Rated of 5
by Brenda (Nebraska) Titanic Decisions
There are many decisions these survivors of the Titanic will make following the tragic event. In their daily lives and as a part of an official Senate investigation.
What is wrong with being a survivor? Some men sneaked into lifeboats, and some women stayed behind to die with their men. Survivors on the lifeboats rescued others to the point of overloading their boats, others refused help to others even when there was more than enough room.
This story is about forgiving, excusing and accepting.
The main character of this story, Tess Collins, will have to decide between a life handed to her by someone else who could at any time withdraw it, a life of hope and shared struggle with an equal, or an attempt to make it on her own.
Rated of 5
by Therese X. (CALERA, AL) 100 Year Old Disaster Viewed with Fresh Eyes
Young, talented Tess Collins learned the skill of the needle from her mother, but her father sends her out to work as a mere maid in a cold, uncaring English household. Defiantly determined to better her life as a professional dressmaker, she runs away after hearing that jobs are available on board a ship in port sailing soon for America. As she boards the "Titanic", her path crosses that of world-famous fashion designer, Lady Lucile Duff Cooper, who notices Tess and hires her as her maid, "on trial". This is the start of Tess's dream-come-true. Soon disaster strikes, and Tess barely makes it into the last lifeboat. Jim, a sailor,and one of Tess's other new on-board friends, escapes in the nearly empty lifeboat carrying the Duff Coopers who allegedly paid the rowers not to take on survivors from the water. Tess is unaware of this and sees only her life's dream of working for Lucile's huge fashion factory as an assistant. However, when the U. S. Senate forms an investigation into the reasons for the "Titanic" disaster, Lady Lucile comes under scrutiny and Tess must choose her loyalties carefully and according to her own mind and heart. Tess Collins is a marvelous heroine in a page-turning novel filled with real and vividly imagined characters and engrossing story lines. Reading the book, is more like watching a great historical film that's seen from a unique perspective. The author paints a great picture with words and readers can only hope that the feisty Tess will reappear in a sequel to The Dressmaker.
Rated of 5
by Amy H. (Benbrook, TX) Average Attempt at Entertainment
This book was average - on every level and in every aspect. My idea of a good book is this: I think about it when I'm not reading it, and I reflect on it for months (and sometimes years) after I've read it. I did neither of these. I found Tess very shallow - she seemed to fall very quickly for two men that she spent literally MINUTES with, and thoughts of these two men that she barely knew seemed to consume her like an immature schoolgirl with a senseless crush. While I did appreciate her independent streak with Lucille (whom I grew to abhor in record time), her rebellious attitude toward not wanting to be a "slave" to Lucille was undermined by her irrational fixation on men. It wore on my nerves that on one hand she was a women who knew what she wanted, but then she could never make a decision about men unless an event happened to make the decision for her. I have loved anything and everything Titanic since I was a teen, but this predictable novel was boring and a mediocre attempt at entertainment.
Rated of 5
by Karen L. (westlake village, ca) The Dressmaker
I really wanted to like this book but unfortunately found it predictable and flat. Literally on page 2, I knew where it was going. While the historical plot showed promise by including the post-disaster inquiries into the sinking of the Titanic, the rest of the story was disappointing. The requisite love triangle between a determined immigrant seamstress and two men she meets on the ship is boring and uneventful. While clearly she survives the sinking, the tragedy continues with the confusion and aftermath of such an life changing event. The book improves as it continues with human character studies based on real people involved with the Titanic hearings, but the story would have benefited from delving further into the themes of fear, power and ethical choices. Instead, it falls flat as it wraps up convienently in a "fairy-tale" like fashion.
Rated of 5
by Carol N. (San Jose, CA) GOOD READ
The Titanic’s 1912 sinking remains a legend steeped in tragedy and mysterious allure. So just in time for its 100-year anniversary along comes Kate Alcott’s, The Dressmaker, a very compelling historical novel about a young woman who survives the disaster only to find herself in the middle of a media driven government hearing. Having met two men while on board ship, a roughly-hewn, but kind young sailor and a rather enigmatic Chicago millionaire, this young aspiring seamstress gets an incredibly lucky break to be hired as a personal maid to the famous designer Lady Lucile Duff Gordon. But is it a lucky break. . . filled with the raw feelings of a national tragedy and the emotions of young love, this book was one terrific read.
Rated of 5
by Marge V. (Merriam, KS) The Dressmaker Doesn't Make It For Me
I wanted to but didn't enjoy this book. The title promises something it doesn't deliver. The book is a mix of history--the Titanic and the consequences of its sinking--and confusing, unrealistic, shallow relationships between characters. Did Sir Cosmo Duff Gordon and his wife, Lucile, prevent access to their lifeboat? How can Elinor Glyn (Lucile's sister) promise Tess Collins, the heroine of the story, assistance if she comes to Hollywood or an introduction to Coco Chanel. Pinky Wade, Jack Bremerton, Jim Bonney, and Prescott Wade... all one-dimensional characters. The only one who rises up from the page is, of course, Molly Brown, whose character is given more. :)
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