My Friend Anna – The True Story of a Fake Heiress by Rachel DeLoache Williams

My Friend Anna – The True Story of a Fake Heiress
by
Rachel DeLoache Williams

Rating:

In 2017, Rachel Williams, a young woman working for Vanity Fair magazine in New York, made friends with a 26-year-old woman named Anna Delvey. Delvey was living in a swank hotel and claimed to be a German heiress. The two became fast friends and Anna brought Rachel into her world, treating her to expensive restaurants, nightclubs, workouts, saunas, and pedicures. Anna claimed to be negotiating a big idea – a private art club, housed in the historic Church Missions House on Park Avenue. A couple months later, Anna invited Rachel and two others to join her on a lavish, all-expenses paid vacation in Marrakech, Morocco.

That’s where it all went south. When Anna’s credit cards didn’t work in Marrakech, she persuaded Rachel to put the charges on her own cards, including a Vanity Fair American Express expense account, assuring Rachel she’d pay her back as soon as she talked to her bank. The charges totaled over $62,000 and Anna began to drag her feet. After two months of promises (my favorite line from these conversations: “Would Bitcoin be okay?”), Rachel began to understand that she’d been conned.

My Friend Anna is the story of how Rachel, 29, dealt with being duped out of a large amount of money, which included providing authorities with information and evidence that led to Anna’s arrest. The charges were grand larceny and theft of services from Rachel and others of more than a quarter million dollars. Rachel testified at her trial and wrote this book.

This story has gawkers’ appeal. You read it because you want to know how anyone could fall for a scam like this and you’re glad it’s not you! The author fell for her friend’s tales of wealth and billion dollar trust fund. And her fatal mistake was taking out her own credit card to cover the costs of their vacation. I didn’t feel too sorry for her, however. The book deal and HBO’s purchase of the story have probably taken the sting out of this friendship gone wrong.

That said, I tore through the story and enjoyed reading how it all unraveled. I especially liked the text message exchanges, which while they were repetitive and a bit whiny, reflected Rachel’s desperate attempts to get her money back. I would have liked to know more about Anna, whose past is revealed late in the book. For most of the story, she’s an enigma.

Of course, when I finished, I wanted to see just who these people were. To round that out, here’s a good interview from ABC Nightline:

So all in all, a good, fast read, a little light on substance, but entertaining.

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

18 thoughts on “My Friend Anna – The True Story of a Fake Heiress by Rachel DeLoache Williams

  1. OMG. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of this news story before, but it sounds so terrible! I wonder how she was able to fake being an heiress for so long, and where she got the initial money to do all those other things before her credit card stopped working. I’m glad she was arrested though.

    1. Hi Leelynn – it’s strange because her name sounded vaguely familiar and I kind of remember seeing it on the news. And it just happened over the spring and summer! The book is more about the author’s interaction with her. I also would like to know more about Anna and how she got her scam going. Thanks so much for reading and commenting 🙂 Hope you are doing well!

    1. Hi Jill – I had to work all day Saturday, but I started it during my lunch break and as soon as I got home, I read, then most of Sunday! Thanks for reading – hope your Monday started the week out well!

  2. I remember hearing about this in the news. So crazy! I think this whole concept would make a great fiction book. It doesn’t sound like this book really blew you away, but I’m still adding it to my TBR because I find it fascinating, though I agree I would rather learn a little more about Anna. Great review!

    1. I liked it but you’re right, it didn’t blow me away. It was very readable and I was engaged in the story but I couldn’t really get why the author handed over her credit cards, especially her work one. And why she didn’t get fired for it. Still it’s one of those con stories that we all love to read about and are so glad they didn’t happen to us! Thanks for the visit 😀

      1. I can understand feeling pressured to help, but not for over $60k! The limit on my credit car doesn’t come anywhere near that haha. And I don’t understand how she didn’t get fired for using a company card, either. There was a guy where I work that got fired for putting snacks from the gas station on the card when he filled up a company vehicle.

      2. Yeah I know – now in the beginning the hotel said they were just going to hold her card – so I give her a little wiggle room there, but she signed off on the charges. I never would have used my cards like that – especially a work card!

    1. Hi Robbie – that’s definitely a sticking point. I especially don’t understand why sue wasn’t fired after putting charges on her corporate Amex. I felt she was leaving something out. But I did enjoy it. Thanks for the visit. (Also I feel pretty sure I wouldn’t have fallen for that ruse either – even during my young and naive years- which are long gone!)

    1. Haha – I never thought about the horror genre – that’s good, Pam! While I hate to admit it, the appeal for me was the feeling of relief that this had happened to someone else, not to me. Thanks for reading and commenting 🙂

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