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Confident Women: Swindlers, Grifters, and Shapeshifters of the Feminine Persuasion

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A thoroughly entertaining and darkly humorous roundup of history’s notorious but often forgotten female con artists and their bold, outrageous scams—by the acclaimed author of Lady Killers. From Elizabeth Holmes and Anna Delvey to Frank Abagnale and Charles Ponzi, audacious scams and charismatic scammers continue to intrigue us as a culture. As Tori Telfer reveals in Confid A thoroughly entertaining and darkly humorous roundup of history’s notorious but often forgotten female con artists and their bold, outrageous scams—by the acclaimed author of Lady Killers. From Elizabeth Holmes and Anna Delvey to Frank Abagnale and Charles Ponzi, audacious scams and charismatic scammers continue to intrigue us as a culture. As Tori Telfer reveals in Confident Women, the art of the con has a long and venerable tradition, and its female practitioners are some of the best—or worst. In the 1700s in Paris, Jeanne de Saint-Rémy scammed the royal jewelers out of a necklace made from six hundred and forty-seven diamonds by pretending she was best friends with Queen Marie Antoinette. In the mid-1800s, sisters Kate and Maggie Fox began pretending they could speak to spirits and accidentally started a religious movement that was soon crawling with female con artists. A gal calling herself Loreta Janeta Velasquez claimed to be a soldier and convinced people she worked for the Confederacy—or the Union, depending on who she was talking to. Meanwhile, Cassie Chadwick was forging paperwork and getting banks to loan her upwards of $40,000 by telling people she was Andrew Carnegie’s illegitimate daughter. In the 1900s, a 40something woman named Margaret Lydia Burton embezzled money all over the country and stole upwards of forty prized show dogs, while a few decades later, a teenager named Roxie Ann Rice scammed the entire NFL. And since the death of the Romanovs, women claiming to be Anastasia have been selling their stories to magazines. What about today? Spoiler alert: these “artists” are still conning.  Confident Women asks the provocative question: Where does chutzpah intersect with a uniquely female pathology—and how were these notorious women able to so spectacularly dupe and swindle their victims?


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A thoroughly entertaining and darkly humorous roundup of history’s notorious but often forgotten female con artists and their bold, outrageous scams—by the acclaimed author of Lady Killers. From Elizabeth Holmes and Anna Delvey to Frank Abagnale and Charles Ponzi, audacious scams and charismatic scammers continue to intrigue us as a culture. As Tori Telfer reveals in Confid A thoroughly entertaining and darkly humorous roundup of history’s notorious but often forgotten female con artists and their bold, outrageous scams—by the acclaimed author of Lady Killers. From Elizabeth Holmes and Anna Delvey to Frank Abagnale and Charles Ponzi, audacious scams and charismatic scammers continue to intrigue us as a culture. As Tori Telfer reveals in Confident Women, the art of the con has a long and venerable tradition, and its female practitioners are some of the best—or worst. In the 1700s in Paris, Jeanne de Saint-Rémy scammed the royal jewelers out of a necklace made from six hundred and forty-seven diamonds by pretending she was best friends with Queen Marie Antoinette. In the mid-1800s, sisters Kate and Maggie Fox began pretending they could speak to spirits and accidentally started a religious movement that was soon crawling with female con artists. A gal calling herself Loreta Janeta Velasquez claimed to be a soldier and convinced people she worked for the Confederacy—or the Union, depending on who she was talking to. Meanwhile, Cassie Chadwick was forging paperwork and getting banks to loan her upwards of $40,000 by telling people she was Andrew Carnegie’s illegitimate daughter. In the 1900s, a 40something woman named Margaret Lydia Burton embezzled money all over the country and stole upwards of forty prized show dogs, while a few decades later, a teenager named Roxie Ann Rice scammed the entire NFL. And since the death of the Romanovs, women claiming to be Anastasia have been selling their stories to magazines. What about today? Spoiler alert: these “artists” are still conning.  Confident Women asks the provocative question: Where does chutzpah intersect with a uniquely female pathology—and how were these notorious women able to so spectacularly dupe and swindle their victims?

