At the start of her relationship with the intelligent and worldly John Perry, Barbara Bentley couldn’t believe her luck, so when things didn’t add up, she struggled to ignore her doubts. She kept trying to put the pieces together, unaware that some of them were simply missing.
Even as he drained her credit, dodged her questions, manipulated her and misled her, she stayed with him, suppressing her growing suspicions. Ultimately he would try to kill her, proving himself not a protector and provider, but a predator.
This is Barbara’s courageous, compelling story, in her own words?of the slow, choking darkness that fell after the honeymoon was over, what it took to finally drive her to escape and start her life anew, and her tireless efforts to protect other women and help them learn from her example.
I grew up in a small blue-collar town in the San Francisco Bay Area, where I pedaled my bicycle to the local park to collect discarded soda bottles to pay my way to the Saturday matinee, read Nancy Drew mysteries, met with friends for bowling and roller skating excursions, and buried my nose in my school books. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that I would become an internationally published author who has appeared on national television in the United States and Canada.
I entered the world of writing quite by accident; it was the result of my husband trying to murder me by ether asphyxiation. As I helped the homicide detective prepare my case for trial, I decided to write a book to help others understand the crazymaking world of psychopaths and how their cleverness can trap the most unsuspecting victim who has been raised in an environment of trust. I also made the decision to change an unjust divorce law that had me give my attacker half of my retirement fund and alimony.
Having made the decision to tell my story, it was now time to learn how to write. I read books, joined the International Women’s Writing Guild, and attended the Writers Retreat Workshop. I used passion, planning, patience, and persistence to see Penguin’s Berkley Books publish my book “A Dance with the Devil: A True Story of Marriage to a Psychopath.” Little did I know that when I started the story was not finished; the successful end was that several years later I did change the divorce law of California.
I feel blessed that my story has been featured on Dateline NBC, the Lifetime Television show “Final Justice” hosted by Erin Brockovich and the Canadian network VIVA in their series “The Devil You Know.” In 2009, I won the prestigious Paul H. Chapman award from the Foundation for the Improvement of Justice in Atlanta, Georgia, for my role in changing the divorce law. I believe I am one person who can make a difference and I field numerous emails from victims who thank me for writing my book while they tell me how it has positively affected their lives.
I willingly share my experience whenever the opportunity arises. I am a motivational speaker who has spoken to audiences numbering from ten to five hundred for such diverse organizations as the American Association of University Women, Soroptimists, the International Women’s Writing Guild, St. Mary’s University, Children’s Advocacy Program and Diablo Valley College and was part of an all day seminar titled “Dream It, Do It.”
I’m retired after 39 years in the business world and have found that I enjoy writing. I am now a lifetime member of the California Writers Club and currently serve as secretary for one my local branch. Writing interests include authoring and illustrating a fairy tale trilogy, putting together a book on success based on what I discovered about myself as I wrote my first book, and penning an historical novel about a strong Irish woman.
I live in Northern California with my husband of thirteen years, and our cat Sierra. My husband and I are award-winning home wine and label makers who love to travel extensively around the globe. Please visit my website http://www.adancewiththedevil.com to help others learn about psychopaths, recovery, advocacy, and writing.