Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Dressmaker by Kate Alcott

genre: historical fiction

Tess knows that she is capable of so much more than what a servant is asked to do.  Not only does she hate being subservient, but she would so much rather sew than clean.  Give her a thread and a needle and she can create magic, she just needs a chance to prove herself.  When she finally gets the courage to change her stars, she ends up in designer Lady Lucile Duff Gordon's high-class world, a sphere so unfamiliar it's foreign.  It also happens to be the on the decks of the Titanic.  You see where this is going.

While this is absolutely Tess's story, it's also a Titanic story - its aftermath, all the ethical questions that arose from this absolute tragedy.  The waters are murky for Tess, it's so hard to know who to believe, especially when she feels so beholden to Lady Lucile for giving her a chance.  There is also a love triangle, with its predicable but pleasant-enough conclusion, as well as a glimpse at turn-of-the-century fashion.

This book was a lot of fun.  Very historical, vaguely political, a great look at a country on the brink of change of all kinds: higher skirts?  Women getting the vote?  The death of a poor person mattering as much as the death of a rich one?  I can't say that the writing blew me away, but the plot moved along swiftly and kept my attention. I wouldn't have minded a bit more of the romantic storyline, and occasionally some dialogue felt far too 2011 than 1912, but I can't lie, I enjoyed it.  Not five star material, but if you like historical fiction and shipwrecks and tough ethical questions, it won't disappoint. 

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bermudaonion said...

With the 100th anniversary of the Titanic looming, we're going to be inundated with Titanic books. This one sounds pretty good.

Anonymous said...

I am all about the Titanic right now, so I am excited to read this one!

Melissa Mc (Gerbera Daisy Diaries) said...

NOt sure I would have given this book a second thought...but think I will add it to Goodreads.

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