30 review for Confident Women: Swindlers, Grifters, and Shapeshifters of the Feminine Persuasion

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader

    Why do we always hear about the “con men?" There have been some doozies who happen who were women! I recently watched a 20/20 about Elizabeth Holmes. My interest was piqued, and this book fulfilled that. I love that it’s a historic look back, so there are women in the 17, 18, and 1900s featured. You will not believe what these confident women were able to accomplish, while also cringing and shaking your head! Also, I have to mention, this true crime book is edgy with dark humor, too. It’s just p Why do we always hear about the “con men?" There have been some doozies who happen who were women! I recently watched a 20/20 about Elizabeth Holmes. My interest was piqued, and this book fulfilled that. I love that it’s a historic look back, so there are women in the 17, 18, and 1900s featured. You will not believe what these confident women were able to accomplish, while also cringing and shaking your head! Also, I have to mention, this true crime book is edgy with dark humor, too. It’s just plain fun! I received a gifted copy. Many of my reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com and instagram: www.instagram.com/tarheelreader

  2. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Hupe

    Thank you, Harper Perennial for the opportunity to read this book! I was really intrigued by Lady Killers, so I was over the moon when I received Confident Women by Tori Telfer! Broken up into 4 parts, Telfer breaks down the stories behind some of the biggest con-women in history. The Glitterati, The Seers, The Fabulists, and The Drifters all make history in one way or another. Some are deadly, some are just in it for the money. My favorite story out of the Glitterati is Jeanne de Saint-Remy. She Thank you, Harper Perennial for the opportunity to read this book! I was really intrigued by Lady Killers, so I was over the moon when I received Confident Women by Tori Telfer! Broken up into 4 parts, Telfer breaks down the stories behind some of the biggest con-women in history. The Glitterati, The Seers, The Fabulists, and The Drifters all make history in one way or another. Some are deadly, some are just in it for the money. My favorite story out of the Glitterati is Jeanne de Saint-Remy. She was born in 1756 into a difficult family. While her name went back generations, the fortune was long gone. She wanted money. She wanted power. The previous king of France had a beautiful, yet over-the-top necklace made for his mistress but died before he could pay for it. It seems like Jeanne and this necklace would be highly unlikely to cross paths. But with a rumor or two, the right connections, both Jeanne and the necklace contributed to the steady decline of Marie Antoinette’s reputation. The Seers is an interesting section. This section described the multitude of women who claimed to be psychics, seers, or mediums. Two young women were just the beginning of the religion, Modern Spiritualists which in 4 years would grow to over 2,000 members. The Fabulists had one story that always catches my interest no matter how many times I hear or read about it. The Anastasias. It is very well-known that the rumors of the missing Romanov daughter spurred the rise of MANY Anastasias–one being Anna Anderson. The finally, The Drifters. These women had multitudes of identities! While these stories are intriguing. I wasn’t really a fan of how these women were portrayed. They were portrayed as power-hungry, greedy women, rather than women who were born into specific circumstances and trying to work their way to a better life. Yes, these women have victims and these women did scam many people. But there are many people who scam, but because they are elite businessmen who don’t have to face any repercussions. So. I rate this book 3 out of 5 stars.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Diana N.

    These confident women used their confidence to con others. With all the glitz and glamor, who wouldn't take them at their word. What I liked about this book is that it looked at con women from all different places and time periods. It is broken into sections with women who had similar cons. It was interesting to hear about the detail these women paid attention to to get away with their con whether it be fortune telling, impersonating a princess, or bank fraud. An impressive amount of research we These confident women used their confidence to con others. With all the glitz and glamor, who wouldn't take them at their word. What I liked about this book is that it looked at con women from all different places and time periods. It is broken into sections with women who had similar cons. It was interesting to hear about the detail these women paid attention to to get away with their con whether it be fortune telling, impersonating a princess, or bank fraud. An impressive amount of research went into this to bring these women to life!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Lois

