The Dressmaker by Kate Alcott
Just in time for the centennial anniversary of the sinking of the Titaniccomes a vivid, romantic, and relentlessly compelling historical novel about a spirited young woman who survives the disaster only to find herself embroiled in the media frenzy left in the wake of the tragedy.
Tess, an aspiring seamstress, thinks she's had an incredibly lucky break when she is hired by famous designer Lady Lucile Duff Gordon to be a personal maid on the Titanic's doomed voyage. Once on board, Tess catches the eye of two men, one a roughly-hewn but kind sailor and the other an enigmatic Chicago millionaire. But on the fourth night, disaster strikes.
Amidst the chaos and desperate urging of two very different suitors, Tess is one of the last people allowed on a lifeboat. Tess’s sailor also manages to survive unharmed, witness to Lady Duff Gordon’s questionable actions during the tragedy. Others—including the gallant Midwestern tycoon—are not so lucky.
On dry land, rumors about the survivors begin to circulate, and Lady Duff Gordon quickly becomes the subject of media scorn and later, the hearings on the Titanic. Set against a historical tragedy but told from a completely fresh angle, The Dressmaker is an atmospheric delight filled with all the period's glitz and glamour, all the raw feelings of a national tragedy and all the contradictory emotions of young love.
I was quite disappointed with this book. The biggest event, the sinking of the Titanic was slow and just plain boring. Considering it was the only action sequence in the book, you would think it would have been interesting.
I really wanted to enjoy this book, but it just didn't happen for me. I didn't feel any emotion that should have been there after the characters had endured a traumatic experience. Throughout most of the novel the characters didn't even sound like they were in the 1910's, but conversed as one would in modern times. Overall, the book was just drawn out and the characters felt flat.