Fraud

A Novel

696 pages

English language

Published June 22, 2023 by Diversified Publishing, Random House Large Print.

ISBN:
978-0-593-79264-3
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4 stars (4 reviews)

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 …

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Review of 'Fraud' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

The Fraud by Zadie Smith is a captivating historical fiction novel that transports readers to 19th-century England, delving into the intricacies of a celebrated criminal trial, the Tichborne case. With meticulous attention to detail, Smith weaves a tale that revolves around Eliza Touchet, a Scottish widow who finds herself entangled in the life of William Ainsworth, a popular Victorian novelist.

William Ainsworth, who was Charles Dickens’ friend and a more successful author in their early years, is portrayed as a waning literary figure who is fighting to stay relevant. He serves as a symbol of the challenges faced by writers during Victorian England, as new literary movements and tastes began to emerge.


The big trial and the unfolding social and psychological drama are what drive the plot of the novel. Eliza Touchet's interest is piqued by one of the primary witnesses in the trial, the enigmatic figure of Andrew Bogle, …

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