    This is easy reading; light in tone & substance yet intensely engrossing. This features a diverse cast of women criminals from the truly awful: murders & enslavers to the somewhat ridiculous scammers. I quite enjoyed the light tone. At the same time, much like in her previous book, The Lady Killers, this author just ignores the historical, gender biased, oppressive society that created these women. None of them were rich folks who chose to be awful. In fact a few were born into criminal families si This is easy reading; light in tone & substance yet intensely engrossing. This features a diverse cast of women criminals from the truly awful: murders & enslavers to the somewhat ridiculous scammers. I quite enjoyed the light tone. At the same time, much like in her previous book, The Lady Killers, this author just ignores the historical, gender biased, oppressive society that created these women. None of them were rich folks who chose to be awful. In fact a few were born into criminal families simply continuing the family business. Yet class was ignored entirely beyond wondering how someone barely literate could pull off a con like this. To evaluate the crimes, these women would have to be placed in their appropriate time and the restrictions of their race, gender & class accounted for or at least dealt with in realistic ways. Instead these societal oppressions are just ignored, in fact the author speaks derisively of sexual assault allegations revealed by the women after being caught. I mean one of the women spoke about being molested by a father, step father or mother's boyfriend starting in her teen years. The author dismisses this derisively as if a con artist lies all of the time or about everything. The Black Women from the 1800's & early 1900's pretending to be Spiritualists or Psychics would have been working in a career closed to them and that created themselves. What would they otherwise have done for work in those time periods? What would their earning ability be? The Commodore Vanderbilt founder of the dynasty regularly stole from women, including his own daughter, who gave him money to invest AFTER he was the wealthiest man in the US. He lied, printed fake bonds, we have federal laws and departments to keep up with the shenanigans of him and his Gilded Age pals. Yet none of them are known as anything other than power capitalists. These women were labeled criminal in the same era these men are labeled heros for much the same behaviors. This is due to class and race which besides being labeled is missing in the analysis of the crimes and criminals. None the less I enjoyed this and found a few women I'd never heard of before. Most of the crimes are light grifter type stuff a few have harrowing details but the author keeps a light tone throughout. I am left with a furious desire to study the history of US Spiritualism & Spiritualists.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jeanette

    3.5 stars rounded up for the way they were grouped. They were put into categories by nomenclature which cores the personalities and methods of their lives. Most were psychologically quite accurate too. The author is a clear and direct writer too. Very appreciated. I knew of some of these women before reading this book. Several of them are included in other classic con people histories or identity crime notorious listings. Under all of these names too. (Like Robert Blake's Bonnie who I have read a 3.5 stars rounded up for the way they were grouped. They were put into categories by nomenclature which cores the personalities and methods of their lives. Most were psychologically quite accurate too. The author is a clear and direct writer too. Very appreciated. I knew of some of these women before reading this book. Several of them are included in other classic con people histories or identity crime notorious listings. Under all of these names too. (Like Robert Blake's Bonnie who I have read about in more than 3 or 4 listings.) For the great majority of them, it is not at all unusual to find that even over a short lifetime- more than 5 or 6 identities or names have been used successfully by them. Often in different locations. What became revealed here that I did NOT know was how many of them actually in the last couple of centuries have Chicago connection. Surprise, surprise. But on the other hand, I was not surprised by the almost constant repetition for nearly every one of these 18 or 20 most highlighted to/in all myriad of details researched; how those recognizable habits existed and were honed continually- almost from birth. It seems to me that these lying /make believe, invented history perceptions as truth, disguises and stealing with cons skills are almost born in place, not made. Not entirely, of course, but still it is immensely there from the get-go. As children, young they just bloom bigger and bigger with methods or obsessions that existed from first breath. Styles, or acting and charm skills may change with age or condition but they never leave center stage. Not at all. This was much easier to do for decades and into middle age or past before about 1920, IMHO. ID's or licenses or state documentation for any degree of locale sustainability since then being much more difficult to circumvent. But not at all impossible. Some mighty con skills are operating as I type.

