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.

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