The Fraud

The Fraud Image

The New York Times bestseller • One of the New York Times 10 Best Books of the Year • One of NPR's Best Books of the Year Named a Best Book of the Year by Publishers Weekly

“[A] brilliant new entry in Smith’s catalog . . . The Fraud is not a change for Smith, but a demonstration of how expansive her talents are.” —Los Angeles Times

From acclaimed and bestselling novelist Zadie Smith, a kaleidoscopic work of historical fiction set against the legal trial that divided Victorian England, about who gets to tell their story—and who gets to be believed


It is 1873. Mrs. Eliza Touchet is the Scottish housekeeper—and cousin by marriage—of a once-famous novelist, now in decline, William Ainsworth, with whom she has lived for thirty years.

Mrs. Touchet is a woman of many interests: literature, justice, abolitionism, class, her cousin, his wives, this life and the next. But she is also sceptical. She suspects her cousin of having no talent; his successful friend, Mr. Charles Dickens, of being a bully and a moralist; and England of being a land of facades, in which nothing is quite what it seems.

Andrew Bogle, meanwhile, grew up enslaved on the Hope Plantation, Jamaica. He knows every lump of sugar comes at a human cost. That the rich deceive the poor. And that people are more easily manipulated than they realize. When Bogle finds himself in London, star witness in a celebrated case of imposture, he knows his future depends on telling the right story.

The “Tichborne Trial”—wherein a lower-class butcher from Australia claimed he was in fact the rightful heir of a sizable estate and titlecaptivates Mrs. Touchet and all of England. Is Sir Roger Tichborne really who he says he is? Or is he a fraud? Mrs. Touchet is a woman of the world. Mr. Bogle is no fool. But in a world of hypocrisy and self-deception, deciding what is real proves a complicated task. . . .

Based on real historical events, The Fraud is a dazzling novel about truth and fiction, Jamaica and Britain, fraudulence and authenticity and the mystery of “other people.”

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🗸 Title: The Fraud
🗸 Rating : 3.5 from 5 stars (126 reviews)
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Readers' opinions about The Fraud by Zadie Smith

I loved the powerful messages hidden within the story. The book tackled important social issues and made me ponder the world we live in. It's a must-read for everyone.

I loved the powerful messages hidden within the story. The book tackled important social issues and made me ponder the world we live in. It's a must-read for everyone.

The themes of resilience and hope resonated deeply with me. This book taught me valuable life lessons that I'll carry with me for years to come.

More by Zadie Smith

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