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The Dressmaker

A Novel

by Kate Alcott

The Dressmaker
  • Critics' Opinion:

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  • Published in USA  Feb 2012
    320 pages
    Genre: Historical Fiction

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There are currently 30 reader reviews for The Dressmaker
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Karen L. (westlake village, ca) (10/20/11)

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.
Carol N. (San Jose, CA) (10/20/11)

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.
Marge V. (Merriam, KS) (10/20/11)

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. :)
Power Reviewer Nikki M. (Fort Wayne, IN) (10/20/11)

Just so-so....
I wanted to like this, I really did! Fictional story based around the tragedy of the Titanic. However, this was a really "light" read, rather fluffy. Many scenes were unbelievable--too fairy-tale like. I guess I was looking for it to be a bit meatier. Rather disappointing...
Lesley F. (San Diego, CA) (10/16/11)

Made to Measure
Seamless historical fiction gathered around an unforgettable love story tucked into the hem of a real tragedy. What a compelling pleasure to read.
Christine S. (Highland, UT) (10/15/11)

Great Read!
The Dressmaker is a book that I could not put down. Took notes on inspiring quotes that I wanted to remember! Outstanding character development. Soon, it will be 100 years since the sinking of the Titanic and the suffrage movement. We have come a long way. Timely and an Excellent read!
Kat F. (Palatine, IL) (10/12/11)

I was surprised
I usually don't read historical fiction, so I think I may have checked the wrong book selection when trying to get a First Impression book. However, when I received the book, I felt a responsibility to read it and review. I am so glad I did.

I was pleasantly surprised by just how good this book actually is. It presented a solid and interesting view of the sinking of the Titanic, the terrible choices that passengers and crew alike must have had to make, and the personal as well as political spins put into play at the hearings. Although the author could have taken the path of "high drama" just for drama's sake, doing so would not have produced a book better than this one. Also interesting was how the author tied into the story other events going on at the time, that changed our country particularly as they related to women.

I couldn't put it down. I was left wondering what happened to the characters and wanting to know more about their subsequent lives -- always a sign of a really good book.
Sandra G. (Middleton, WI) (10/10/11)

Good for historical fiction fans
We are all familiar with the sinking of the Titanic. This novel takes us beyond the tragedy of April 14, 1912 to the Senate hearings that followed , and the effects these events had on the survivors. Lots of historical details are woven in, such as the inclusion of "the unsinkable Molly Brown." Another intertwining storyline follows two independent young women, one a survivor, trying to make their own way in the man's world of 1912.
Because of the writing style, I would consider this novel "light fiction", even though the subject matter is serious. I cannot rate it a 5 because it lacks the richness of language great novels have. Nonetheless, it is an enjoyable read.


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