Five 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. 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.
This collection of short novellas gives a fascinating insight into the world of manipulators. Anyone can be manipulated, ordinary people like you and me. Sadly, I have one or two running around in my extended family. Fortunately, I’m aware of that. But others around me aren’t and it’s quite hard to make them see.
I won’t give anything away about the plot of each story. However, my favourite was “Tess and Tattoos”. There was just something about Tess that I really liked and my heart broke for her.
Each story paints a vivid picture of how, for some people, manipulation is a part of daily life. Some of the characters are victims, others are the manipulators. What’s striking is that there’s no specific gender, or age group, or characteristics that sets these victims apart. It could happen to anyone.
The author has done well in her portrayal of the various characters. There was a depth to them that sometimes doesn’t even occur in a full-length book, never mind a novella. Each story is a gripping read.
This was my first experience with novellas. I’m still somewhat undecided if it’s my thing but I do appreciate this opportunity of having read five short stories centered around the same theme as it offered the chance of seeing things from a different point of view.
With thanks to H.A. Leuschel for my copy, which I chose to review.
Manipulated Lives is available now.