Published by Self Published on June 8 2016
Also by this author: My Sweet Friend
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.
This book has been on my TBR list for a while and I am glad I finally got to settle down and read it. I would read one story and then read something else, come back and read another story, it is that easy to pick up and put down as none of the stories links. Well ok, there is one link and that is obviously, as the title says manipulation.
The stories all show how easy we can manipulate people and quite frankly be manipulated. Even the more seemingly innocent story of Tess, we are not shown the true story until the end and I have to say this story made me well up. It is so sad and hard to watch someone you know be abused liked this, knowing that there is not much you can do to help them in that situation. Each and every one of these stories reiterate that only you can save yourself, only you can see the truth. However, manipulation, especially in Tess, is not all about abuse or fear, sometimes, a few slight of hands will achieve the friendship that you desire. Yes, it is wrong, but Tess did omit a few details to get some closure, a friendship of sorts. The other thing with all these stories is well, it is not as clear cut as you may think it is. It is not always black and white but shades of grey. It is the subtle little things that can make you doubt your mind, that can affect you mentally and I think they have been portrayed perfectly in these novellas.
Out of all of them, Tess and the Tattoos was my favourite. I felt an overwhelming amount of sadness for Tess with her story, how it had robbed her of so much even until the last page. It was a sad tale, but I cared a lot about Tess and Sandra and what might happen in their lives.
I do enjoy Helene’s writing, it is easy to read and in such short pages she creates characters you warm to, despise and care about. Not such an easy feat but achieved so well here.
Until next time xxx
Thanks to Emma at DampPebbles for the tour invite and the author for a copy of their book in return for my honest and unbiased review
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: