My Friend Anna by Rachel DeLoache Williams

Rachel DeLoache Williams' tale of her relationship with fraudster Anna Delvey is an intimate, methodical look at the pair's relationship

Book Review by Beth Cochrane | 23 Jul 2019
  • My Friend Anna
Book title: My Friend Anna: The true story of the fake heiress of New York City
Author: Rachel DeLoache Williams

My Friend Anna is the autobiographical story of Rachel DeLoache Williams and her friendship with Anna Delvey, the Russian fraudster who posed as a wealthy German heiress in New York City from 2013 to 2019. The book is an intimate and methodical telling of the relationship between the two: from their first meeting in New York City, to Delvey offering an ‘all-expenses paid’ trip to Marrakesh, and finally to Delvey’s criminal trial.

The story grabs the reader’s attention in much the same way as a tabloid headline. Indeed, the concept of the book is dangerously close to being a longer, more detailed Wikipedia page. Thankfully, Williams adds some interesting texture through her authorial lens, illustrating Anna’s perfectly crafted authenticity from the viewpoint of the inner circle.

It’s this perspective that is the core of My Friend Anna: the exploration of the innate human desire to trust. Williams rarely, if at all, questions the legitimacy of her new friend and the reader finds themselves lured into a similar experience. Perhaps we’re occasionally drawn too far into Williams’ biography, to the point where personal details overwhelm the heart of the story. Delvey, however, is a fascinating character, and watching the friendship between the two women develop is akin to watching a deceptively benign weed destroy a well-cultivated garden.

Quercus, 23 Jul, £16.99