Monday, January 28, 2013

The Dressmaker by Kate Alcott

The Dressmaker 
I read this book quite a few months ago. In fact, I finished it just before going on a cruise this past summer. Maybe it's not such a great idea to read a book about the Titanic before embarking on a ship for the first time in one's life... Haha. Seriously, though, a lot of stuff was coming out last year about the Titanic because of the 100 year anniversary of its sinking and I saw this book displayed on a "new reading" shelf at the library. Have I told you that I love historical fiction? :) AND the two things that fascinate me the most are World War II and the Titanic. I know- kind of morbid in some ways, but I just can't get enough information about them! So I had to check it out, right?
The book is about a seamstress named Tess that wants to make a name for herself. After leaving her position as a maid, she is fortuitous in gaining employment with the world famous designer, Lady Lucile Duff Gordon, while simultaneously gaining passage onto the Titanic's maiden voyage. On board, she becomes intrigued with Jack, a self made millionaire from Chicago and Jim, a kind sailor, who is looking for the hope of a better life in America.
After the ship sinks, the survivors are brought to New York and are quickly brought to trial. Lady Duff Gordon is soon at the center of the trial as questions arise about the actions of some of the people that were able to make it into the lifeboats. Tess has a few decisions to make with who to believe and who to share her destiny with.
I liked the character development. Apparently, in real life, Lady Duff Gordon was NOT a fun person to work with. While the author portrays this in the book, she also lets us see some of her generosity as well. I liked how the author had background stories to the characters- it gave them some dimension. I mostly liked the book. The worst part (although it wasn't terrible) was the ending. It seemed a little vague... a little weak. Not one of those books that I LOVED, but a good read. I'd be willing to read more books by this author.

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