The Dressmaker: A Novel by Kate Alcott
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
When Tess Collins walked away from a thankless housemaid job in Cherbourg...in 1912....and simultaneously found employment as a maid on the soon-to-be sailing Titanic ocean liner...little did she know that History would become a major part of her life
Given that the hearings, post "sinking", are a major part of this story, the actual trials are secondary to the social aspects....even the newly minted Suffragette Movement is given a back seat to the development of Tess' story, and character (such as it is)
Torn between two "lovers", neither of whose characters are particularly memorable...apprenticed to the wealthy, capricious and egocentric Lady Duff Gordon...couturiere to other wealthy people.....befriended by the sprited journalist, Pinky.....our Tess is on the way to becoming an American Girl...full of hopes, dreams, and ambition, never allowing opportunism to become a "fault"
Of all the characters in the book (and there are many..some who actually existed, like the Unsinkable Molly Brown ....entrepreneur extraordinaire) Pinky rang truest for me...because she had definite goals and aspirations..and opinions to which she gave some thought
Most of the story is window dressing for Tess, the budding Designer, the Dressmaker of the title...and her journey in the New World. I thought it was a pleasant read..the Romance angle was not overwrought, but neither was it all that romantic...the political aspects were toned down to "entertainment" scale...and Tess' relationship to Lady Duff Gordon reminded me of a recent novel/movie along the same lines. Sad to say I have read/seen neither..This is, after all, a "woman's book"....by it's nature it can't afford to be too "deep"
Which is not to say I didn't enjoy the story. I just wish it had had more meat on its bones and less description of the trappings of wealth and luxury, which in the end meant very little as the Titanic slowly sank into those ice cold waters
*****This was a Net Galley*****