My Sweet Friend by H.A. Leuschel – Book Review

My Sweet Friend by H.A. Leuschel – Book Review

my sweet friend by h a leuschel

My Sweet Friend

Author – H.A. Leuschel
Pages – 92
Released – 6th December 2017
Format – ebook
Reviewer – Abby
Rating – 5 Stars
I received a free copy of this book

 

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?

Review 2017

After reading H.A. Leuschel’s series of thrilling and thought-provoking short stories, Manipulated Lives, last year, I was eagerly looking forward to reading her latest novella, My Sweet Friend.

My Sweet Friend begins in the French seaside town of Biarritz. It’s Alexa’s story. She’s introduced an exhausted woman, complete with ‘dark shadows’ under her eyes, on the brink of a breakdown. Escaping to a place where no one knows her, I’m immediately feeling sorry for Alexa. Through first-person narration, she’s told us that she’s been working relentlessly to stay at the top of her game – it’s no wonder she needs a break.

She goes on to reveal that she works in sales and marketing, comparing herself to a fly, ‘swatted, and in danger of being crushed whenever I made a mistake’. On a personal side note, I work in sales and marketing too, so I begin to really feel sorry for her!

She also adeptly notes this: ‘If I’d learned one thing over the years, it was the fact that both immaculate looks and controlled behaviour could go a long way towards influencing people’s impressions of me.’

Interesting!

She then gets a call from Rosie, a colleague who is seemingly interrogating her about work. Can’t Rosie see Alexa’s stressed from it all? Leave her alone!

It’s a tense exchange, nonetheless, and Alexa starts to worry that she’s losing control. But control of what?

Chapter 2 and we’re now in Rosie’s head. And it’s three or so months earlier in Paris. Rosie thinks about the first time she and the team at the agency were introduced to immaculate Alexa. So sure of herself, all shiny hair and pretty face. She was captivating, hypnotising. Nearly everyone was impressed with Alexa.

Rosie’s even more taken by her when they have a chat in the bathroom, as Alexa showers Rosie with compliments. Coming from someone so seemingly perfect, it’s no wonder Rosie’s under her spell. They quickly strike up a friendship, helping each other with work and socialising in the evenings and weekends.

But fast-forward to Alexa in Biarritz and the relationship appears strained. Rosie’s frantically searching for an important client document for a pitch and it’s nowhere to be found (we’ve all been there!).

Alternating between Alexa and Rosie’s narration, add a man to the mix – Account Manager, Jack – and a fight for his affections, and you know it’s not going to end well for one of the women… but who?

Having read Manipulated Lives before, I knew to expect mind games and the issue of control to be central to My Sweet Friend. Spoiler: H.A. Leuschel doesn’t disappoint. I read this in one sitting, and found the story to be thrilling and clever, relatable yet extraordinary.

On the surface, Alexa and Rosie are two ‘sweet’ friends, both hardworking, driven and intelligent. Yet, underneath it all, and from both parties, there’s jealousy, manipulation and a whole host of insecurities.

If you love a pacey, thought-provoking read, with women’s friendships at the heart of the story, I thoroughly recommend My Sweet Friend.

Reviewed by Abby


Purchase online from:

Amazon.co.ukAmazon.comiTunes


About the Author

H.A. Leuschel

Helene Andrea Leuschel was born and raised in Belgium to German parents. She gained a Licentiate in Journalism, which led to a career in radio and television in Brussels, London and Edinburgh.

Helene moved to the Algarve in 2009 with her husband and two children, working as a freelance TV producer and teaching yoga. She recently acquired a Master of Philosophy with the OU, deepening her passion for the study of the mind. Manipulated Lives is Helene’s first work of fiction.

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10 Responses

  1. DJ Sakata says:

    this sounds tasty

  2. Nikki says:

    I love when you can plow through a book in one sitting. I feel like one derserves a medal…or ice cream sundae afterwards. 😉

  3. Allie Bock says:

    Excellent Review! You made me want to pick up this book and try it!

  4. Jo Linsdell says:

    Great review. Sounds like an interesting book.

  5. Stormi says:

    This sounds like an interesting read, but I’m not sure it’s for me. Great review!

  6. Too often we focus only on romances. I love that this one is friendship focused!

  7. It’s interesting to follow books with multiple POV and bouncing around in time. Hats off to the writer.

  8. Heidi says:

    Great review! It’s always interesting reading a book from multiple POV.

  9. I have been looking for a few new novellas and this one looks great!

  10. Wynne says:

    This one sounds interesting. Not my usual reads, but I am intrigued and I will check it out for sure