Women the world over are brought up to hope, even expect, to find the man of their dreams, marry and live happily ever after. When Stephanie Woods meets a sweet, sophisticated man who owns land and businesses, she embarks on an exhilarating romance with him. He seems compassionate, truthful and loving. He talks about the future with her. She falls in love. She also becomes increasingly beset by anxiety at the lavish three-act plays he offers her in the form of excuses for frequent cancellations and no-shows. She begins to wonder, who is this man?
When she ends the relationship Stephanie switches back on her journalistic nous and uncovers a story of mind-boggling duplicity and manipulation. She also finds she is not alone; that the world is full of smart, sassy women who have suffered the attentions of liars, cheats, narcissists, fantasists and phonies, men with dangerously adept abilities to deceive.
In this brilliantly acute and broad-ranging book, Wood, an award-winning writer and journalist, has written a riveting, important account of contemporary love, and the resilience of those who have witnessed its darkest sides.
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Wood paints a picture of love in the time of technological terror and how that intersects with society’s weighty, and undeniably gendered, romantic expectations... Wood’s prose is languid yet vivid and she establishes trust with the reader as she divulges her own moments of vulnerability and shame.
'Wood reveals herself as a gifted writer and someone from whom there is plenty to learn about self-acceptance and resilience.What sets apart her sad and thoroughly infuriating story from just another cautionary tale is its lack of self-pity, assured self-awareness and perhaps most of all the inclusion of a series of solid interviews with experts in disordered personalities, who discuss their research and explain not only how these kinds of con men operateand how easy it is to be convinced. The dignity of anyone who has been through
this is restored.'