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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

Critic Reviews

“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)

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Predictable

Would you try another book from Kate Alcott and/or Susan Duerden?

No. It was like reading nearly everything from The Titanic. The storyline varied only slightly.

Has The Dressmaker turned you off from other books in this genre?

I was disappointed that the story did not offer more. It began with promise and gradually told of the same old story of a rags to riches fantasy. A young girl trying to escape a life of poverty by coming to America. Miraculously, she gets a job working for the most famous dresss designer in England, who also is traveling on the Titanic for a fashion show in New York. It's discovered that she has a unique gift as a dressmaker. On the ship, this young woman meets another working class traveler. By chance, she also meets a very wealthy man who expresses interest in her. Everything in this story predicts the outcome. No one in their right mind would have made the same choices.

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

She could have stopped stressing how naieve and innocent the dressmaker was and emphasized her strengths, more. Instead, I was given the impression that this was a woman too weak to be decisive about anything. She seemed to be walking around with blinders on. To elevate a maid to the position of the power she was given, with her own apatment, salary and wardrobe, within a year; was unbelievable. And to reconnect with the wealthy gentleman who wants to marry her and set her up in her own business, is, again, unbelieveable. But, the poor young man that she met on the Titanic, by CHANCE, meets up with a mentor who offers him a chance to have his artistic talents recognized, made me groan out loud. Everything about this book was so unreal. I thought it was more like a Hallmark 'true love story.'

Could you see The Dressmaker being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

It already has. Only a few characters have been changed. Otherwise, it could have been made into a movie titled, "Titanic,Part 2

1 of 2 people found this review helpful