A hundred years ago Thérèse Humbert was one of the most powerful women in France. Her salon was the center of Parisian life. 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 what she claimed to be. Her lifestyle, her history, and, most important, her fortune -- were all an elaborate hoax. When her con was finally exposed, thousands of small investors and creditors, including the inlaws 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, as did the story of her life, due to the disgrace of so many wealthy and important people.La Grande 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.