Thursday, February 23, 2012

Review: The Dressmaker by Kate Alcott



Publisher: Doubleday
Pages: 320
Source: Publisher
Rating 4/5



Tess, is an inspiring designer and seamstress but her life consists of laboring as a servant and she doesn't receive the recognition she deserves for her talent. The Titanic is about to undock and Tess decides that it is now to never. She packs a small bag, determined to find a way onto the glorious ship. When Tess meets world renown designer Lady Duff Gordon, she begs to be hired as her maid for the voyage. Lady Duff Gordon is a little taken aback, but decides to have a little faith in Tess and give her an opportunity. Tess is introduced to a new world, and within a few days she and Lady Duff Gordon bond. The excitement of the voyage is cut short; when the Titanic strikes an iceberg and passengers scramble to abandon ship. Panic and chaos ensues, those who survive have no idea that they’re about to be scrutinized for the disorganization, incompetence, and negligence that took place. Following the sinking, a congressional inquiry begins to examine the causes of the tragedy and the accountability of the crew and passengers. Many of the “first class” passengers are scandalized by reports for their cowardice, and special treatment. The Dressmaker is a book about surviving and at what cost.

I really enjoyed this one, it was an original and entertaining read. The sinking of the ship occurs early on in the book, and the aftermath is the focus of the novel. The survivors are put under a microscope, and judged on their actions during a tragedy. Lady Duff Gordon’s actions are uncovered and her career is in jeopardy. Tess thought Lady Duff Gordon could do no wrong, but once her secrets unfold Tess begins to question the woman she openly defended. The relationship between Tess and Lady Duff Gordon quickly becomes strained.

The Dressmaker is a tale of bravery, cowardice and privilege. Split second decisions can have life-long consequences. While the bulk of the book deals with the aftermath of the Titanic, we are still introduced to other situations. Tess has a romantic interest approach her, but she’s still pining for a man who might not have survived the sinking. Lady Duff Gordon wants the press to leave her alone, when she gives too much information about another survivor, she doesn’t realize the impact this will have.

I really thought Kate Alcott took a great approach to this familiar story. She created an original, fresh perspective that really captured my attention. After finishing the book, I started researching some of these characters and my journey really kept going after I closed the pages. If you’re curious about the aftermath, I would really recommend this book.







15 comments:

  1. Great review. This one is on my wish list so I'm glad you enjoyed it.

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  2. I don't read a lot of historical fiction, but this one sounds interesting.

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  3. I was wondering about this one. After reading your review I think I'll like it!

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  4. Interesting - I had no idea this one included the story of the Titanic. I may have to read this one! :--)

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  5. I had no idea this had anything to do with Titanic lol. Should have read synopsis earlier... Sounds good!

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  6. I have not read much fiction about the sinking of the Titanic, but this one sounds really interesting and multifaceted. I am glad to hear that you enjoyed it, and might consider reading it for myself as well. Your review was wonderfully rich and well considered, so I thank you!

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  7. I think I saw this one on NetGalley and have been thinking about picking it up. Thanks for the review, sounds like it is a good story.

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  8. Oh wow, I never thought about this perspective. Very interesting.. I'll keep this in mind!

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  9. This sounds like such a fascinating story! I like that the focus isn't on the sinking specifically, but rather what came after. I'm not sure I've read many books that deal with that and I think I would really enjoy this one. Awesome review Jennifer!

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  10. I was sirprised when I read the book that there were accusations of cowardice and privilege on the boat. It was very interesting, and I think there are books about the real people involved in the scandal.

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  11. It's always cool to get a different take and perspective of a real tragedy or historical occurrence. I'm liking that the author took a different view on this. The books sounds really interesting and I'm wondering how it all plays out. I'm especially curious to see if her love survived the sinking.

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  12. Ohhh WOW, this book sounds SO GOOD! Every single time I hear more about the Titanic, it makes me love it even more -- and this is no exception! :) I never really thought of it this side of the story before. There aren't many novels that focus on events happening after the huge ship sinks (most take place during or before the actual sinking!), so I just love the idea of this one!

    Thanks so much for the awesome review, Mrs. Q! :)

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  13. I've been wanting to read this one. I keep wanting to hear more about and reading that you enjoyed it only makes me want to pick it up more.

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  14. I have the netgalley; think it's time to move it up on the list

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