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The Dressmaker

3.46  ·  Rating details ·  26,226 ratings  ·  3,577 reviews

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

Published February 21st 2012 by Random House Audio
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Apr 01, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I am disappointed in this book. Despite the inherently dramatic and heart-rending disaster at the heart of the story, Alcott created a story lacking in emotion.

Maybe I've been watching too much Downtown Abbey, but Tess didn't ring true at all. This young woman was raised in England and had been in service for at least a year; she should have been well aware of the expected behaviors and privileges associated with the different classes. Alcott could have created a character who was rebelling
Find the enhanced version of this and other reviews at: http://flashlightcommentary.blogspot....

I have started to review Kate Alcott's The Dressmaker a hundred times and a hundred times I've thrown up my hands in frustration. Focusing on content alone makes it impossible to understand where I am coming from, but examining my experience with the book also leaves quite a bit out. Apologies, but this might be a little long winded.

It seems like a lifetime ago, but like so many I went through a
Dorie  - Cats&Books :)
This book was a different take on the Titanic sinking. Told from the viewpoint of a young woman who wanted desperately to leave England. She was working as a cleaning lady but was very skilled in dressmaking. She arrives at the departure gate just as Lady Duff Gordon, a world renounced dressmaker, just gets the news that her assistant will not be coming with her. After a brief discussion Tess is hired as a maid.

While on board Tess catches the eye of two very different men, a rich handsome self
Set in 1912, The Dressmaker tells the story of Tess Collins, an aspiring dressmaker, who manages to find a job working for the world renowned dress designer Lady Lucile Duff-Gordon as a maid while she and her husband travel to America on board the Titanic. On board the ship, Tess meets two men, one an older but handsome Millionaire and the other an attractive, kind and good-hearted sailor and develops feelings for both of them. This is a tale about the aftermath of the disaster and about Tess, ...more
Look at this cover!!!! It's gorgeous right?
I was really expecting a romantic, titanic tale with some rich designer or something. This was pretty good, but it wasn't that....

In a nutshell this is a fictional story trying to answer why did only one life-boat go back to rescue overboard passengers from the titanic. Alcott really focuses in on one boat in particular- Lifeboat #1, the Duff-Gordon's boat.
I am warning you I think I am about to go on a "Kristy Ramble".

This book was very informative,
Alisa Kester
Mar 27, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This should have been a slam-dunk for me, since I *am* a dressmaker and a hard-core Titanic enthusiast. But no.

Flat, unlikable characters (the more I was obviously supposed to like them, the less I did) and the most boring retelling of an incredible story I've ever read. Couldn't even get through it all; by the middle I was just skimming. This book suffers from the worst sort of historical writing error - that of giving everyone a 'modern' sensibility. Plus, I hated how the author tried to
I really liked this book even with the romance storyline; it made me want to do research on what happened after the sinking of the Titanic and to learn more about the survivors, which to me is what makes a good historical fiction book. We all know the story of the sinking of the Titanic but I for one knew almost nothing about the aftermath, the scandal of what happened on the lifeboats, and the senate hearings.

This book is about more than just the aftermath of the Titanic but that is the
The basic plot outline: Tess Collins chafes at the life as a servant, and wants to realize her true skills as a seamstress, and whilst looking for opportunities at the dock she catches the attention of Lucile Duff Gordon. Lady Lucy is minus a maid at the last minute, Tess gets the gig and before you know it servant Tess is out of steerage and walking the main decks of the Titanic, literally *bumping* into folks left and right (including the very wealthy and still married Jack Bremerton).

I think
Clare Cannon
May 03, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Adults & Young Adults (females)
Shelves: young-adult, adults
Here is a sweet historical romance, and though it is light on realism and tends towards idyllic fiction, several slightly deeper themes make the sweetness more satisfying. It offers a refreshing middle-path between new fiction which leans towards the sadder extremes of human experience and that which artificially sweetens it for pure escapism. In this respect it reminded me of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, though that comparison shouldn't be taken too far.

The plot, which
Mar 09, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Where I got the book: audiobook from my local library.

I read this book because I got into a discussion with Misfit about the likelihood of heroine Tess having a close relationship with the employer to whom she was supposed to be a maid. And then it's about the Titanic, and we really need more novels about the Titanic. No, seriously, it hasn't been mined out.

