Ladyslott's Reviews > The Dressmaker

The Dressmaker by Kate Alcott
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's review
Jun 12, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: 2012, historical-fiction, play-book-tag, england, kindle, relationships, library, pick-a-year-challenge-2012, nyc
Read from June 11 to 12, 2012

There is a never-ending fascination with the 1912 sinking of the Titanic. The Dressmaker is one of the newest entries in the plethora of books about that fateful night.

Tess is a young maid who decides to leave her job as a servant in Cherbourg, France and try and get a job as a servant on the Titanic. Waiting until the day the ship is set to sail Tess is told it is too late to be hired. Through a series of coincidences she is hired by Lady Lucile Duff Gordon, one of the most well known dressmakers of the day, and gets passage on the ship.

This was a well-done mix of historical facts and people with fictional characters. Although the sinking of the Titanic is the catalyst for the story the main plot of the book involves the aftermath of the sinking and the investigation that followed, with a focus on Lady Duff Gordon and her husband. Did the Gordon’s bribe the lifeboat crew to leave with only a handful of passengers during the evacuation? Did they stop the crew from returning to help other passengers in distress? What really happened that infamous night? And what happened to Tess, one of those who survived?

I enjoyed this book. It was very easy to read and I was hooked into the storyline right from the start. The fictional characters were well done and I found myself liking them, disliking them, questioning their motives. Tess was one character that seems so strong at some points and so wishy-washy at other points that I would often get annoyed with her, wanting to reach through the book and shake her a little. The historical research seems pretty solid and a number of real people appear throughout. The rich vs. poor is a prevalent aspect of both the sinking of the ship and the hearings that occurred immediately following. There is also a love triangle involving Tess that stretched believability more than once.

I wouldn’t call it a great book, but it was enjoyable and held my interest. I couldn’t put the book down and read it in about 2 days. In addition I spent a considerable amount of time Googling the trial and Lady Duff Gordon – who by the way designed some absolutely gorgeous dresses. It’s always a good sign when a book gets me to do a little more research. Overall this was a good book to read during these lazy, hazy days of summer.


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Paula I enjoyed this one also.

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