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About the book
  • Published: 15 May 2012
  • ISBN: 9780099570134
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 320
  • RRP: $32.99

Beautiful For Ever

Madame Rachel of Bond Street - Cosmetician, Con-Artist and Blackmailer


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The thrilling and scandalous tale of Madame Rachel - beautician to the rich and famous, con-artist and blackmailer.

Madame Rachel had everything: a Mayfair address, the title of 'purveyor to Her Majesty the Queen', a shop full of exotic and expensive creams and potions. Her clientele were aristocratic, rich, well-connected - and gullible.

She began life as a poor fish fryer in a disease-ridden, grubby corner of Victorian London. Via teeming markets, filthy prisons and high society drawing rooms, she climbed her way to a shop in New Bond Street, where her wealthy clients came in their droves, lured by the promise of eternal beauty. What they found there was a con-woman and fraudster who made a career out of lies, treachery and the false hopes of her desperate victims.

This is the true story of Madame Rachel who offered her customers reinvention, transformation and the chance to be Beautiful For Ever. It's a thrilling tale of love affairs, scandal, blackmail, high-profile court cases, suicide and fraud, set against the lively backdrop of Victorian London.

  • Pub date: 15 May 2012
  • ISBN: 9780099570134
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 320
  • RRP: $32.99

About the Author

Helen Rappaport

Helen Rappaport is a historian with a specialism in late Imperial Russia and the Victorians. She is the author of thirteen published books, including the Sunday Times bestseller Four Sisters: The Lost Lives of the Romanov Grand Duchesses; Ekaterinburg: The Last Days of the Romanovs and Caught in the Revolution: Petrograd, 1917. Helen is also historical consultant to the ITV drama series, Victoria and her books about the Victorians include Magnificent Obsession: Victoria, Albert and the Death that Changed the Monarchy.

Also by Helen Rappaport

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Praise for Beautiful For Ever

“A remarkable story... Rappaport handles her scandalous Victorian melodrama with energy and aplomb, and produces a richly entertaining portrait of the seamy side of 19th century society”

Daily Mail

“Madame Rachel's story, which has been superbly researched by Rappaport, is intriguing in itself [and] sheds a fascinating light on the ladies of Victorian society”

Daily Telegraph

“Beautiful For Ever is one of those un-put-downable surprises that makes reading worthwhile… This book has the same mix of forensic investigation and light touch that makes Kate Summerscale’s books so interesting”

Big Issue

“Speaks volumes about vanity and Victorian attitudes to women”

Sophie Morris, Independent

“[Beautiful For Ever] is, blissfully, proof that there is still simply nothing quite like a good Victorian scandal. Rappaport excels again in this thoroughly researched account of Madame Rachel...this is a well-paced read that tells us something about the modern obsession with appearance while remaining deliciously Victorian at its core”

Waterstone's Books Quarterly

“Rappaport’s book takes us behind the façade of fashionable Bond Street to glimpse the seamy side of Victorian respectability”

David Bradbury, Daily Mail

“A wickedly dramatic read”

Charlotte Vowden, Daily Express


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