Indulged by a doting father and raised by mother who was a 'stickler' for manners and presenting well, little Ethel Swindells had big expectations and grand dreams for what her life should be and proceeded to find any means and any easily-led easily-flattered soul to make it so. Inspired by the movies, theatre shows and operas her father took her to as a child, Ethel took her many aliases from actresses, singers and the social elite and led a life so fanciful and audacious it was indeed 'amazing'. Travelling the world, rubbing shoulders with high society, a femme fatale for many men who married her, lived with her and signed over their properties or accounts to her, Ethel was master at telling people what they wanted to hear and drawing them into her world - all the time fleecing them with a gracious smile.
Ethel was a pathological liar, a narcissist who had no sense of empathy or compassion for any of the people she 'played'. I was intrigued as to how so many people could be so gullible to this woman as her stories were at many times so blatantly fanciful and unbelievable. It was also interesting to note that many of those who were fleeced and conned were more than happy to give their money to a woman who claimed to be already rich beyond imagination. Not only did many of the men she lived with sign their homes over to her but ‘friends' or supporters also mortgaged their homes for her. It had me wondering if these same people would have helped out destitute or struggling person the same way or did they too also have ulterior motives and thought Ethel would 'give them something' in return - for some there were ‘promises' of exorbitant interest amounts on their loans and for one or two a dangle of large cash gifts coming their way. Just as Ethel was conning the masses, there were those who were also trying to con the con(wo)man.
This book was an interesting insight as to how a fraudster could easily spin their web of deceit back in the 1930's, 40's and 50's and con people of all spheres of society -from the rich to the poor, professional to the housewife - Ethel was indeed a piece of work.
Although Ethel left a string of people destitute and hurt in her wake it was her children I felt extremely sad for and the ongoing psychological traumas they would have had to deal with throughout their lives and I am sure there is a fascinating and profound story to tell in their own lives of survival.
A little dash of gladsome
This is my page of delight - things that tickle my fancy, favourite books to take me on inner journeys, art that lifts me up, and tib-bits to make me giggle. It'll be random, fanciful, joyful and delightfully inspiring.
Hello! I'm Kerry
. . . a plan-nothing, have no idea where I'm going travelholic.
A daughter of the gypsies and the wife of a workaholic, I'm forever wondering 'What's over there?' and devising ways to squeeze through the barbed-wire fence of small-business ownership responsibilities and every-day life tangles to discover it.
and this is my book