Beautiful For Ever
Madame Rachel of Bond Street
Date of publication: May 2012
Publisher: Random House
Madame Rachel had everything a Mayfair address, the title of ‘purveyor to Her Majesty the Queen’, and a catalogue of exotic creams and potions. Her clientele were aristocratic, rich, and most importantly, gullible. They came in their droves to her shop in New Bond Street, lured by the promise of eternal beauty, but what they found there was something far darker – a con-woman and fraudster who made a career out of lies, treachery, and the false hopes of her victims.
Beautiful for Ever is the true story of a woman who found both fame and infamy peddling products which claimed almost magical powers of ‘restoration and preservation’. From the mysterious origins of the woman known as Madame Rachel, through the teeming markets, filthy prisons and high society drawing rooms of Victorian London, it has all the elements of a thrillingly scandalous tale - blackmail, fraud, and high-profile trials; stolen names and false promises; love affairs, suicide and bankruptcy. And at the centre of it all, the domineering figure of Madame Rachel herself.
In its description of the growth of the Victorian cosmetics industry, the book presents fascinating parallels with the modern-day beauty business in this story of reinvention, transformation and the eternal quest of women to be Beautiful for Ever.