April 11, 2013

Review: The Dressmaker by: Kate Alcott

The Dressmaker by: Kate Alcott (2012)
Publisher: Anchor Books, Random House
365 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Purchase: Barnes and Noble | The Book Depository
Goodreads Summary: 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 her personal maid on the Titanic. Once on board, Tess catches the eye of two men—a kind sailor and an enigmatic Chicago businessman—who offer differing views of what lies ahead for her in America. But on the fourth night, disaster strikes, and amidst the chaos, Tess is one of the last people allowed on a lifeboat.

The survivors are rescued and taken to New York, but when rumors begin to circulate about the choices they made, Tess is forced to confront a serious question.  Did Lady Duff Gordon save herself at the expense of others? Torn between loyalty to Lucile and her growing suspicion that the media’s charges might be true, Tess must decide whether to stay quiet and keep her fiery mentor’s good will or face what might be true and forever change her future.

My Review

I’m going to be upfront and honest with you. I had mixed feelings while reading this book. A lot of the aspects I loved about it I also didn't like about it, if that makes any sense, thus making it hard to review The Dressmaker. So hold on to your life jackets, I’m going to do my best.

I have been a huge fan of anything to do with the Titanic since that wonderful Leonardo DiCaprio movie came out forever ago. So when I saw this book on goodreads I had to read it. Although it wasn't what I was expecting, it turned out to be a pretty good enjoyable read.

The whole novel seemed to move at lightning speed. Although this kept me on my toes and kept me very interested, it was also slightly a letdown. The amount of time spent describing the sinking of the Titanic and the overall time surrounding this epic event was in no way long enough. The plot of this Titanic story mostly revolves around the hearings after the tragedy, and the need to answer the question “Why did only one boat go back to rescue the people in the water?” Therefore, I can understand why not a lot of time was spent on the actual sinking of the ship, but I wanted more. I enjoyed reading about the hearings and I enjoyed getting to see how some people were coping after the tragedy, it gave it a slightly different spin on the event than the books I normally get a hold of that surround the story of the Titanic do. But I still wanted more time with the actual sinking. I don't know why but I just did. That's all I can say about that.

The characters were very likable to me which is a big plus. The main character, Tess, was great, a young woman trying to find her place in the world, to get out of being a maid to become something more. The Lady Duff Gordon was also a pretty good character, complex and selfish, yet somehow likable  The Unsinkable Molly Brown makes a fun appearance and I felt like Alcott did a good job at portraying her. Also, Pinky, a female journalist covering the tragedy, was frustrating but awesome and strong. Her character also brought up some interesting and important women's rights issues/movements. It was fun to get the view point of a journalist dealing with the Titanic tragedy. It made the story more unique.

The romance part of the story was somewhat annoying. Although I love a good romance added to any story, this one was slightly lacking. I felt like not enough time was spent focusing on it so it was almost pointless. I would have liked to see a little more done with the love triangle between Tess, the sailor, and the rich gentleman.

I will say that this book kept me intrigued from beginning to end. It became more and more interesting with each page. There was a good amount of mystery, and this aspect of The Dressmaker was my favorite. I too wanted to know why there were so few people in a certain lifeboat when it could have held a lot more.
The ending was perfect, and I don’t say that a lot. It just seemed to be just right in every way. That right there brought my rating of The Dressmaker up a notch. It brought just the right amount of closure and hope.

I could probably keep writing this review for ages, but I think you get the drift. It's already starting to get long. So here are my ending/overall  thoughts...

Although I had my issues with this book it was still a really good read. I say take a chance on it if you have the time. It doesn't take long to read and although the fast pace of the novel is a little disappointing, it will keep you pulled in along with the air of mystery this book holds.

** I received The Dressmaker from goodreads' first reads program. Thank you goodreads and Random House. This in no way hindered my honest review.
RATING 3.5/5


  1. I have been curious about this novel. Thanks for your review!

    1. You are very welcome. Thanks for reading!

  2. I'm not so sure I'd be into a book about the Titanic, though I did love the movie...I even saw it twice in the theaters when it came out...it was such a THING back then!

    1. Don't worry, I saw it twice in theaters too, and I may have seen it when it came out in 3D not too long ago. ;)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Copyright © 2015 It's a Book Life All Rights Reserved · All Logos & Trademark Belongs To Their Respective Owners | Template by These Paper Hearts
Back to Top