My Sweet Friend by H. A. Leuschel

36678713A 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.

Source Format Pages Publisher Genre Publication Date
Author ebook 92 indie Fiction December 6th, 2017

I think it’s safe to safe that among book bloggers who are familiar with Leuschel’s work, the author has established herself with a particular theme. I don’t know about the rest of you, but when I see Leuschel’s new work, I immediately know what I am going to get, I have no hesitation about reading it eagerly, and I like that an author has managed to find a strong footing with me. Makes one happy reader!

My Sweet Friend explores the consequences of manipulative relationship in a working environment, as well as on personal level. Who of us hasn’t judged a newcomer based on appearances? Well dressed, oozing confidence and seemingly 100% organized- does that not scream established and trustworthy professionalism? Likewise, a friendly, quiet colleague may seem like the one who always ends up with the longest to-do list because they’re aiming to please, help and generally say “Yes!”… Appearances are deceiving though! Appearances can lie, and never really convey the full truth about a personality.

The novella is short but it fits a lot on its pages. Every chapter reveals a bit more about the story and the background of our two main characters- Rosie and Alexa. I can’t exactly recall the point in the book it was clear who in this case was the victim and who was the manipulator, but for a while, in the beginning of the story, I was definitely hesitant to take a firm viewpoint. I enjoyed that it wasn’t automatically clear and that Leuschel muddied the waters a bit.

And then, a third character got involved in the complicated web in between Alexa and Rosie. A man! It definitely added that extra layer of intrigue and opportunity to beef out the story.

It’s important to note here that I found the characters well fleshed out. They fit their roles without leaving any shadow of a doubt about who they were as ‘people’. Not to mention the fact, that the whole plot, the whole scenario, was delivered wholly through actions and dialogue. A whole lot of show, very little tell. Nicely done, indeed!

And yet, there was one instance of dialogue that felt forced, or a bit textbook, if I may say so. The dialogue took place in between Rosie and Jack towards the end of the novella. It felt just a little bit forced. But to counteract my very own point here, which you may wish to keep in mind as you might read this story yourself, is that awkwardness at this point is more than well-founded and perhaps this kind of dialogue is exactly what the situation would call for in reality.

As a bystander, reading how all of the events unfolded, it often made me feel on edge. You know that feeling when you wish you could warn one of the characters? To watch out and beware! This feeling made me want to read faster and faster. To see the outcome of this well-crafted scenario. Funnily enough, some of the work-related scenes I could relate to so much, it scared me a bit. I also believed that since I was finding it quite relatable, I was sucked into the story even more.

If you have an hour or so to spare and are looking for a quick, intriguing read, I can easily recommend you try My Sweet Friend. I really enjoyed my evening spent with this novella and I look forward to reading future works by Leuschel.

My Sweet Friend on Goodreads ¦ Amazon UK ¦ USA

33 comments

    • Many thanks! 🙂 and I do hope you enjoy the read if you do decide to go for it… with these kinds of stories (theme of manipulation) it always leaves a mind full of those nitty gritty details after reading to mull over… 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  1. I don’t really like short stories but I think I could relate very much with the quiet colleague with the long to do list.. It happened only yesterday that they asked me to do something, then it turned out it wasn’t really my job to do it but my colleague’s and she said I’ll see when and if I can do it.. and the person who asked simply did it herself in the end. That’s the way to do it apparently. I’ve been a sucker for all these years, always doing stuff right away and being helpful. I know already who I’d be rooting for in the novel :-). I like how a man can mix everything up and change a balance so that does sound intriguing! Great review girl!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Believe it or not, but the quiet colleague is me, also… In a working environment, it’s one of my pet peeves of getting a task shoved on my desk that the ‘shover’ can do themselves and actually save time… all this talking about ‘will you do this and this is how I want you to do it’ becomes redundant and unnecessary when in busy environment, especially, the delegating wastes more time.
      My friends and mother always told me I needed a backbone and I thought I had grown myself one because I never say no when asked something to do… and often, at work, the more piles up, I have found myself in situations where I am nearing a panic attack because it all just makes my head explode sometimes 😀 so- I totally get it!

      Thank you so much, Inge! 🙂 We’re both rooting for the kindred spirit!

      Liked by 2 people

      • I believe you, although it’s weird thinking of you as the quiet one.. when I read your reviews you don’t beat around the bush. But it’s something entirely different of course, you can’t say or do anything you want at work and sometimes you’re pushed into a position and it becomes routine. It’s not because I figured something out in Word that I’m now the Word expert and every times there’s a problem you have to summon me right. They are masters here in doing exactly that, leaving the ones who complain the loudest well alone. That’s why I love books, the ugly duckling is a swan, the underdog is the victor, the quiet one acts out of character and it pays off xxx

        Liked by 2 people

  2. It’s awesome when an author is able to keep you guessing, especially when it comes to who is “the bad guy” and who is “the victim”. If it goes on until the very end, then it’s even more praise-worthy!
    I have to say I’d never heard of Leuschel but it’s nice that she’s super consistent with her writing, unless of course that becomes too predictable and doesn’t allow you to enjoy it anymore. Which I don’t think is the case.
    I can’t stand the “tell rather than show” approach some authors take, so it’s lovely to know Leuschel is the complete opposite!
    I will definitely give this book a go! Maybe not this year (would you say it’s Christmasy? I don’t think so hahaha) but very soon. I love this type of story and being so short is a plus when I have so little time to spare already.
    Wonderful review, Liz! ❤

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I get what you mean about an author finding a strong footing and I agree 😀 I really enjoyed her first book and am looking forward to this one now! I think it’s so interesting that this explores the question of appearances vs reality. Such a great review!! 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  4. A novella!! Gosh, reviews like these make me miss those shorter stories, especially when you’ve got your head buried in fat…faaaaat books! 😛 Really intriguing premise though, manipulation and lies sure do make for a great story under the right author’s hands! Glad you enjoyed this though. Sweeeet review as always, Liz. 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    • hahahaha, there you are reading behemoths and here I am, slipping through the shorts! 😀 I do love a good, puncy, to the point and wholesome novella… they’re a freaking treat! 🙂
      Thank you, Lashaan! Appreciated.. as always 😉 ❤

      Liked by 2 people

  5. This is so spot on Liis! I love that she is able to accomplish so much within such a limited time span. I also found myself hesitant to point that accusing finger for the first half of the book. She is brilliant with exploring human behavior. Wonderful review!

    Liked by 3 people

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