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The Fraud by Zadie Smith - Everything You Need to Know About This Upcoming Book


"We walked in the sun down the urban street to the concrete space—to market. This wasn’t like walking a shady country lane in a quaint market town and ending up in a perfectly preserved eighteenth-century square. It was not even like going to one of these Farmer’s Markets that have sprung up all over London at the crossroads where personal wealth meets a strong interest in artisanal cheeses."- Zadie Smith

Introduction of the book

An enthralling historical fiction, The Fraud was pen down by the bestselling novelist Zadie Smith. The author portrays the cultural and literary life of Victorian England, while kaleidoscopic shades of the historical events flare up vividly on each page of this amazing novel.  Each chapter shows struggles against contemporary themes comprising women's independence, racism, and class disparity from centuries-old events. The Fraud, is a mesmerizing fiction writing which is based on real-world experiences that enthrall readers.

Eliza Touchet, the protagonist keeps the readers engrossed throughout the novel. The strong lady came into sight in the first chapter, “A Very Large Hole”. The scene began with a lady appearing on the second floor of the house with her cousin, William Harrison Ainsworth, in Tunbridge Wells. The story is narrated through Mrs. Touchet, the cousin, and housekeeper to William Ainsworth. He was a writer and cousin to Charles Dickens and wrote many bestselling novels.

A Delightful Plot and Theme Depict the Quest For Truth and Freedom

The year 1873 was significant for Eliza Touchet as she experienced various social issues related to the legacy of slavery and the slave trade in Jamaica. She illustrated the oppressed and complex experience of life in the modern world. It covers the social exploitation in society and the pathetic conditions of high court judges involved in corruption and bribery. Increased racism, poverty, social conflicts, and violence made lives more miserable for an honest working man. Furthermore, the poor continued to face deprivation, injustice, and inequality while rich aristocratic families had high social privileges and wealth.

The book demonstrates that the enslaved colonies were not freed until 1838. Beginning her fight for justice, the author made efforts to resist the manipulation and injustice in society.  The historical novel depicts a slave story writing hidden with philosophical ideas that helped Zadie Smith develop a story revolving around real historical events and characters.

 The plot of the novel comprises three leading storylines. The story of Eliza Touchet, a widow, and her married life with her cousin and writer William Ainsworth. The next part deals with the Tichborne trial.  The story elucidating fundamental problems of people including the life of Andrew Bogle also kept readers engaged. Many instances in the book comprise the interpretations of Eliza Touchet regarding the consequences of social discrimination existing among different social classes in England.

Eliza never thought to become a writer; it was the in-depth inspiration of multicultural events that compelled her to create historical fiction. The memoir writing is based on her recollection of social circumstances. She navigated the city of London and perceived how people lived. The author witnessed the hard struggles of black people including their efforts to gain freedom from slavery.  The Tichborne Trial proceeding observed by Eliza further broaden her horizon to know the plight of the working class people in England, social injustice, the hypocrisy of the establishment, and the struggle for freedom.

Another instance that stimulated Eliza’s mind was the1871 civil trial.  Andrew Bogle faced the panel of judges who arrested him in the fraud case. As he narrated his plight, Eliza got motivated and realized that she had book writing instincts like Ainsworth. Deeply sensationalized by prevailing social issues, she pen down her ideas about the creation of historical fiction.

Comprising her recollections including somber life experiences of Bogle and other people, brief excerpts from Ainsworth’s books, and real historic trial events helped her develop an outstanding manuscript that blends facts and fiction. The narrative widely seized public attention. The audience developed social awareness of how ethnic minorities struggled for survival in a shattered world. Increasing disparities in income and other forms of wealth inequality manipulated the deprived families. Consequently, they seek liberty and freedom.

Each Chapter explores a new perspective and uncovers the shades of fraud and deception in society

The vivid descriptions of the narrative take the readers to explore the plantations in Jamaica called Hope. The novel explains the story of Andrew Bogle. He belonged to a family who were enslaved. Bogle’s parents were tricked through fraudulent ways and unlawfully transported to Jamaica from the African continent.  Raising her voice against social disparity, Zadie Smith combines her power of observation and her unique voice to explain the complex experience of life in the modern world. The book enclosed impressive stories that present the social life experiences of people.

