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4.7 out of 5 stars60
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 17 July 2014
This important book had me gripped from the start & I read it within 24 hours.
You feel instantly connected to lovely Natacha & from the opening pages you will strongly be willing her & the other children to quickly find a safe & happy ending, far away from this dangerous cult with its outrageous rules. It is well written & whether talking about her childhood, teens, or adulthood, you sense you are reading through Natacha’s eyes at that particular age.
Natacha has bravely told her story of the cruel, perverse, deeply unfair, & hidden world of being part of ‘The Family’ cult. I deeply feel for Natacha for her lost childhood & the consequent after-effects, & for all the other children whose innocence was crushed by cruel &/or ignorant, indoctrinated adults.
Whilst shocking to read, it is an important book that will hopefully raise much awareness & help to stop other children being stripped of their innocence in a similar way, as well as adults gullibly being indoctrinated by this or a similar other dangerous organisation.
I have maximum respect for this very brave & inspirational lady. I wish Natacha & her siblings all the best for a very happy, safe, long, & fun-filled future with lots more sunny days at beaches, endless biscuits, unlimited coca-cola, & everything else they should have enjoyed as children.
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on 4 August 2014
Although I'm not a dedicated reader to novels, this book was recommended and I made a start and found that I could not put the book down. The story gave an insight into a young person's life which was rather disturbing and provided an experience which I have never come across before. Natacha must have been deeply affected by her early years but as I have read through the novel, it has shown that she has overcome her fears and is able to share her story with the outside world. Natacha has now been redeemed and she is now sharing her life with her husband in order to build a new stage in her life from which she can enjoy a brand new start. Throughout the novel, the story was quite intense, not knowing that cults like these exist and what goes on inside the inner circle. Towards the end of the book became a bit of a tear jerker, which filled me with immense emotion and feelings. This novel is highly recommended and should be made into a film!
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on 24 July 2014
As like one of the other reviewers, I wish this story wasn't real. How innocent children can be robbed of their childhood is a travesty. A must read book, I couldn't put it down. Good luck to Natacha and her siblings and I wish them all the luck in the world. Things could have turned out so differently for them. She seems to hold no malice towards her parents after being half starved, beaten and molested, good luck on her, I would not feel this way if it were me.
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on 6 July 2014
It was sunny in Buckinghamshire this weekend, so I sat in my garden and devoured this book within 24 hours. When you read this book you will be witnessing snippets of cult life through the eyes of a young girl. This is an important voice that needs to be heard, as I imagine it echoes the voices of thousands of other 2nd generation cult and ex-cult members. I read this book as part of a reflective journey (I experienced communal living growing up and am interested in hearing about the experiences of others) but I also think it is a good book for people to read who may not have heard about The Family or who may not know very much about cult life in general. 5 stars from me!
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on 27 July 2014
I downloaded this having heard Natacha on Radio 4. I was gripped during the interview at her composure and confidence whilst having had such a harrowing upbringing.
All I can say is it's a 'story' that needs to be told and people need to listen.
My horror though is that having finished this book Karen Zerby hasn't been called to ransom. Shame on the authorities and the "system".
Thank you Natacha for the book and I wish you and your family well.
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on 11 September 2014
This is a shocking story but it is told from a viewpoint of innocence and without recourse to salaciousness. It shows the profound effect these cults can have upon formative minds. Natacha accepts her suffering as the norm and only when she finally escapes the clutches of the cult does she realise how difficult her upbringing was. More disturbing stories lie behind hers, for example that of the girl who was adopted by the cult founder and mistreated into insanity.
Everyone should read this, if only to learn to beware of narcissistic leaders. The parents were so brainwashed by the cult they thought they were doing their best for their children, and the moment they start to realise the cult's cruelty is a chilling one, when they realise they have set their own trap. Natacha must be a very strong person to have redeeme herself. Not all of her siblings were so fortunate.
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on 25 July 2014
What a great book. Straight away after reading the first few pages I knew it was going to be a good read and I wasn't disappointed. Truely inspirational tale of one ladies childhood bought up in a cult and how she overcame this. I would highly recommend this book.
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on 7 November 2014
As I read this book, I became more and more enraged. Natacha Tormey was not a naïve person who joined this pernicious cult, as were her parents. She was born into it. She had no choice in the matter. She relates how the so-called Children of God, nowadays sanitized (following scandal) and renamed The Family International, routinely separated children from their parents, abused them physically, cut them off from the outside world and filled their impressionable heads with dangerous and frightening nonsense. People outside the cult were Antichrists; Armageddon was near; members would be required to fight a tremendous battle in the End Times and would then go to a glorious heaven. Members of the cult were obliged to live in penury and to collect money, nearly all of which went straight to the man at the top, the nebulous Grandpa or King David, while children survived in hunger and poverty and without proper medical care in military-style closed communities. Moreover, the cult practised nothing short of prostitution, so-called “flirty fishing”, whereby women would extract money from unsuspecting men, lure them into the cult and produce still more babies to swell their numbers. We learn how couples engaged in sex in the presence of children and children were sexually abused by adults. Tormey describes the psychological damage that these appalling practices did to her, and also to her siblings. Her extraordinarily irresponsible parents had twelve children (if I have not miscounted), not all of whom survived and not all of whom escaped. And all this was done in God’s name.

Tormey has forgiven her parents. She is a brave woman. What can have possessed them to join such a sect, or, having joined, to remain in it? And how is it that cults like this can grow and take root internationally? The power of brainwashing on lonely, naïve, unthinking individuals searching for a direction in life should never be underestimated, and there will always be cynical “leaders” who will exploit them. But to be born into such circumstances leaves scars for life on those who would never, given the choice, have wished to live in such a hell on earth. It is a relief to learn that Natacha Tormey did finally escape and is living a different life as best she can. But how many others are still physically or mentally imprisoned? Many have already committed suicide.

With the help of Nadene Ghouri, this book has been written in a vivid and lively style that carries the reader forward quickly with growing horror. While it shocked me, it did not come as a complete surprise, as I had done some research into the cult a number of years ago when its members were very active in Paris, presenting themselves to the public as smiling young Christians, brimming with love and sincerity.

It needed to be written. I hope it will have the success that it deserves.
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on 19 September 2015
I had the incredible privilege of meeting Natacha recently and was compelled to read her story. What an amazing tale of survival against the odds, I take my hat off to you Natacha. Beautifully written and compellingly honest, I read this book in a few hours, I couldn't put it down. Natacha carries no self pity, either in her book or in real life, you are a true inspiration and thank you for lifting the lid on cults such as this. May this book be a warning about how sinister and depraved some sects can be and thank you Natacha for sharing your experiences with us all.
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on 11 August 2014
Interesting and quite shocking to learn the power of a person's ability to indoctrinate others. Quite upsetting to read how many children were 'damaged' by the experience. An interesting read, but I didn't think it was worth buying similar books, as, once you have read this one, I would imagine that the others will be similar.
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