  6. 4 out of 5

    SuperWendy

    As Telfer points out in this book, "we" are fascinated by con artists - and when it's a female con artist? Well, all the more. This was a quick breezy listen on audio and features profiles of several con artists grouped by type (like the fake mediums, fake Anastasia Romanovs, and the women faking being survivors of horrific, tragic events "The Tragediennes.") Recommended for those who like True Crime but don't want a bunch of gore. As Telfer points out in this book, "we" are fascinated by con artists - and when it's a female con artist? Well, all the more. This was a quick breezy listen on audio and features profiles of several con artists grouped by type (like the fake mediums, fake Anastasia Romanovs, and the women faking being survivors of horrific, tragic events "The Tragediennes.") Recommended for those who like True Crime but don't want a bunch of gore.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    I wanted to focus on women’s stories specifically for Women’s History month and this surprisingly took me the entire month to read despite how short it is. The first story on Jeanne de Saint-Rémy was my favorite, which I think made it hard to concentrate on the rest of the book because her section is completely bonkers from start to finish; I kept thinking about how she literally jumped out a window at the end. There are a lot of other gems in here, and many are more recent than you would think. I wanted to focus on women’s stories specifically for Women’s History month and this surprisingly took me the entire month to read despite how short it is. The first story on Jeanne de Saint-Rémy was my favorite, which I think made it hard to concentrate on the rest of the book because her section is completely bonkers from start to finish; I kept thinking about how she literally jumped out a window at the end. There are a lot of other gems in here, and many are more recent than you would think. While the section on mediums was probably my least favorite, I do think it had some of the best quotes such as “the spirit insisted that Mary Ann was supposed to marry the local priest’s hot nephew.” Definitely a must read for anyone who loves to read wild stories. See more of my reviews: Instagram

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sydney

    I loved Tori Telfer's first book "Lady Killers" and this one was just as amazing! Telfer covers a variety of cases involving women from the 1700s to just a few years ago. There’s a chapter on the real story of Anastasia (including those who pretended to be her), a woman who faked being a 9/11 survivor, and an entire section on women pretending to be fortune tellers/mediums. I was shocked by how common the female con-artist is and the author does a brilliant job of weaving each story seamlessly i I loved Tori Telfer's first book "Lady Killers" and this one was just as amazing! Telfer covers a variety of cases involving women from the 1700s to just a few years ago. There’s a chapter on the real story of Anastasia (including those who pretended to be her), a woman who faked being a 9/11 survivor, and an entire section on women pretending to be fortune tellers/mediums. I was shocked by how common the female con-artist is and the author does a brilliant job of weaving each story seamlessly into the next. I highly recommend this true crime book if you have an interest in notorious female cons! Thank you so much to Harper Perennial for my gifted copy!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Rennie

    This was highly entertaining. Somehow I didn’t know much about the other Anastasia impersonator, only the infamous one in Berlin (whose story got so much weirder at the end than what you usually hear!) In that one she also gave some intriguing context, about the tough state most of the world was in and how much people wanted to believe in a happy, fairytale ending to what actually turned out to be a brutal and awful story. I also liked the one where the lady peed on the floor during a fight as a This was highly entertaining. Somehow I didn’t know much about the other Anastasia impersonator, only the infamous one in Berlin (whose story got so much weirder at the end than what you usually hear!) In that one she also gave some intriguing context, about the tough state most of the world was in and how much people wanted to believe in a happy, fairytale ending to what actually turned out to be a brutal and awful story. I also liked the one where the lady peed on the floor during a fight as a “preemptive strike”. This author really has a way of writing some of the especially hilarious descriptive details. Elsewhere the humor was a bit repetitive, but this thing just keeps moving so you’re never really bugged for long. The psychics were another favorite, she even made the Fox sisters story, which I’ve read a million other places by now, interesting again. The whole extent of the con around novelist Jude Deveraux is completely heartbreaking though. That’s the downside to these con artist stories, much as I *love* them - the victims of some of these grifts and scams were often broken people by the time the con artist got to them, and the state they’re left in is devastating. But it’s better to know these things, really - so many people are still losing money to these unscrupulous fraud monsters. Walk through Manhattan or Queens, there are still psychic storefronts everywhere. So yes, so very amusing if light on the social and historical context and also sometimes sad.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kirsty Mcdougall

    I didn’t not enjoy this book despite the star rating. I just felt that there was a missed opportunity to explore why these women should fascinate us. For many, they were responding and surviving in a patriarchal society and that wasn’t really explored. A good read but a bit flawed. The title didn’t work for me either. Can only con women be confident? Is the bar of confidence for women really that high?!