The book resembles an extensive Victorian novel comprising different genres and perspectives. The chapters revealed the themes involving societal expectations, liberty, identity, and rebirth.  Shorter and thought-provoking chapters keep the readers engrossed. The writer keeps moving back and forth in time from the 1830s to the late 1870s. The chapters present Eliza’s series of recollections of sequential events that occurred in different settings and environments. For instance, brief chapters were based on recollected narratives such as dinner, a visit, a walk, or interesting conversations that keep readers immersed.

For instance in a chapter, titled, “Theory”, Mrs. Touchet explained her theory of social anarchy and lawlessness prevailing in England. She found that society lacks social harmony and community well-being. There was no concept of promoting love, trust, peace, respect, and compassion in people. The affluent communities were involved with immorality, dinner parties, and the boarding schools having a devaluing and oppressive environment increased social injustice. Moreover, economic failures further deteriorated the social norms in society.

From the historic events to the illustration of fiction elements leave the audience breathless till the end!

The chief protagonist of the novel is Andrew Bogle, a born Jamaican slave who was brought to England to become a manservant in a household. The lives of Eliza and Andrew unexpectedly mingled as they raised their concerns regarding freedom and self-delusion. The novel moves between England and Jamaica in different eras to express Eliza and Andrew’s stories. The characters appeared to be fascinating and they overwhelmed the readers with their powerful and stunning conversations. Consequently, the strong characterization around real historical events demonstrated impressive storytelling about the slavery era in Jamaica.

Available Platforms to Buy the Novel

Historical fiction, The Fraud can be easily purchased through various platforms. You may find the book in hardcover and e-book editions on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Hudson Booksellers, Target, and Walmart. If you prefer digital reading, you can opt for the Kindle version of the novel. Readers can also view the book on Goodreads or buy the book through Amazon. The book genre is historical fiction. The book is expected to be launched on September 5, 2023.

Publisher’s Description

The Fraud will be published by Penguin Books Ltd. The global book publishers have published over 1,500 manuscripts in a wide range of genres. It includes fiction and non-fiction writing, historical fiction, and children's classics.

The historical novel, The Fraud is expected to be released by September 2023. In her first short story collection, Zadie Smith combined her power of observation and her unique voice to narrate heart-wrenching stories of class differences, race, and gender discrimination in 19th-century England. The story is narrated through Mrs. Touchet, a Scottish housekeeper, and cousin by marriage to a famous novelist William Ainsworth. Having interests in literature, justice, and abolitionism. She incorporated experiences of social injustice and real historical events that hook the reader’s attention.  Modern readers empathize with Mrs. Touchet in highlighting the social discrimination in society and developing awareness of freedom, and compassion for the slaves.

About The Authors

The best-selling author, Zadie Smith has pen down books on different genres including fiction and historical novels. Her famous novels, White Teeth, The Autograph Man, On Beauty, NW, and Swing Time are widely read. She also wrote collections of essays and short stories. In the year 2002, Zadie was elected as a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. She also got listed among Granta's 20 Best Young British Novelists in 2003 and again in 2013.  Her novel, White Teeth won multiple literary awards including the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, the Whitbread First Novel Award, and the Guardian First Book Award. NW was shortlisted for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction. Her forthcoming historical fiction, ‘The Fraud’ aims to explore social discrimination in society. She emphasizes the contemporary themes involving women’s independence, racism, class disparity, and the legacy of slavery in Jamaica.

Zadie Smith was born in northwest London, where she still lives. At present, she is serving as a professor of fiction at New York University and a Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.


Reading the historical fiction, “The Fraud” will let you know more about the plight of Jamaican natives. The author has incorporated eleven entirely new and unpublished stories from England, Jamaica that reflect the social injustices faced by the people. The chapters are based on recollections of the author’s life, Bogle’s harsh experiences, and brief excerpts from Ainsworth's books. Moreover, real historic events combined with fiction help created an alluring novel for the readers. The book is a must-read for the audience who have an interest in historical novels. The readers desire to gain knowledge about the cultural and literary life of Victorian England and prevailing social disputes of racism, class disparity, and the legacy of slavery.