Review: Manipulated Lives by H.A. Leuschel

Manipulated Lives book coverFive 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 a manipulator himself, trying to make sense of his irreversible incarceration. Next, there is 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 and finally 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.

I received a review copy of this book courtesy of the author. 

I don’t often read novellas that aren’t tied to a series I’m reading, but Manipulated Lives intrigued me, given the subject matter. The five novellas in this anthology are well written. The abuser is always appropriately subtle in their manipulations—easily spotted by the reader, of course, but never so overt that the abused person in the story is able to see their true colors right away. The confusion and upset the abused character feels as a result is always in perfect balance with the level of the mind game being played at the moment.

Because this is a collection of novellas, I won’t get into any specific details of the plots, as that could easily ruin it for other readers. What I will say is this: Of the five stories, the ones I enjoyed the most were “The Narcissist”, “Runaway Girl”, and “My Perfect Child”. If I had to pick just one, it would be “The Narcissist” because I found that particular story to be the most chilling of all. A close second is “My Perfect Child”. The ending for that one wasn’t what I was expecting, giving it even more impact.

Books that deal with the darker aspects of humanity are meant to make you feel uncomfortable. The villain should bring about a range of emotions, anywhere from mild uneasiness to abject horror (depending on the situation). Their chosen victim should be someone you can root for, someone who is ultimately strong enough to break free of the abuser’s web of deception and control in a way that is believable. Manipulated Lives hits the mark on both counts.

Requested Review📝

Author: H.A. Leuschel

Title:  Manipulated Lives

Genre:  Short Story

Published: June 8th 2016 by Helene Leuschel

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐


5 thoughts on “Review: Manipulated Lives by H.A. Leuschel

  1. Great review! Mine will be published tomorrow. Like you, I really enjoyed the first story, it was all so real and painful at times. I am not a big reader of novellas but book worked for me 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.

Blog at

Up ↑

Bound to Be Me

Mother, Runner & Book Reviewer

The Writer's Notebook

Sue Featherstone

Bits about Books

Book Reviews | Blogging | Blog Tours | Social Media Advice for Authors


Bookstagram & Twitter: @thebooknookae

Alysha Kaye

A writer trying to teach becomes a teacher trying to write


100 Books and Reviews for 2017

Random Things Through My Letterbox

❤ Books. Reviews. Geekery. ❤

Sunkissed Scribbles

Books and Body Slams!

Neha Kundapur

Journey of a creative soul

All About Reviews

My personal thoughts about products I tried.


Book reviews and general nonsense

Stephanie's Novel Fiction

Sharing my life through my love of reading and the joys of books!

The Stacked Shelf

All things to do with books.

Mrs Bloggs' Books

The Average Reader

The Villain Library

Your every day Villain with a passion for books

Linda's Book Obsession:

Book Reviewer and Lover of Books

Katina's Closet

Your One Stop Shopping E-Boutique

Naty's Bookshelf

Why socialize when you can read?

The Paperback Princess

So many books, so little time..a bibliophile's thoughts on all bookish things. Sometimes I even like to talk about food & television.


Reviews Interviews giveaways

The Mystique Reader

Lost in the love of words, books and colors

Jessica loves to read

"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, said Jojen. The man who never reads only lives one." - George R.R. Martin

Over The Rainbow Book Blog

Book reviews and ramblings from a book mad mum of two!


❤ Books. Reviews. Geekery. ❤

Catherine Chicotka

A beauty, fashion, and travel lifestyle blog


An eccentric blogger with a pen and a thousand ideas

FictionFan's Book Reviews

Reviews of books...and occasional other stuff.

Flippin' Pages

Reviews from ladies who love to read

black books blog

Welcome to black books blog

Send us your trip's photos

Books n All


The Pioneer Girl Project

Laura Ingalls Wilder's Pioneer Girl

Renée Précis

"It is not about how many words you can read per minute but rather how many new ideas you are left with after you have finished reading." -Katy Huller

Hobby Reads

Because everyone's hobby is having fun! Visit us @

This Is My Truth Now

Fiction, Books, TV, Trips & Reviews... and introducing the 365 Daily Challenge!

Bookish Endeavors

Reading and dreaming

LittleMissNoSleep Daydreams of Books

Insomniac Seeks Good Books for Night-time Adventures

Jenny in Neverland

"If you don't imagine, nothing ever happens at all".

%d bloggers like this: