La Grande Therese by Hilary Spurling
The Greatest Scandal of the Century

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La Grande Thérèse is the true story of a scandal that nearly destroyed the French Third Republic.

A hundred years ago Thérèse Humbert was one of the most powerful women in France; her salon was the center of Parisian life, and her wealth--as the assumed illegitimate daughter of an American billionaire--was fabled. She lived life on a grand scale and was the toast of Paris. But Thérèse was not who she claimed to be. Her lifestyle, her history, and, most important, her fortune--all were an elaborate hoax. When her con was finally exposed, thousands of small investors and creditors, including the in-laws of the artist Henri Matisse, were completely ruined. Thérèse was tried and sentenced to five years' hard labor. When she was released from prison, she vanished, and the fantastic story of her life was mostly hushed up, because it has disgraced so many wealthy and important people.

Hilary Spurling has done meticulous research into the life of Thérèse Humbert. La Grand Thérèse is the remarkable story of the spectacular rise and fall of a French peasant girl with an extraordinary imagination and irresistible powers of persuasion.


About Hilary Spurling

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Hilary Spurling has been a theater critic and literary editor for "The Spectator, " is now a book reviewer for "The Daily Telegraph, " and has written biographies of Ivy Compton-Burnett and Paul Scott. She is presently at work on Volume Two of "The Unknown Matisse.
Published June 1, 2000 by Counterpoint Press. 160 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Travel. Non-fiction

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the real foundation of her success was a genius for self-invention—as was recognized by the acquaintance who exclaimed of Thérèse, “She lied as a bird sings.” The symbol of her grand artifice was a mysterious strongbox occupying its own locked chamber in the family mansion that, Thérèse hinted, c...

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Publishers Weekly

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This small book--in essence, an extended essay--serves up with wit and a novelist's delight the story of a scandal that almost toppled France's Third Republic. A century ago, Th r se Humbert held a se

Jul 03 2000 | Read Full Review of La Grande Therese : The Great...

The Bookbag

A further document covered the agreement of the nephews to allow Thérèse to keep the fortune until the matter had been settled, with Thérèse and her family living on a part of the income.

Mar 10 2011 | Read Full Review of La Grande Therese : The Great...

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