  11. 5 out of 5

    chan

    3 / 5 stars I can't say I will remember a lot of details about these women - to be honest, I already had trouble remembering who was who while reading the acknowledgments - but I also can't say I didn't enjoy this book, even though enjoyment might me de wrong word in some cases discussed. I'm mostly glad I picked it up during a time when I was struggeling with reading, because Confident Women: Swindlers, Grifters, and Shapeshifters of the Feminine Persuasion was so easy to get through. It kind of 3 / 5 stars I can't say I will remember a lot of details about these women - to be honest, I already had trouble remembering who was who while reading the acknowledgments - but I also can't say I didn't enjoy this book, even though enjoyment might me de wrong word in some cases discussed. I'm mostly glad I picked it up during a time when I was struggeling with reading, because Confident Women: Swindlers, Grifters, and Shapeshifters of the Feminine Persuasion was so easy to get through. It kind of reads like a series of short(ish) podcast episodes. In the four categories Tori Telfer chose to cover there are stories of at least three con women, sometimes even more when they are bundled together due to their similair schemes, each story averaging at around 16 pages, so it's very easy to read a couple of chapters and then put the book down. The narrative tone is very casual, at times attempting to be humorous even, which worked better in some cases than others. For example, the nonchalant hints at alleged trauma in these women's lives or in some instances the back and forth between conversational anecdotes and gruesome details felt very inappropriate to me. Overall it's a pretty superficial look at these women without going too deep into societal or gender biases they faced in the historical times they lived. Contrary to some reviews I read that wasn't a problem for me though, because I didn't expect it to go there.. I mean, how would that be possible given the length of this book and the amount of women covered in it? Like I said in the beginning, I picked this book up at the right time, I also didn't go into it thinking I would get in-depth psychological analysis of these con women and (besides the issues i mentioned above) that's why this was perfectly fine for me. content notes:◦ explicit: emotional abuse, murder, toxic relationship ◦ moderate: car accident, child death, confinement, gun violence, human trafficking, physical abuse, rape, slavery, suicide, violence ◦ minor: alcoholism, animal death, cancer, child abuse, domestic abuse, mental illness, torture

  12. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

    This was sooooo good. More please🤗

  13. 5 out of 5

    Maya Gandhi

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. lots of fun, interesting, highly readable. given the premise (and as a reader for feminist book club), I would’ve appreciated more discussion of why women, specifically, are able and/or forced to con — there was some mention in the Spiritualists chapter, but I’d be interested in the author’s thoughts more broadly (especially given the role of marriage in so many of the stories)

  14. 4 out of 5

    Never Without a Book

    People a very complicated beings, the lengths some will go to get what they want is mind blowing. Tori Telfer did an amazing job finding these unknown stories. I specifically was interested in reading more about Elizabeth Holmes, if you haven’t read Bad Blood by John Carreyrou, I HIGHLY recommend it. If you are a true crime fan like me then you are in for a treat with this book, get ready for some WILD stories. Thank you, Harper Collins for the gifted book.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kaya

    The basest social desires; status, power, wealth, money, admiration, control. The exploits and escapes of these remarkable women read like a paperback novel. What I love most about this book is that it examines con women from a wide range of places and time periods organized into four categories; The Glitterati, The Seers, The Fabulists, and The Drifters. I wasn't familiar with any of the women featured in the book, so I learned quite a lot with each entry (although I didn’t retain much). The na The basest social desires; status, power, wealth, money, admiration, control. The exploits and escapes of these remarkable women read like a paperback novel. What I love most about this book is that it examines con women from a wide range of places and time periods organized into four categories; The Glitterati, The Seers, The Fabulists, and The Drifters. I wasn't familiar with any of the women featured in the book, so I learned quite a lot with each entry (although I didn’t retain much). The narrative tone is very casual, at times even humorous, without going too deep into societal or gender biases these women faced in the historical times they lived. It almost felt like reading a podcast and my only regret is not getting this on audio. I think this would make for a perfect beach read but I’d also like to warn you that these women did some dark shit. “The women in this book have pushed people to the brink of suicide. They’ve drained the bank accounts of the vulnerable. One of them was a sexual abuser; another was involved in so many murders that you can find her listed on Wikipedia as a serial killer. They’ve dragged their children into dangerous situations, abandoned their children, and turned their children into con artists, too. Between them, they’ve caused oceans of tears, taken millions of dollars, and earned centuries of jail time.”

  16. 4 out of 5

    Carla Harlin

    Fascinating! That's the first word that comes to my mind when I think of this book. As you read about all these con-women from different times, their crafty schemes, and luck, you get through a rollercoaster of feelings. Curiosity, hate, surprise, excitement. This could be an ocean of inspiration for moviemakers and fiction writers! For free self-help books, I recommend this list: https://alexamood.com/list-of-free-se... Fascinating! That's the first word that comes to my mind when I think of this book. As you read about all these con-women from different times, their crafty schemes, and luck, you get through a rollercoaster of feelings. Curiosity, hate, surprise, excitement. This could be an ocean of inspiration for moviemakers and fiction writers! For free self-help books, I recommend this list: https://alexamood.com/list-of-free-se...

  17. 5 out of 5

    christine liu

    Reading Confident Women by Tori Telfer is a strange and slightly unsettling experience. The back of the book describes it as "a collection of diabolically clever con women who have made (us) their mark", and some parts of the book are certainly that. It's organized into four sections: "The Glitterati", "The Seers", "The Fabulists", and "The Drifters", each containing a few chapters detailing the lives and exploits of female con artists throughout history. I started this book thinking, "wow, this Reading Confident Women by Tori Telfer is a strange and slightly unsettling experience. The back of the book describes it as "a collection of diabolically clever con women who have made (us) their mark", and some parts of the book are certainly that. It's organized into four sections: "The Glitterati", "The Seers", "The Fabulists", and "The Drifters", each containing a few chapters detailing the lives and exploits of female con artists throughout history. I started this book thinking, "wow, this is really fun," but ended it feeling, ironically, a little conned. In the introduction, Telfer writes that "perhaps there's a darker reason we cheer on the con artist: secretly, we want to be her." I can see how this idea applies to the women in the Glitterati section - Jeanne de Saint-Remy who posed as Marie Antoinette's best friend and swindled royal jewelers out of 647 diamonds, Cassie Chadwick who pretended to be Andrew Carnegie's illegitimate daughter, and Wang Ti who befriended Chinese celebrities and Olympic athletes while scamming them out of millions of dollars. It may even apply to some extent to the infamous Fox sisters who made thousands believe they could commune with the dead or the women who claimed to be the Russian princess Anastasia. But there are women in this book who committed some truly heinous crimes. Fake psychic Rose Marks preyed on vulnerable people who spent their life savings hoping she could cure them of terminal illnesses rather than seeking necessary medical treatment and even took millions of dollars from author Jude Devereaux while she grieved multiple miscarriages and the loss of her eight year old son. Ann O'Delia Diss Debar lured young girls into a cult and stood by while her partner raped them. There's a whole chapter on "tragediennes" who used real tragedies to exploit sympathy and goodwill for their own monetary gain. And Sante Kimes murdered three people for their assets. What was most jarring to me while reading this book was its tone. Telfer writes in an irreverent voice that makes use of dark humor that at times feels inappropriate given the sometimes extremely troubling content. There are many parts of the book where she casually hints at trauma in these women's pasts - poverty, loss of family members, mental illness, abuse - but glides right over to make other comments that are meant to be humorous. Telfer hosts a podcast about female criminals, and while I have never listened to the podcast, I can see how her storytelling style could fit an audio format where inflections and nuances can be conveyed through the voice. But on the written page, it reads as glib. I also have some minor issues with Telfer's research. In the chapter on Lauretta J. Williams, or Loreta Janeta Velazquez, the information on Loreta herself comes almost exclusively from a single source, a biography written in 2016 by William C. Davis that is considered to be a revisionist history. It's the only source that calls her a con artist, and compared to the others in this book, she didn't really con anyone except for changing her name, pretending to be a man, and writing a possibly untruthful book.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Maria

    Confident Women ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ “Life goes on, the death toll climbs, and somewhere, the next tragedienne glances over her script, smears her mascara, and waits for the curtain to rise.” This brilliant true crime book tells the history of confidence artists: some of the best or the worst in the business. From the 1700s to present day, scams are everywhere, and diabolically clever con women make their mark. This was so fascinating! I meant to read a section a day, but I finished this book in two. I flew t Confident Women ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ “Life goes on, the death toll climbs, and somewhere, the next tragedienne glances over her script, smears her mascara, and waits for the curtain to rise.” This brilliant true crime book tells the history of confidence artists: some of the best or the worst in the business. From the 1700s to present day, scams are everywhere, and diabolically clever con women make their mark. This was so fascinating! I meant to read a section a day, but I finished this book in two. I flew through their stories, and was so fascinated with how much I learned. These women sure were bold and I’m not sure I could pull off even a quarter of some of the stuff these women pulled off.. also, how did some of these people fall for these scams?? I’m amazed. This book was so fun, and I didn’t want it to end. My favorite section was about the Romanovs, and I didn’t realize it until after I finished that section that it closely aligns with I was Anastasia. I also really loved Jeanne de Saint-Rémy, who tricked jewelers out of a necklace with 647 diamonds by pretending she was friends with Queen Marie Antoinette! It was fascinating and there’s no way that would fly today. If you’re even slightly interested in con artists, true crime, and scams, this is for you! Thank you @harperperennial for my #gifted copy in exchange for an honest review. #OliveInfluencer

  19. 5 out of 5

    Susan Tunis

    When I was in my twenties, I had encounters with a full-on, Frank Abagnale-style con man. He'd successfully pretended to be an astronaut, military officer, doctor, and any number of other impressive professions. I was lucky; I lost nothing--and was even trained to scuba dive by this pseudo-navy seal! I've been fascinated by con artists and grifters ever since, though I might have been fascinated either way. There is something about these people and their stories that captivates. And Tori Telfer p When I was in my twenties, I had encounters with a full-on, Frank Abagnale-style con man. He'd successfully pretended to be an astronaut, military officer, doctor, and any number of other impressive professions. I was lucky; I lost nothing--and was even trained to scuba dive by this pseudo-navy seal! I've been fascinated by con artists and grifters ever since, though I might have been fascinated either way. There is something about these people and their stories that captivates. And Tori Telfer presents a wide array of confidence women in her tremendously entertaining book. These stories span centuries and continents. There are all different kinds of scams, some falling into broad categories, and others being as unique as the women who pulled them off. These women are audacious! And every one of these stories would make a film as riveting as Catch Me If You Can. The marks may seem overly credible, but take it from me, these people are pros. So the stories are great on the own, but kudos to Ms. Telfer for displaying them to best advantage. Her use of humor isn't too overt, but it's definitely there. Yet she takes no pleasure in the crimes committed. Real people were hurt--in some cases died--but she writes about both the criminals and their victims with empathy. She goes into a fair bit of detail on the lives and crimes of various women, but keeps her narrative skipping along at a brisk pace. Confident Women will never be mistaken for an important literary work, but it was a enjoyable diversion that did a fine job exploring a fascinating group of women.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Laura Peden

    I really enjoyed this! I was a bit skeptical bc I didn’t love Lady Killers. Confident Women takes on infamous con women throughout History & I found it fascinating. My favorite was Roxie Ann Rice. If you like true crime I highly recommend!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    I adore Tori Telfer. My first introduction to her was with Lady Killers, which I also loved. So naturally, when she started her podcast, Criminal Broads, I tuned in. I read this as a physical book but I could hear her tone throughout and if felt like she was telling me these stories in person. I just love her style.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Sauvageau

    This was an interesting read. I thought some of the stories shared about the various con-women were intriguing, like people claiming to be Anastasia. Others just made me sad to see the many lives they destroyed with their lies and deceit.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Suzannah

    Upbeat, tongue-in-cheek biographies of a host of con-women, told with great verve and style, ranging from the white and famous (the Affair of the Necklace! the Anastasias!) to the obscure and modern (Wang Ti!) It's only intended to be pure fun, not academically rigorous, and I enjoyed it a whole lot. Upbeat, tongue-in-cheek biographies of a host of con-women, told with great verve and style, ranging from the white and famous (the Affair of the Necklace! the Anastasias!) to the obscure and modern (Wang Ti!) It's only intended to be pure fun, not academically rigorous, and I enjoyed it a whole lot.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Mandy

    Finally managed to rip myself out of a reading slump - discovered this by accident in chapters and I’m so glad! I didn’t know her next book had come out and it was just as humorous and thought provoking as the last. I do wish a bit more time had been spent on the different cons and the people behind them but I loved the scope of the book and how it introduced to me people I had never heard of!

