Published by Helene Leuschel on December 6 2017
A stand-alone novella from the author of Manipulated Lives
A perfect friend … or a perfect impostor?
Alexa is an energetic and charismatic professional and the new member of a Parisian PR company where she quickly befriends her colleagues Rosie and Jack. She brings a much-needed breath of fresh air into the office and ambitiously throws herself into her new job and friendships.
But is Alexa all she claims to be?
As her life intertwines with Rosie and Jack’s, they must all decide what separates truth from fiction. Will the stories that unfold unite or divide them? Can first impressions ever be trusted?
In this original novella, H.A. Leuschel evokes the powerful hold of appearances and what a person is prepared to do to keep up the facade. If you like thought-provoking and compelling reads with intriguing characters, My Sweet Friend is for you.
Today I am on the blog tour for My Sweet Friend by H.A Leuschel. Welcome!
This novella is told through the present day of Alexa’s story and through Rose’s recount of the past.
In the opening chapter, it is Alexa’s story, we are in the French seaside town of Biarritz, she is on sick leave for stress, hiding away. With the constant interruptions from Rose and Jack, you feel sympathetic for Alexa, who is on the apparent brink of a breakdown. Why do they keep ringing her? Do they not remember she is on sick leave? Can they not find the missing documents by themselves?
Then before we know it, the next chapter goes back to July, 3 months ago, where Rose first meets Alexa. Everyone’s initial impressions, how she captivated everyone’s attention, and the first steps to Alexa’s manipulation over Rose and Jack. Monique sees through this ‘act’ by Alexa and does not trust her at all. Go, Monique!!
Rose and Alexa bump into each other in the bathroom at work and Alexa showers Rose with compliments about how she can wear her hair in any style. Rose asks Monique what she thinks, and she warns Rose to be careful. This scene is brought up later on by Rose and Alexa laughs and says she would never say anything so brass on her first day, making Rose doubt herself. This happens quite a lot and as a reader, you can spot the signs straightway as you are not the one living the scenario.
Following the chapters after, we see how deep this manipulation goes. Alexa showers Rose with gifts, but then tells everyone that Rose is treating herself. She rings Rose in the middle of the night, crying because of an “abusive ex” and hangs up on Rose, Rose panics and tries to get hold of Alexa with no luck and can’t sleep all night. Next morning Alexa is early and sitting at her desk as if nothing is wrong, she then twists it to Jack saying that Rose is needy and won’t leave her alone. You stop feeling sorry for Alexa and wonder what the hell is going on. Why is she behaving like this?
The problem with this story is that this happens in everyday life. There is always that one person we know that twists the truth whether to get what they want or to get out of trouble. It happens. Rose is naive to Alexa and easily sucked in by her compliments and charisma. Reminding me of a popular girl at school suddenly accepting a not so popular girl into the fold (Don’t worry not talking about personal experience). It is that acceptance from someone outside of your social circle, seeing you in a different light and paying attention to you. You ignore the doubts and suspicions even when the lies do not add up which is exactly what happens in this novella.
I don’t normally read novellas, because they are just over too quickly but this one did intrigue me. It is short, but the characters all have been thought out and fleshed out where you actually care what happens. I read this book in a couple of hours and I was disappointed when I got to the end as I wanted to read more. That is what H.A Leuschel does to you, she draws you in hook line and sinker and takes you on an emotional ride, leaving you shouting at the book and wanting to shake Rosie to wake up and smell the roses. I have not read her other book but after reading this I will be checking it.
Thank you so much to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for the tour invite and the author for a copy of this book in return for my honest and unbiased review
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: