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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

    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!

  2. 4 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.

  3. 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!

  4. 5 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.

  5. 5 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...

  6. 5 out of 5

    laura likes lit ⁷

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

  7. 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

  8. 5 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.

  9. 4 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.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Tina Rae

    Okay, I am OBSESSED with this book. I loved it so much and I wanted it to keep going on and on and on with more stories to devour. I found this whole book so fascinating. I ended up reading this over a few weeks, reading a story or two every day. And I honestly loved doing that. It was such a nice part of each day. All of these women are absolutely fascinating. Many are fun and hilarious. A few are a little horrifying. But for the most part, this book was just a fun little romp. This is exactly h Okay, I am OBSESSED with this book. I loved it so much and I wanted it to keep going on and on and on with more stories to devour. I found this whole book so fascinating. I ended up reading this over a few weeks, reading a story or two every day. And I honestly loved doing that. It was such a nice part of each day. All of these women are absolutely fascinating. Many are fun and hilarious. A few are a little horrifying. But for the most part, this book was just a fun little romp. This is exactly how I love learning history. I loved that I hadn't heard of any of these women previously and met them all in these pages. And I hope others enjoy discovering them as well. So. If you are also fascinated by con artists, I HIGHLY recommend this one. I loved the entire thing so, so much. But my favorite sections ended up being the Spiritualists (I would've read an entire book about just these women; this whole section was FASCINATING), the Anastasias (I especially loved the ending which covered what actually happened to the Romanovs) and Margaret Lydia Burton. If you're looking to read more nonfiction or more true crime, look no further!! This one is amazing and I could not recommend it more highly! Thank you to Harper Perennial for sending a copy of this one my way in exchange for an honest review. This was such a fun time!!! It was an absolute treat!

  11. 4 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

  12. 5 out of 5

    Shari Suarez

    If you love true crime this is the book for you! Tori Telfer tells the story of con-women over the years in an engaging and straightforward manner. Some of the con-women you know (Bonnie Lee Bakley, for example) and some I had no idea about. A lot of fun and a quick read.

  13. 4 out of 5

    K. Rose

    Like Telfer's first book, LADY KILLERS, Confident Women is meticulously researched. This book has an even more varied array of women from across history - you may even remember some of them from recent headlines (and/or your grandparents certainly might!). Reading about con-women could be solemn, stressful, or grim. But Telfer focuses on the most fascinating bits: what were her aliases, how did she do manage to fool people over and over - and what fabulous items did she spend all of that money o Like Telfer's first book, LADY KILLERS, Confident Women is meticulously researched. This book has an even more varied array of women from across history - you may even remember some of them from recent headlines (and/or your grandparents certainly might!). Reading about con-women could be solemn, stressful, or grim. But Telfer focuses on the most fascinating bits: what were her aliases, how did she do manage to fool people over and over - and what fabulous items did she spend all of that money on?! (Tens of cocker spaniels, bulk orders of pianos, a hot pink car, multiple vacation homes, golden chairs, gambling addictions, etc.) Although these items may seem ridiculous, it does not go unremarked that a fair amount of these con-women were obsessed with money specifically because they came from poverty. In fact, one thought I had from reading both of Telfer's books is that women used these crimes - killing and conning, respectively - often as a means to achieve economic independence in times when society did not offer them legitimate alternatives. That's not an excuse necessarily - but ignoring it means oversimplifying these women's stories, and characters. And Telfer doesn't let her readers commit THAT crime. Telfer tells the facts with humor and a wink; a narrator who doesn't paint these women with a black-and-white morality but shows us their humanity, even for the few who are undoubtedly cruel. Everyone gets their story told, from their childhood to their sentencing. And as we read we are left to ponder with ourselves: Could I do this? (I think I could!) WOULD I do this? (Eh. It DOES seem like a lot of work...so, probably not.) Life in 2021 continues to be a pandemic nightmare, so take this book for a spin. Get to know these historic "swindlers, grifters, and shapeshifters of the feminine persuasion" who otherwise may have passed quietly into the archives of history. And what a pity for us if they had.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Aimee Dars

