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.

#ManipulatedLives @HALeuschel @damppebbles #damppebblesblogtours Facebook @damppebblesblogtours 

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.

My Review

Manipulated Lives is a very interesting study of narcissism using five short stories.

The first story is called Tess and Tattoos. Tess is living in a nursing home. Her story is very sad, dominated by a bad decision in her younger years. When one of the carers appears to be a kindred spirit, Tess tell her the story of her life. This was probably my favourite.

Sometimes I was quite confused as to who was the manipulator, particularly in the second story The Spell, about Sophie, as so many characters are involved. Unable to have children herself, she is drawn to a little boy who seems to be on his own all the time. Then she meets his handsome father and the story takes a very dark turn.

In Runaway Girl, 15-year-old Holly is fed up with her life and her alcoholic mother. She is planning to run away until she meets Luke, a handsome, charismatic boy at school. But Luke has a reputation and although Holly’s friends try to warn her, she is drawn in to his manipulating ways.

The story told from the manipulator’s point of view was probably the most interesting. The Narcissist is really shocking, as the main character is able to justify his appalling behaviour. He is by far the worst, yet he sees nothing wrong with himself.

However, I was very conflicted about the final story My Perfect Child as it seems to suggest that it can be all nurture and no nature. I struggled to believe that a loving but over-protective mother can turn her own child into a monster, unless there is something in his makeup that makes him so receptive.

It would also have been interesting to see what made the other characters in the stories become narcissists – I would have liked to see the explanation for their behaviour, not just the victims’ point of view. Can we reverse the behaviour? Or is it too deeply ingrained? I have always been interested in what makes a person into what they become, what causes their personality disorders, phobias, mental illness etc.

Many thanks to @damppebbles for inviting me to be part of #damppebblesblogtours

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.

Social Media:





Purchase Links:

Amazon UK:

Amazon US:

2 Comments on “Manipulated Lives by HA Leuschel

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: