Today I’m pleased to be taking part in the blog tour for Manipulated Lives. My review is written with thanks to Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me on the tour and for my copy of the book.
Five stories – Five Lives.
Five fictional, compelling true-to-life stories about how people can be manipulated by others, yet eventually find the strength to move on.
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 yet ultimately, also send a positive message that once you understand a manipulator’s moves, you can break free from them and let go of the past.
Coercive control and manipulation is a theme that is very relevant in today’s society and I was very interested by the way that Leuschel approached it in this collection of novellas. There are stories written from the perspective of both the manipulated and the manipulator, and this provides a deep insight into how this kind of behaviour works and affects its victims. Leuschel has researched this subject extensively and writes very sensitively in a way that I found very easy to relate to.
Across the five stories in Manipulated Lives, Leuschel shows that manipulation affects everybody by including characters of all ages from toddlers to the elderly. They are all described in great detail and Leuschel effortlessly brings the reader into their situations so that we are lost in the world they inhabit.
I reviewed Tess And Tattoos as a standalone novella here.
Manipulated Lives is available from Amazon.
You can follow the rest of the blog tour here: