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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

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 surviv…

The Dressmaker

by Kate Alcott

Overall Book Review:

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!

Content Analysis:

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.

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

An accountant and CPA by profession, I found myself a book reviewer for Squeaky Clean Reads by happenstance. When the opportunity came to transform that website into Compass Book Ratings, I was excited to seize it and meld my business background with my love of books. As the mother of three teenage sons, I have read a large number of children and young adult books and I believe that there is great value in a content review service. As much as we would love to read everything our children read, there just isn’t enough time. I also appreciate being able to select books for myself that are really worth my precious and limited reading time. I believe there is a book out there for everyone–they just have to find it!