn into the lives of the two women around who this story evolves: Rosie and Alexa, from whose alternative perspective we perceive the events. At first, it is hard to discover who is manipulating whom but soon, you know it and want to keep on reading to find out what will happen.
For me, this story could have developed into a whole novel – I feel there is so much more behind the character of the one manipulating and I even felt sorry for her as, in my opinion, it felt as if her behaviour was triggered by an event or events from the past (I will refrain from naming the person in question, as I would like you to read the novella without prejudice and without hindsight). If anything, My Sweet Friend shows us that appearances can be deceptive and that we all find it easier to believe someone else than trust our own judgment.
The author hints at this past but as to a why we are left in the dark and I would have loved to read all about it to understand and to explore more what causes people to become manipulative – or is it a question of nature? That having said, the sentences flow easily and, in spite of this being a novella, there are quite a few characters in it which works surprisingly well. Again, Helene Leuschel has provided us with a well-written and intriguing story that will leave you pondering long after you have read it.
About the Author
Manipulated Lives is Helene Leuschel’s debut novel. She studied Journalism in Belgium and worked for radio and television in Brussels, London and Edinburgh. Now she is living in Portugal and has, next to being a TV producer and yoga teacher, developed a passion for philosophy, hence her Master degree in Philosophy.
|Kindle ed||1017 KB (92 pages)|
|Publisher||Helene Leuschel (6 Dec. 2017)|