    Unflappable, bold, larger-than-life, and often glamorous, con women capture the imagination, soliciting awe as much as condemnation despite their criminal behavior. In 𝘊𝘰𝘯𝘧𝘪𝘥𝘦𝘯𝘵 𝘞𝘰𝘮𝘦𝘯, Tori Telfer explores the public fascination with these opportunists through several profiles of female grifters throughout the ages—and these are only the ones who were ultimately discovered. I wish I had just a scintilla of the confidence these women had in planning and implementing their schemes! Telfer divides Unflappable, bold, larger-than-life, and often glamorous, con women capture the imagination, soliciting awe as much as condemnation despite their criminal behavior. In 𝘊𝘰𝘯𝘧𝘪𝘥𝘦𝘯𝘵 𝘞𝘰𝘮𝘦𝘯, Tori Telfer explores the public fascination with these opportunists through several profiles of female grifters throughout the ages—and these are only the ones who were ultimately discovered. I wish I had just a scintilla of the confidence these women had in planning and implementing their schemes! Telfer divides her book into four sections: The Glitterati, The Seers, The Fabulists, and The Drifters. The book is so interesting across the board, I can’t even pick my favorite swindlers, but I did particularly love the moxie of the Glitterati, one who implicated Queen Marie Antoinette in her machinations and one who claimed to be an illegitimate child of Andrew Carnegie. A series of women in the early 1900s claimed to be Anastasia Romanov, escaped from the communists, and Lauretta Williams posed as a male Civil War soldier and spy. More recent women like Wang Ti and Bonny Lee Bakely also have chapters. Most of the case studies were new to me though two were familiar because they’d been adapted into Law & Order episodes. I enjoyed learning about these women and thought the format was perfect because despite their colorful lives I’m not sure I’d want to read an entire biography of each one. Tefler brings a humorous tone to the writing, though she doesn’t neglect the victims or the serious consequences they suffered. Depending on the consequences or the context, the women faced varying degrees of justice, and despite their crimes, the public remained enthralled with many of them. (It’s interesting to note the cons that cross the line for public sympathy.) Tefler highlights the problematic nature of our obsession with con women, but leaves readers to contemplate the implications. True crime readers, especially ones looking for cases not focusing on murder, should pick this up. I also think readers interested in women’s history and feminism will be interested in the crimes over time and how women were portrayed by the contemporary press. Also, kudos to the designer. I love the eye-catching cover! Thanks to NetGalley and Harper Perennial for an advanced reading copy in exchange for an honest review.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Malia

    Anyone who's fascinated by scammers will appreciate this book! I found it so gripping to read, and there were only a couple of the women's stories that didn't grab me, especially the beginning ones. If you find it a slow start, keep going. I've long wished for a really great pop history deep dive into spiritualism, and this book's section had more stories than I've ever read/heard about before. The tragediennes section was structured beautifully and was incredibly heart wrenching. It's interesti Anyone who's fascinated by scammers will appreciate this book! I found it so gripping to read, and there were only a couple of the women's stories that didn't grab me, especially the beginning ones. If you find it a slow start, keep going. I've long wished for a really great pop history deep dive into spiritualism, and this book's section had more stories than I've ever read/heard about before. The tragediennes section was structured beautifully and was incredibly heart wrenching. It's interesting how the modern scammers we see aren't doing stuff that people haven't been doing for centuries. I thought this book was not making too much light of this salacious material, because the scammed people are often very real victims. The book was also quite thought provoking, in that its division in kinds of confidence women made me think of what kinds of people get preyed on by scammers. It isn't always desperate or hopeful people. In the case of the tragendiennes, those women are taking advantage of kind and generous people. I think what fascinates me about these stories relates to something I read recently that sociopathy is the absence of empathy while anxiety is an excess of empathy. By that token, I am truly bewildered by people living at the other end of the spectrum from me. ***Thanks to NetGalley for providing an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.***

  16. 5 out of 5

    Erica WhimsicalyMe

    Tori Tefler wrote this book so well and her research was excellent!! I was entranced with each woman’s story and at times aghast at how long they got away with it. These women were something else. In the end these confident scammers have pushed people over the edge toward suicide, taken every last dime people had, one was a sexual predator and another was involved in multiple murders. They’ve even raised their children to be scammers like themselves or abandoned them altogether. The author summe Tori Tefler wrote this book so well and her research was excellent!! I was entranced with each woman’s story and at times aghast at how long they got away with it. These women were something else. In the end these confident scammers have pushed people over the edge toward suicide, taken every last dime people had, one was a sexual predator and another was involved in multiple murders. They’ve even raised their children to be scammers like themselves or abandoned them altogether. The author summed it up quite well, “To achieve these nefarious ends, the con woman weaponizes confidence itself.” Confidence can mean belief in oneself but the other meaning is belief in something. These women were confident in themselves. They were able to convince and manipulate those around them to believe in the scheme or fairytale they were selling each and every one of them!! I loved this book!! It was ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫for me. Thank you @harperperennial for my copy of the book to review!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Tanja ~ T's Book ~ KT Book Reviews

    When they said swindlers, grifters, and shapeshifters of the feminine persuasion, honey, they weren't lying! I had the best time reading this book. I know it sounds weird, but to be able to discover what women have done, albeit a bit off, over the years in what usually is male behavior, that btw is praised in certain situations, is just plain fun. Absolutely brilliant! I loved every moment of it. ~Tanja Follow me on Instagram✿Twitter✿Facebook✿Pinterest✿ When they said swindlers, grifters, and shapeshifters of the feminine persuasion, honey, they weren't lying! I had the best time reading this book. I know it sounds weird, but to be able to discover what women have done, albeit a bit off, over the years in what usually is male behavior, that btw is praised in certain situations, is just plain fun. Absolutely brilliant! I loved every moment of it. ~Tanja Follow me on Instagram✿Twitter✿Facebook✿Pinterest✿

  18. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Abbott

    A salacious and fun true crime read, perfect for fans of My Favorite Murder. "Confident Women" will scratch that itch of dark fascination that all true crime lovers have, but it takes a different beat than most books/podcasts out there. Instead of focusing on serial killers, Confident Women tells the story of, well, con women. These women lied, cheated, and stole their way through history and across the world, amassing millions of dollars and their fair share of infamy. Telfer writes with a fun A salacious and fun true crime read, perfect for fans of My Favorite Murder. "Confident Women" will scratch that itch of dark fascination that all true crime lovers have, but it takes a different beat than most books/podcasts out there. Instead of focusing on serial killers, Confident Women tells the story of, well, con women. These women lied, cheated, and stole their way through history and across the world, amassing millions of dollars and their fair share of infamy. Telfer writes with a fun mixture of gossipy details and well-researched information, which make this book fly by. I went with 4 stars instead of 5 because some of the chapters did drag a bit. However, enough of the stories were jaw-droppingly dramatic that I kept coming back for more. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an advanced look at this book!

  19. 4 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.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Marla Warren

    Fascinating short stories/essays about both historical and contemporary women that have had some wild and crazy lives (and in some cases, deaths). Audible version is great, too. It's told a lot like your best friend is filling you in on some "gossip" you missed -- except this "gossip" is all factual and extremely well researched! This is exactly the type of book I reach for when I need out of a reading slump! You can pick it up and read about one woman, or one "category" of swindler, or pick and Fascinating short stories/essays about both historical and contemporary women that have had some wild and crazy lives (and in some cases, deaths). Audible version is great, too. It's told a lot like your best friend is filling you in on some "gossip" you missed -- except this "gossip" is all factual and extremely well researched! This is exactly the type of book I reach for when I need out of a reading slump! You can pick it up and read about one woman, or one "category" of swindler, or pick and choose a couple to read about, or read cover to cover. You can consume this in whatever way works best for you!

