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.