Just in time for the centennial anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic comes a vivid, romantic, and relentlessly compelling historical novel about a spirited young woman who survives the disaster only to find herself embroiled in the media frenzy left in the wake of the tragedy.
Tess, an aspiring seamstress, thinks she's had an incredibly lucky break when she is hired by famous designer Lady Lucile Duff Gordon to be a personal maid on the Titanic's doomed voyage. Once on board, Tess catches the eye of two men, one a roughly-hewn but kind sailor and the other an enigmatic Chicago millionaire. But on the fourth night, disaster strikes.
Amidst the chaos and desperate urging of two very different suitors, Tess is one of the last people allowed on a lifeboat. Tess’s sailor also manages to survive unharmed, witness to Lady Duff Gordon’s questionable actions during the tragedy. Others—including the gallant Midwestern tycoon—are not so lucky.
On dry land, rumors about the survivors begin to circulate, and Lady Duff Gordon quickly becomes the subject of media scorn and later, the hearings on the Titanic. Set against a historical tragedy but told from a completely fresh angle, The Dressmaker is an atmospheric delight filled with all the period's glitz and glamour, all the raw feelings of a national tragedy and all the contradictory emotions of young love.
The Dressmakerby Kate Alcott
There is more than meets the eye in Kate Alcott's The Dressmaker. Rather than merely being a historical romance, this book is really historical fiction with a romance as a subplot. Providing a fresh perspective on a well-known event, the focus is not the actual sinking of the Titanic, but rather the burden of being a survivor of an international tragedy and the ethical dilemmas and questions experienced by the survivors.
The book started ratherly stiffly and abruptly and required the reader to make a rather large "buy in" to an improbable catalytic event. However, starting with an outstanding description of the sinking of the Titantic, Alcott hits her stride and the book becomes a compelling, believable read. In addition to a romance, there are other subplots touching upon women's rights, starting a new life in America, suffrage, and personal identity. A "Devil-Wears-Prada" designer even develops into a fascinating, complex character. Well done, Ms. Alcott!
Profanity/Language: 25 religious exclamations; 20 mild obscenities; 3 derogatory names; 1 anatomical term.
Violence/Gore: Extended scene describing the sinking of the Titanic (no blood or gore, but some general descriptions of deaths); brief description of bodies floating in the water after the sinking of the ship; report of a suicide.
Sex/Nudity: Characters feel romantic attraction; general reference to unwanted groping; general reference to a brothel; characters kiss a few times; character hears "bedsprings squeaking"; character thinks that she does not want "sex in the dark" and fighting in the day; character caresses hair/face.
Mature Subject Matter:
Death, Behaviorial Ethics, Suicide, Socioeconomic conflict.
Alcohol / Drug Use:
Adults smoke and drink occasionally throughout the book.
Reviewed By Cindy