So, the plot: Tess is desperate to get away from life as a maid and fulfill her destiny as a seamstress. Fortunately she miraculously bumps
A dressmaker myself, I was intrigued when I saw this book and bought it without reading any reviews. It starts off like your typical sappy romance novel--plucky, beautiful (of course), lower-class heroine gets implausibly lucky, starts a new life, meets hunky rich (of course) men who instantly adore her, etc--then tries to aim higher, with themes of guilt and responsibility and class conflict. I'll give the author credit for trying, even though the novel is not really successful in exploring ...more
May 07, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People with an interest in Titanic; people who enjoy light historical fiction.
I've been a Titanic nut since I was nine or ten. Initially I just jumped on the James Cameron's Titanic bandwagon, but soon it turned into something more. Sixteen years later, I have a fascination with the catastrophe. So I was very, very excited when I found this on my library's Fortunate Finds shelf circa the 100th anniversary of the sinking.

The novel begins in Cherbourg, when Tess is picked up by Lady Duff Gordon and given passage on the Titanic. Tess is a maid with the ultimate goal of
Mar 19, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I really wanted more from this book than I got.

The Dressmaker is set around the sinking of the Titanic. The characters are based on actual people that were involved and rode on the destined ship. I am always eager to read novels set in this time period and also including details from this tragic incident. The premise for this book follows Tess, who gets onboard the Titanic after getting a job offer as a maid for Lady Duff Gordon, a famous dressmaker.

Most of the book follows the aftermath of the
Book Sp(l)ot
We all know of the Titanic, the Unsinkable Ship that struck and iceberg and sank on April 15, 1912. The ship, touted as the greatest ship ever built has had numerous novels written about it - and the eponymous film we've seen so many times made about it. What most of us don't know is what after the sinking of the RMS Titanic. That's where The Dressmaker comes in.

Tess Collins' is looking for a way to escaping working for the family that employs her when she runs to the docks the day the Titanic
Lisa Kay
Controversial picture of Lord & Lady Duff-Gordon, her secretary, and the other members of Lifeboat 1.
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★★★☆☆ (This is a review of the audiobook.) Sorry, this one was just okay for me. Susan Duerden does a nice job, but not outstanding. Her best sessions were when she was narrating the Titanic aftermath hearing. I didnt think she did the right accent for Tess, the heroine. Ive heard her reading before and liked her; nonetheless, this time didn't wow me. Of course, it didnt help
Jun 08, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I can't help it. I just keep thinking "Where are Jack & Rose?" Tess ends up in Molly Brown's lifeboat...of course. Am I the only one that feels like her lifeboat should be voted "most referenced Titanic lifeboat" in historical Titanic fiction? Tess even pulls 2 lifeless bodies from the sea into the infamous "never full" lifeboat. I have a feeling I would be enjoying this story a lot more if she had managed to rescue Jack & Rose from the frigid cold sea in Molly Brown's lifeboat. I would ...more
This book wasn't anywhere near as good as I had hoped it would be.

I was quite excited to read a story about the Titanic. I have long been fascinated by this part of history and had recently visited a Titanic museum, which awakened my curiosity and made this book seem all the more interesting!

The story started out pretty good, I thought, and I did enjoy it at first (even though parts of it were wholly unbelievable). The sinking of the ship made me cry, even though I didn't think it would because
Oct 21, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
When Tess Collins walked away from a thankless housemaid job in 1912....and simultaneously found employment as a maid on the soon-to-be sailing Titanic ocean liner...little did she know that History would become a major part of her life

Given that the hearings, post "sinking", are a major part of this story, the actual trials are secondary to the social aspects....even the newly minted Suffragette Movement is given a back seat to the development of Tess' story, and character (such
Maureen Timerman
Nov 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011-read
It's now almost 100 years since the Unsinkable Titanic sunk. This book is based on some true rather sad facts of what happened on this doomed cruise.
The story opens with Tess Collins escaping her job, supposed to be a seamstress, but is a more of a general maid. She knows a ship is sailing and hopes to secure any kind of a position to get on and get away from England. There her fateful adventure is about to begin. It's an eye opening world for her as she goes about in First Class on the ship,
Feb 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club
Kate Alcott has hands down written a very good story.