  21. 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

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ilena

    Just learning about romance author Jude Deveraux was one, of the many, fascinating parts of this nonfiction work. What surprised me the most was that there was a lot of sadness seeped in the tales, these con women leaving behind a trail of broken and ruined people. Since probably the beginning of humankind, people have long preyed on the vulnerabilities of others. Yeah...that’s what I liked most. The author was able to juxtapose the absurd but yet understandable actions of the victims with the c Just learning about romance author Jude Deveraux was one, of the many, fascinating parts of this nonfiction work. What surprised me the most was that there was a lot of sadness seeped in the tales, these con women leaving behind a trail of broken and ruined people. Since probably the beginning of humankind, people have long preyed on the vulnerabilities of others. Yeah...that’s what I liked most. The author was able to juxtapose the absurd but yet understandable actions of the victims with the callousness and detachment (sometimes mental illness) of the con women.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    This was a fun one! I read a review of this book in the New York Times and knew I just had to read the whole book. As someone interested in the psychological goings-on of those who are so *good* at getting others to do their bidding (generally in weird theological realms, but I will take con artists, too) it was fun to hear the stories of a number of con women. I appreciated Tori Telfer's voice throughout the book and the broad group of women she gathered together in this book. This would be an This was a fun one! I read a review of this book in the New York Times and knew I just had to read the whole book. As someone interested in the psychological goings-on of those who are so *good* at getting others to do their bidding (generally in weird theological realms, but I will take con artists, too) it was fun to hear the stories of a number of con women. I appreciated Tori Telfer's voice throughout the book and the broad group of women she gathered together in this book. This would be an excellent beach read.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Leah

    This was interesting and entertaining, and it was an especially good distraction for me reading over the past week with all the craziness going on. As a true crime fan, I was familiar with some of the stories, but there was enough new information to keep me hooked and make me want to look up these women online for more information and to see what they look like. *I received an ARC as part of a Goodreads giveaway

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kirsty Mcdougall

    2.5* 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?!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Caroline Craig David

    This is easily my favorite book of the year so far. Tori Telfer really just gave me a history lessons that I didn't know I needed. As a true crime fan, I am highly suggesting that everyone buy this book. The entertainment value of the first chapter alone is completely worth it. This book could spark a television series. I honestly can't recommend this enough! This is easily my favorite book of the year so far. Tori Telfer really just gave me a history lessons that I didn't know I needed. As a true crime fan, I am highly suggesting that everyone buy this book. The entertainment value of the first chapter alone is completely worth it. This book could spark a television series. I honestly can't recommend this enough!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Lillyanna Lamm

    If you're fascinated with true crime, this needs to be on your list. These women lied, cheated, and stole their way through history and across the world, amassing millions of dollars and their fair share of infamy. Telfer writes with a fun mixture of gossipy details and well-researched information, which make this book fly by. If you're fascinated with true crime, this needs to be on your list. These women lied, cheated, and stole their way through history and across the world, amassing millions of dollars and their fair share of infamy. Telfer writes with a fun mixture of gossipy details and well-researched information, which make this book fly by.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Vallin

    FASCINATING and easy to read. Especially after Lady Mary's adventures as an NC grifter collaborating with a hit man. Definitely ordered more for the Celebrating Women display in March. Gifting a copy to my crazy present ladyfriend...when she gets out of jail (gotta' tighten up your game, sweetie!) FASCINATING and easy to read. Especially after Lady Mary's adventures as an NC grifter collaborating with a hit man. Definitely ordered more for the Celebrating Women display in March. Gifting a copy to my crazy present ladyfriend...when she gets out of jail (gotta' tighten up your game, sweetie!)

  29. 4 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!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Andréa

    Note: I accessed a digital review copy of this book through Edelweiss.

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