Review: Manipulated Lives by H.A. Leuschel (2016) #ManipulatedLives @HALeuschel @damppebbles #damppebblesblogtours

Manipulated Lives by H.A. Leuschel


Five compelling true-to-life stories each highlighting a narcissist’s manipulative mind games

Narcissists are everywhere.

They can be witty, charming and highly charismatic.

Anyone can be their target.

At first their devious, calculating mind games can be hard to spot because they are masters of disguise, 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.

All stories highlight to what extent narcissistic abuse can distort lives and threaten our self-worth yet ultimately, also send a positive message that once the narcissist is unmasked, the victims can at last break free.


Firstly, huge thanks to the author and to Emma at Damp Pebbles for my spot on the blog tour, and for sending me a digital copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. I love a good short story collection, and I was very intrigued by the premise of five stories each dealing with the same theme.

From a psychological perspective, this book is very illuminating. I didn’t know a lot about narcissistic personality disorder before I started reading, and I felt like the five ‘cases’ in this book gave me a greater insight into how manipulators work. The book also covers different stages of life in order to show how many people can be affected by the behaviour of narcissists. In ‘Tess and Tattoos’, we meet an older woman in a residential home; ‘The Runaway Girl’ presents a teenager faced with a manipulator, and the final story, ‘The Perfect Child’ takes us back to childhood to examine the early signs of this disorder.

The stand-out story for me was ‘The Spell’ – the narrator meets a young boy and his father and becomes a part of their lives. I really liked the way in which the story twists and turns, so that I wasn’t sure who was the manipulator until quite near the end. It is almost novella-length, allowing the story to stretch out and breathe, and I think this was the most engrossing tale for me. The Narcissist presented some nice variation of form, switching between points of view and allowing for a more medically-based explanation of narcissism, which was useful at that point.

It is an interesting concept to take a particular type of person and explore different manifestations of the effects they can have on others, and I think it works well. There is a lot of psychological insight behind these stories, and they feel, appropriately, like case studies. I would recommend this collection to anyone with an interest in psychology, or in understanding more about how manipulators operate.

About the Author

Helene Andrea Leuschel gained a Master in Journalism & Communication, which led to a career in radio and television in Brussels, London and Edinburgh. She later acquired a Master in Philosophy, specializing in the study of the mind. Helene has a particular interest in emotional, psychological and social well-being and this led her to write her first novel, Manipulated Lives, a fictional collection of five novellas, each highlighting the dangers of interacting with narcissists. She lives with her husband and two children in Portugal.

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Purchase Links

Amazon UK:

Amazon US:

Manipulated Lives by H.A. Leuschel was first published in paperback and digital formats on 28th June 2016


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