Having the story surrounded by the beautiful Titanic, and a wonderful mix of characters that were actually apart of history made this read even more of a pleasure. From their first steps onto the ship of dreams to the devastating sinking into the black waters; I could vividly see all perspectives: from a poor maid wanting more in life and a dream in a world of fashion, a gifted wood carver, a famously rude and selfish designer, and two
I eagerly anticipated the release of this book and was excited to find it offered on the Vine. I love the cover art and the graphic heading at the beginning of each chapter adds a nice touch to the aesthetic appeal of the book. The basis of the story is compelling and historically accurate, which gives it further interest.

Tess Collins, an aspiring seamstress, has landed a job working for the world renown designer Lucille Duff Gordon, just as Lady Gordon is boarding the Titanic. Once on board
I read this while I was on a cruise--of course, a cruise to the Bahamas looking at warm blue water is quite different than a transatlantic crossing in April. Our balcony overlooked the lifeboats while looked like little submarines, all closed up and snug. Quite a difference from the "collapsible" lifeboats on the Titanic, as well as having enough seats and a mandatory muster drill before the cruise began.

As other readers, I didn't really care about the romantic part or even the characters as
BookHound 🐾
I absolutely loved this novel. At first, I thought it was going to be a sappy, sentimental kind of story. But it turned out to be a fascinating read. There were enough plot twists to make it interesting, and a variety of different characters helped to propel the story.
This book was so good that I wish a movie could be made based on it! It was THAT good!
Lynne Young
May 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I had assumed it was a book about a dressmaker travelling on the Titanic. While that was true it was not the complete focus of this book.Tess Collins, an aspiring fashion designer, finds herself unexpectedly travelling on the Titanic as a maid to Lady Lucile Duff Gordon. While able to enjoy the perks of first class Tess meets 2 gentlemen who will play a major part in her life, both on and off the ship.

Much of the book is written after the sinking and the
Mar 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

The Dressmaker by Kate Alcott shines a whole new lighkt on the sinking of the Titanic. Kate Alcott writes about some of the real people who were aboard the Titanic, bringing together fact and fiction.

This is another book that I picked up after visiting the Titanic museum in Pidgeon Forge. My mom and I read this book at the same time and she actually finished it first, which is really saying something for me. This book went slow for me, I didn't feel
Oct 11, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The tragedy of the Titanic sinking is a moneymaker. Films, documentaries, books-there's a plethora of material out there. Kate Alcott says, in the afterword, that what drove her to add to this collection was the question, "Why did only one boat go back?" It's an interesting question, really an interesting look into mankind and its will to survive, even at the sacrifice of others. Had the book done this, had it really looked and evaluated everything, I would have loved it. Unfortunately, it falls ...more
Aug 06, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For a Historical Fiction, I thought the story was pretty good. I liked the characters and who knows, it COULD HAVE really happened to the main characters involved. I liked the ending, but will not give it away. It keeps you guessing, right up until the end. It was very easy to read and moved right along without a lot of boring detail. There were a couple of points I think could have been cleared up between the sisters.

About the author's note regarding the last surviving member of the Titanic
The Lit Bitch
Though I enjoyed the book and could scarcely put it down all weekend.I felt like there were somethings wanting in the book itself--I think I expected it to be longer and more dramatic considering the historic backdrop....but that said I loved the historic content and period setting. The Titanic marked the ending of an era for a lot of people...and for me, the glitz and glamour of the Victorian/Edwardian era saved the book for me. It was a good, quick read, but lacked the depth I was looking for. ...more
Kris - My Novelesque Life
(Review Not on Blog)

I was excited to read to this one, but after a few chapters I was really forcing myself to read this one. Had this book not been for a group read, I may have given up reading it. It was an interesting subject matter, but the writing style didn't suck me in. I also didn't find the characters engaging. I wasn't invested in any of them to see how it ended. I kept reading more to participate in the group read.
Not only is this absolute junk, but the narration is horrible. The reader's cadence is the same for every single sentence. Every single sentence--whether describing the sinking of the Titanic, a woman's red parasol, or a compact full of face powder. It got so that I couldn't hear the words she was saying, I was just listening for some let-up in her tedious, repetitive delivery. I listened to this for 1 1/2 chapters. Then I quit. Schlock.
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Kate Alcott is the pseudonym for journalist Patricia OBrien, who has written several books, both fiction and nonfiction. As Kate Alcott, she is the author of The Dressmaker (a New York Times bestseller), The Daring Ladies of Lowell, and A Touch of Stardust. She lives in Washington, D.C. ...more

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