Saturday, 11 December 2010

TNA Podcast: Madame Rachel of Bond Street

Since at least the time of Helen of Troy, whose face launched a thousand ships, many women have been obsessed with beauty. Charlatans of all kinds, and genders, have been happy to pander to their obsession.

Author Helen Rappaport, in a fascinating TNA presentation recorded last October, discusses one of the most extreme operators, the subject of her newest book, Beautiful For Ever.  Starting life as Sally Russell, a fish-fryer from London's Clare Market, she became Madame Rachel, proprietor of an exclusive beauty salon dispensing creams and potions promising eternal beauty. Her lies, treachery and blackmail of London high society landed her in jail (or gaol), twice, where she died in 1880.

The presentation throws the spotlight on an aspect of life in Victorian times which many of us will not have thought much about.

Rappaport comments on how much easier it was to do the research behind this book with the array of online genealogical and newspaper resources that exist not compared to when she first researched her family history.

Her book, Beautiful For Ever, does not yet appear to be for sale or in public libraries in Canada. No eBook version could be found.

1 comment:

Persephone said...

Helen Rappaport's The Last Days of the Romanovs: Tragedy at Ekaterinburg is available at the public library and is well worth the read for those who have an interest in the Russian Revolution. I liked Rappaport's style and organization, and she appears to do her research. I'll look forward to hearing this talk and reading this latest book when and if it becomes available in Canada.