Published: December 6th 2017 by Helene Leuschel
Read Date: January 7th 2018
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.
Who needs enemy when you have manipulating lying friend..!!
Okay in the beginning only I’m warning you this is going to be long because I so damn loved this book. I’m telling you right here that if you haven’t read this book yet go and grab now.
My Sweet Friend was a character driven psychological fiction, a novella set in Paris, that revolved around a Sweet Friend Rosie and Alexa a liar who disgraced the word friendship. It was about a friendship, trust, and pathological liar who expertly manipulates people around them by consistent lying and distorting truth.
Rosie was such a sweet goodhearted gentle and kind character, well organized and caring daughter, who was caught up in the financial issues but she hid it well from people around her. She was very empathetic and moreover she couldn’t see right through people thus made her easy target for Alexa.
Talking about seeing through person, Monique was brilliant in it. She worked in Rosie’s team who never hesitated in telling the truth on face, direct and honest that masked her good nature but kept Alexa miles away who didn’t dare to come under her radar. I liked her without doubt.
Jack was account manager, good friend of Rosie but coquettish who instantly fell in the trap of the gorgeous Alexa.
Alexa, newly employed by her shining CV that spoke experience who speedily became star in the team by her confident, energetic, and well office etiquette. It wouldn’t take long for readers to recognize a manipulator behind that shining facade. My goodness, what a sweet devil she was! She will make you call Cruella less cruel.
First of all, this is my second book by Helene Leuschel. Her first book Manipulated Lives showed her well research on psychology and different kind of manipulators. This one also didn’t fail to show the same. This story was new and different from the previous short story I read in first book, it felt very realistic. Smooth precise writing with steady pace that slowly drawn me into the book with that anxious feeling that characters developed in me.
Author had created mind-blowing plot around mythomania. I haven’t heard this word before (Have you?), not until the end of the story where author mentioned it in acknowledgement. I thought it was another story on manipulator rather than a compulsive liar until it was mentioned and hardly I knew this word has a medical/psychological terminology as well. Book showed a close look at this kind of people, how they behaves, how they manipulates, and how you can also identify them by close observation from those who tell non-harmful white lies.
Book was narrated alternatively by Alexa and Rosie in two different time frame that merged in climax.
Alexa’s narration started after 2 months of her joining Rosie’s team while she was on sick leave but actually using that sick leave for vacation. From very start her character gave bad vibes and at the same time she was so convincing that I thought, I’m too quick in judging her and she actually might have some problem with Rosie and job. But as Rosie’s narration started 2 months before when Alexa joined company, I got a clear picture about Alexa. After few chapters Alexa’s voice that started with sympathetic tone turned to crafty and cunning. It told about all her plans and her real thought towards Rosie and Jack, how easy it was for her to deceive these two.
“Some people have a special antenna for detecting fears and weakness in others. You can learn to manage- so to speak- your empathetic skills more carefully.”
Rosie’s narration was eye opening. It started with Alexa’s recruitment in her team and her first impression on Rosie, how they both became best friends, and how slowly and steadily she got trapped in her lying world. She also narrated her life story, her money problem and concerns for her mother which was touching.
“ ‘My empathy is counter-productive?’
‘Yes, I would say that in this case it may well be misguided. Empathy is not be-all and end-all to work out other people’s intentions, contrary to popular belief.’ ”
It was not hard to be empathetic toward Rosie. She was such a nice person and responsible daughter, she never opened to anyone regarding her trouble except Alexa and that bastardy lying woman taken advantage of that. Even called names behind her back and never ever was she sympathetic for Rosie’s mom or her condition. Chapter by chapter I got know about Alexa’s lies, her tricks and how she made Rosie look like how she actually was behind the lying mask. Author creatively bring out the emotions in book- sympathy toward Rosie, hatred and anger toward Alexa.
My favorite part of the book was Rosie’s counseling, how good it was for her and how she realized that she was being used by Alexa because of her too gentle nature or there was something wrong the way Alexa is. Last but not least the changes she brought in her life then after and realized that whatever she was doing for her mom was worth every struggle. I so loved her at this point.
The climax, the turning point was a good surprise. The way cover over Alexa’s lies was lifted was surprising and smart. I’m happy with the climax and end.
I want to read full novel by this author, I know it’s no reason to cut even a half star but this could be a Novel, not that long but yes could be. There were so many things I wanted to know about Alexa. I had few question like, how she became a compulsive liar, (I mean no one is born liar, are they?) What about her parents, where are they and why she hissed to Rosie when she talked about her mother. It all indicated a strong past and most importantly how she got away from it.
God! After reading this book I really think how many types of manipulators exist in this world and it’s scarring me to even just passing by such people.
Things I’m really grateful after reading this book- I’m like Monique, direct and blunt and won’t think twice before speaking my mind. Second my Monique like nature kept me away from sweet friends like Alexa who are mean and selfish, third I keep my phone silent. 😉 (You’ll get what I’m saying after reading this book.)
Overall, Original plot, unique and creative characters. I strongly recommend this book to all who enjoy reading psychological fiction.
Author: H.A. Leuschel
To know more about Author Click Here.
*** Note: I received review copy of this book from the author, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to author. ***
Here are some different questions-
1.) Have you ever come across a pathological liar or manipulator? 2.) Are you like Rosie- nice and good or like Monique (and me)- direct and straightforward? 3.) If you’re like Rosie, have you have felt people taking advantage of your gentle and empathetic nature or turned out ‘counter-productive’ (Like I quoted from book above)? 4.) What do you think is best way to avoid this kind of manipulator or can we really?
And some usual questions-
What do you think about this book and my review? Have read this book already or any book by this author before? Have you read something similar to this book?
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Happy Reading! 🙂