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The Dressmaker: A Novel | [Kate Alcott]

The Dressmaker: A Novel

Tess, an aspiring seamstress, thinks she's had an incredibly lucky break when she is hired by famous designer Lady Lucile Duff Gordon to be a personal maid on the Titanic's doomed voyage. Once on board, Tess catches the eye of two men, one a roughly-hewn but kind sailor and the other an enigmatic Chicago millionaire. But on the fourth night, disaster strikes. Amidst the chaos and desperate urging of two very different suitors, Tess is one of the last people allowed on a lifeboat. Tess’s sailor also manages to survive unharmed, witness to Lady Duff Gordon’s questionable actions during the tragedy.
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Publisher's Summary

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 by famous designer Lady Lucile Duff Gordon to be a personal maid on the Titanic's doomed voyage. Once on board, Tess catches the eye of two men, one a roughly-hewn but kind sailor and the other an enigmatic Chicago millionaire. But on the fourth night, disaster strikes.

Amidst the chaos and desperate urging of two very different suitors, Tess is one of the last people allowed on a lifeboat. Tess’s sailor also manages to survive unharmed, witness to Lady Duff Gordon’s questionable actions during the tragedy. Others - including the gallant Midwestern tycoon - are not so lucky.

On dry land, rumors about the survivors begin to circulate, and Lady Duff Gordon quickly becomes the subject of media scorn and later, the hearings on the Titanic. Set against a historical tragedy but told from a completely fresh angle, The Dressmaker is an atmospheric delight filled with all the period's glitz and glamour, all the raw feelings of a national tragedy and all the contradictory emotions of young love.

From the Hardcover edition

©2012 Kate Alcott (P)2012 Random House Audio

What the Critics Say

“We all know how the Titanic went down, we all saw the movie. But what happened after? This brilliant book shows the aftermath of the tragedy, seen through the eyes of a brave, young girl who was on board, on her way to America, to start a new life as a dressmaker. From the minute Tess sets foot on the doomed ship, this is the kind of novel you simply cannot put down and cannot forget.” (Tatiana de Rosnay, author of Sarah's Key and A Secret Kept)

"This is a fascinating premise for a novel as well as a powerful, page-turning read. It's also a very valuable contribution to our understanding of the events surrounding the sinking of The Titanic, and its aftermath." (Isabel Wolff, author of A Vintage Affair)

"It's Titanic revisited, in a romance focused on the survivors and the scandal, seen from the perspective of an aspiring seamstress whose fortunes intertwine with real characters from the epic tragedy....interesting historical facts...an appealing, soulful freshness to this shrewdly commercial offering" (Kirkus)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.7 (227 )
5 star
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3.7 (197 )
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3.6 (195 )
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2 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Victoria United States 02-24-12
    Victoria United States 02-24-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Good story, awful narrator"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    The narrator's intonation and way of reading is very distracting. I could not get past the first 15 minutes. I tried, I wanted to get immersed into the story, which is very good, but found Duerden's delivery frustrating.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Susan Duerden’s performances?

    Absolutely not. I will avoid wasting a credit on a book read by her.


    21 of 21 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Maria OSCODA, MI, United States 02-26-12
    Maria OSCODA, MI, United States 02-26-12 Member Since 2007
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    "Probably a good story, but couldn't finish it..."

    I love novels like this and it started out to be a good story, however I just couldn't get past the narrator. I gave it a half-hour hoping she would get better, but sadly that wasn't the case. Not only did she whisper most of what she read, but her tone had an odd, repetitive cadence to it. It was entirely too distracting. I moved onto something else... a waste of a precious credit!

    19 of 20 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan Mississauga, Ontario, Canada 03-19-12
    Susan Mississauga, Ontario, Canada 03-19-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Ok story with annoying narration"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    I will never try another book where Susan Duerden is narrating, it was so awful at times I had to fast forward or turn it off all together because I couldn't take it anymore. Voice for the main character drove me crazy with her sounding breathless for simple statemenets - ridiculous!!


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    Predictable


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Susan Duerden?

    Anyone


    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    03-27-12
    03-27-12 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Too annoying to finish"
    Would you listen to The Dressmaker again? Why?

    The story of this book is interesting but the narration is so annoying I will not be able to finish it.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    She has only one inflection for any text other than dialog. I find myself hoping for her to change instead of listening to the story.


    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Barbara Oak Park, IL, United States 03-25-12
    Barbara Oak Park, IL, United States 03-25-12 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Don't download this book!"
    What would have made The Dressmaker better?

    The narrator was awful, and the story was predictable and sophomoric!


    Would you ever listen to anything by Kate Alcott again?

    Probably not.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Susan Duerden’s performances?

    Never!


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Frustration due to the potential of the concept that was undelivered.


    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kerrie Kirrawee, Australia 02-29-12
    Kerrie Kirrawee, Australia 02-29-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Factual events woven into a good story"

    I've always been fascinated by the story of the Titanic and in this year of the 100th anniversary of the disaster, I've listened to three books in a row on the subject. The story of Tess, the fictional young seamstress, whose life became entwined with the infamous Duff-Gordons brings the trauma of the aftrermath vividly to life. I'd recommend this book to all who have an interest in this subject ..... or those who just like a good "read".

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jessie Martin 07-17-12 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "New twist"
    Would you listen to The Dressmaker again? Why?

    The Dressmaker was a new and interesting variation on the Titanic story. Well told- it COULD have happened - and maybe it actually did. This would make an interesting movie!


    Which scene was your favorite?

    When she told off Madame right before the 'big show'.


    If you could rename The Dressmaker, what would you call it?

    I would not re-name it


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carol BALDWIN, WI, United States 06-26-12
    Carol BALDWIN, WI, United States 06-26-12 Member Since 2009

    CarolMcK

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    "Historical novel, divine."
    Where does The Dressmaker rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    The book goes to the top of the ratings.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Dressmaker?

    Tess making her decision not to work for Lady Lucile.


    Which character – as performed by Susan Duerden – was your favorite?

    Tess.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Many.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer North Easton, MA, United States 05-31-12
    Jennifer North Easton, MA, United States 05-31-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Loved it! A new view of the historic tale."
    What made the experience of listening to The Dressmaker the most enjoyable?

    What a great way to look at a story we have all heard so much about over the years. I loved this book and found the characters to be very engaging.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    deborah Crestview Hills, KY, United States 05-27-12
    deborah Crestview Hills, KY, United States 05-27-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Titanic"
    Would you listen to The Dressmaker again? Why?

    Yes. Many historical notes, and I found it soothing.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Dressmaker?

    During the Senate hearings, Tess was marvelously firm in her values!


    Which character – as performed by Susan Duerden – was your favorite?

    N/A


    If you could take any character from The Dressmaker out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    Eleanor - her sense of loyalty and caring would provide a depth in conversation.


    Any additional comments?

    A marvelous storyin all aspects!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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