Disclaimer: All opinions are solely those of the author and do not reflect those of the other reviewers from A New Look On Books.


“When you rehearsed something long enough, you became an expert at it, whether it was practicing the violin or, for that matter, practicing pretence and deception.”
“As long as between the lashes there is the odd pat on the back, you keep hoping that around the bend you’ll find that it was worth it.”

Tess and Tattoos
By: H. A. Leuschel

Guest Review written by: Marianne

Sometime Two individuals from completely different places in life unite to help each other grow and think in ways which they would have never anticipated. They may become guides, and even friends. This is exemplified in this thought-provoking novel, allowing for an unexpected friendship to flourish and buried memories to heal. Sandra, a nurse, is in search of stability and guidance as she rears forward in her new life, raising her children as a widow. Through her new job she befriends her client Tess, an elderly woman in a nursing home in search of self-forgiveness and a way to make up for mistakes of a younger era. Through their interactions, the reader can not only see the personal growth between each woman, but can view how the presence of love motivates people to function differently and to push through life’s challenges at any age.
For Tess, her personal choices led her to feel shame and she became convinced that picking up and moving forward to new experiences would be better for her. Sacrificing her family, friends, and stability, she shows her regrets and feels it is too late to undo what has been done. Sandra helps to lighten the emotional remnants of these scenarios through being willing to listen and as the caretaker, going beyond her job of nursing and becoming a personal friend. She too is yearning to fill a personal void as she lives as the sole head of household with a new set of rules and extra responsibilities new to her plate.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this work as it showed how people can have their own personal intimacy while being willing to let others in, if even for a small moment. For Tess and Sandra, this brief but special friendship would create a new perspective for Sandra to be a survivor, through helping her own client emotionally survive and thrive despite the personal demons plaguing her family history. Healing together through both the symbolism and imagery of shackles of life, they find a mutual trust and Sandra builds up peace of mind for which Tess has deeply yearned for.
Well written, this read was indeed enjoyed and I must admit one of the only issues I found was I only wish it had continued further since I liked it so much!  If I had to offer any takeaway for this work, it would be that it is alright to let others in when there are hard times, even if years later you need a sense of inner peace for something prior in one’s life. I highly suggest reading “Tess and Tattoos” and encourage readers to see how crosswalks of life can bring peace to the sorrowful and joy to the lonely. Leuschel’s work succeeds highly in showing that nobody is truly alone if they open their heart to those around them, even if this takes time and comfort to build up. Additionally, it is important to learn from this text that self-forgiveness can sometimes be just as important as having the forgiveness of others at times.
What others are saying:

“”Tess and Tattoos” is one of the five superb stories featured in H.A. Leuschel’s “Manipulated Lives” book. Each story depicting manipulators and the manipulated, highlighting to what extent abusive manipulation can distort and threaten lives.
“Tess and Tattoos” was actually my favourite of the five stories and I’m so pleased to see it published on its own.” –Miriam Smith, Goodreads
“Tess and Tattoos, was brilliant story, full of deep quotes that I highlighted in my tab while reading this story. This story created a suspense in the book, I was curious to know what happened to Tess and why she is alone, what was it she couldn’t tell her son. The revelation at the end of the story was totally unexpected. I didn’t see it coming.” -Yesha, Goodreads
“Tess and Tattoos is a sweet short story about an elderly woman and the nurse who finds herself drawn to the mystery of Tess.I really liked this story, and it went in a direction I definitely wasn’t expecting. It came as a bit of a surprise, but that’s a good thing. Trust me.” –Jasmine B., Amazon

Links to author’s page:

My Rating: 4.5 / 5