I've read plenty of memoirs and life stories before but this one is unique. "Fact is stranger than fiction" may be a hackneyed cliche but it sums up this book precisely. Had it been a novel I have little doubt that some would question its plausibility but I'm equally sure that it would fly to the top of the fiction charts and stay there for a long time as its harrowing tale of grooming is so relevant in today's climate.
Yet it was well over ten years ago that silver fox and family friend Matthew befriended fifteen year old Natalie at his sixtieth birthday party and started a chain of events that began with the innocent discussion of literature and philosophy but went on to damage the author's teenage years and early adulthood to the extent that it is a miracle that she has been able to confront what happened to her and come through the other side with her sanity intact and the ability to write her compelling story (I started reading and did not put it down until I finished). As a grey haired male who enjoys reading and the odd flutter and is very fast approaching sixty I have a few things in common with Matthew but, whilst the ability to appreciate an attractive female never fades, I hope that people like him who prey on innocent and vulnerable children are always going to be in a very tiny minority and are far from typical of my generation.
I don't want to spoil the book by telling you exactly what happened to Natalie as she tells the story so graphically herself, so all I will say is this is a book that will shock and intrigue you. Were it a novel it would certainly entertain you but the knowledge that you are reading about real events and the beautiful final chapter are more likely to make you cry.