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

With skillful prose, Leuschel has written a novella that makes the reader both hate, and… feel a bit sorry for her protagonist.

“Behind the façade we were all human, fragile, and sensitive to judgement”.

Alexa is an attractive woman working in a ruthless corporate world –  an account manager in the exciting city of Paris.  Impeccably groomed and dressed, she is highly practiced at making a good first impression, and manipulating events so that she will be seen in the best possible light. She feels highly pressured to succeed. So much so that she is currently on ‘stress’ leave for a week.  Poor woman…. right???  Maybe not.  She has chosen to have her week off in the sunny Southern town of Bairritz, France.

beach at Biarritz, France

When she joined the firm, just a few short months ago, she befriended two of her co-workers in particular. Rosie (her sweet friend) and Jack (her latest lover).  Before Alexa joined the firm Jack was quite interested in Rosie.

Rosie truly IS a sweet friend.  Floundering financially, she pays exorbitant fees to keep her beloved mother in a nursing home. Yet she glows under Alexa’s attention and cherishes her friendship – to the point where she covers mistakes for her at work. The two women socialize after work hours. Alexa lends Rosie money… working upon Rosie’s gullible nature. Alexa calls Rosie ‘a little grey mouse’ – not meaning it in a good way.

“people are not always what they seem from the outside”

Alexa laments that her friendship with Rosie has recently seemed to have cooled off…  She truly doesn’t seem to be able to comprehend that she is the cause of the rift. Is Alexa a pathological liar who has told so many untruths that she doesn’t seem to believe even herself?

Is Alexa just a misunderstood friend, or a vile, manipulative schemer?  You be the judge…

A short novel about how we are influenced by people’s outward appearance, and how easy it can be to be manipulated by others. The author’s empathy and knowledge of the workings of the human mind are obvious. I can’t help but wonder if she has been the recipient of manipulative behavior as she writes about it with such clarity and understanding. Anyone who has ever been curious about toxic relationships will agree that “My sweet friend” is a compelling read. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!  I would call it literary fiction that reads like a psychological thriller. Wow!

Helene Leuschel grew up in Belgium where she gained a Licentiate in Journalism & Communication, which led to a career in radio and television in Brussels, London and Edinburgh.
She now lives with her husband and two children in Portugal and recently acquired a Master of Philosophy with the OU, deepening her passion for the study of the mind. When she is not writing, Helene works as a freelance journalist and teaches Yoga.

About Fictionophile

Fiction reviewer ; Goodreads librarian. Retired library cataloger - more time to read! Loves books, gardening, and red wine. I have been a reviewer member of NetGalley since October 2013. I review titles offered by Edelweiss, and participate in blog tours with TLC Book Tours.
This entry was posted in Book Reviews, Literary fiction, Novellas, Psychological thrillers and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to “My Sweet Friend” by H.A. Leuschel – Book Review

  1. Pingback: “The Memories We Bury” by H.A. Leuschel – Book Review #TheMemoriesWeBury @HALeuschel @damppebbles #damppebblesblogtours | Fictionophile

  2. suckerforcoffe says:

    A wonderful review! Very curious about the book now. 🙂


  3. Fantastic review of a wonderful read! I love her writing!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. So glad you loved this! It’s on my tbr! Great review 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Awesome review Lynne! I loved this one!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. skyecaitlin says:

    Sounds really good!

    Liked by 1 person

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