The Dressmaker

By Kate Alcott
(Doubleday Books, Hardcover, 9780385535588, 320pp.)

Publication Date: February 21, 2012

List Price: $25.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.
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Selected by Indie Booksellers for the March 2012 Indie Next List
“A young housemaid quits her job and is chosen at the last minute to accompany a great fashion designer on the ill-fated voyage of the Titanic. They both survive the sinking, but the designer and her husband make questionable choices in their lifeboat, which are not well received in the public eye. The reader can't help but think, 'What would I have done in that situation?'”
-- Beth Carpenter, The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, NC


Description

Just in time for the centennial anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic comes 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.




Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com

CONVERSATION STARTERS

  1. The sinking of the Titanic in 1912 remains in many people’s eyes a symbolic dividing line between a world with rigid class divisions and one with a rising middle class. Tess yearned to be part of the glamour and Jim wanted to be free of its constraints. Can a happy medium be found between these two desires, not only for Tess and Jim, but for anyone in similar circumstances?

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