  25. 4 out of 5

    laura likes lit ⁷

    My FBI Agent watching me put this book on my TBR: 🧍🏻‍♀️

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kales

    I liked this way more than LADY KILLERS. There was something fascinating, like Telfer pointed out, about conwomen. It's something glamorous and we're jealous that they "got away with it". I also saw so many untold stories of women movies that Hollywood should jump on stat. I enjoyed how she broke it into four categories. It was easy to follow and gave me a narrative to journey along. It was nicely broken up and gave me enough breathing room between the chapters. I also appreciated the pages of r I liked this way more than LADY KILLERS. There was something fascinating, like Telfer pointed out, about conwomen. It's something glamorous and we're jealous that they "got away with it". I also saw so many untold stories of women movies that Hollywood should jump on stat. I enjoyed how she broke it into four categories. It was easy to follow and gave me a narrative to journey along. It was nicely broken up and gave me enough breathing room between the chapters. I also appreciated the pages of research at the end which I might have to look over when I want to read more about some of these women. Conclusion: Keep ARC

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sabrina Lindsay

    The best part about this book was that it surprisingly ended at 75% because of how many sources it cited. I liked the couple of older stories the book started with...it was easier for me to feel charmed when times were different for women and the grifts seemed a bit more innocent. The book definitely had more modern day stories, where everyone just felt more like flat out criminals, to the point of killing people for the sake of a swindle. I was so looking forward to this one, but it just wasn’t The best part about this book was that it surprisingly ended at 75% because of how many sources it cited. I liked the couple of older stories the book started with...it was easier for me to feel charmed when times were different for women and the grifts seemed a bit more innocent. The book definitely had more modern day stories, where everyone just felt more like flat out criminals, to the point of killing people for the sake of a swindle. I was so looking forward to this one, but it just wasn’t what I expected. I also wasn’t a fan of the writing style. The fact that 25% of the book was listed sources didn’t surprise me, because each story has the feel of a high school student writing a report and trying to throw down as much of the information they found as possible. 😂 My first one star book of the year and a giant ugh from me. 😕

  28. 5 out of 5

    Krista

    Reading about women behaving badly is almost always fun. Even if you wholeheartedly believe in the social contract and take care to consider how your actions will impact others, reading about women who refuse to be subordinate to the demands of society is riveting stuff. The women in this book sparkle with their ill-gotten gains, their ability to think on their feet, and their sheer audacity. Though we would all be justifiably furious to end up on the receiving end of a trick pulled by a con, we Reading about women behaving badly is almost always fun. Even if you wholeheartedly believe in the social contract and take care to consider how your actions will impact others, reading about women who refuse to be subordinate to the demands of society is riveting stuff. The women in this book sparkle with their ill-gotten gains, their ability to think on their feet, and their sheer audacity. Though we would all be justifiably furious to end up on the receiving end of a trick pulled by a con, we can't help but be enthralled by their machinations. Perhaps that demand of attention that society so willingly bestows upon the most famous of confidence women is their greatest trick of all. Netgalley provided me with an arc in exchange for an honest review.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ebb

    An interesting look at female cons throughout the past. Telfer presents the information in a straightforward but riveting manner. A couple years ago, I read her book Lady Killers: Deadly Women Throughout History and found that a good read as well. She presents information in an engaging manner and the subjects in the book are all fascinating in different ways. I wasn't familiar with any of the women featured in the book, so I learned quite a lot with each entry. Highly recommended for any true c An interesting look at female cons throughout the past. Telfer presents the information in a straightforward but riveting manner. A couple years ago, I read her book Lady Killers: Deadly Women Throughout History and found that a good read as well. She presents information in an engaging manner and the subjects in the book are all fascinating in different ways. I wasn't familiar with any of the women featured in the book, so I learned quite a lot with each entry. Highly recommended for any true crime fans. Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  30. 5 out of 5

    VL

    If you're fascinated with true crime, this needs to be on your list. Telfer gathers a selection of women who saw the world the way it was and chose to adjust it to the way they wanted. Included are about a dozen of the mostly forgotten con women in history. Some are harmless (others aren't) but so many of them flew under the radar for a long time. If you're fascinated with true crime, this needs to be on your list. Telfer gathers a selection of women who saw the world the way it was and chose to adjust it to the way they wanted. Included are about a dozen of the mostly forgotten con women in history. Some are harmless (others aren't) but so many of them flew under the radar for a long time.

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