Monday, July 28, 2014

Jackie by Josie

Finished Jackie by Josie by Caroline Preston. I love Preston's books. I finished this several months ago, but have fallen way behind in my blogging. Looking at my Shelfari tags for the book, I used: funny, small town, and New England. The book addresses academia, grad school, long distance relationships, parenting and alcoholism. It's a fun, intricate read.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Dressmaker

Finished The Dressmaker by Kate Alcott. The novel imagines the experiences and fates of people who survived the sinking of The Titanic. The main character, Tess, is a gifted seamstress stuck in household service. She dreams of going to America and trying her luck at dressmaking there. She quits her job and heads to the docks where a new luxury liner is preparing to leave. Ready to embark is Lady Lucile Duff Gordon, who is dismayed to learn that her personal maid has not shown up for the voyage.

Tess overhears this predicament and offers her services as maid. Lucy Duff Gordon accepts her on trial and the voyage begins. Lucky for Tess, Lucy just happens to be the designer know as Lucille. She is on her way to New York to show her new spring collection. Tess wastes no time in letting Lucy know of her dressmaking skills. The two begin an employer/employee relationship that tests their loyalties and personal integrity numerous times.

This was an interesting book. I knew very little about the sinking if The Titanic. The story examines the facts and the aftermath of the event while imagining their impact on those who experienced it. Lucy's sister, British novelist Elinor Glynn, makes several appearances in the novel.

A Hundred Summers

Finished A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams. This book examines the past and present of Lily Dane. Although set in the summer of 1938, much of the story is told in flashback. Lily's family is monied and imporant. She attends Smith College with her best friend Budgie. When the two travel up to Dartmouth to see Budgie's boyfriend play football, Lily is introduced to Nick Greenwald. The two fall for each other almost instantly. When Lily brings Nick home to meet her parents she misinterprets her father's objection to their relationship. Lily and Nick run off to elope, but are foiled in their plans.

Seven years later, Lily travels with her mother and much younger sister to Seaview, Rhode Island, the family's summer retreat. She and all of Seaview are stunned when the now married Budgie and Nick arrive to open and remodel Budgie's derelict family home. Secrets and misplaced loyalties weave in and out of this story. It all comes to an enormous climax when the deadly hurricane of 1938 barrels up the New England coast, acting as a deus ex machina. This was a good read, filled with palpable tension that built as the event of the hurricane got closer. I look forward to reading more of Williams' novels.