Rated Reads

The Dressmaker

by Kate Alcott

Rated: Mild

Tess knows that she is capable of so much more than what a servant is asked to do. Not only does she hate being subservient, but she would so much rather sew than clean. Give her a thread and a needle and she can create magic; she just needs a chance to prove herself. When she finally gets the courage to change her stars, she ends up in designer Lady Lucile Duff Gordon’s high-class world, a sphere so unfamiliar it’s foreign. It also happens to be the on the decks of the Titanic. You see where this is going.

While this is absolutely Tess’s story, it’s also a Titanic story — its aftermath and all the ethical questions that arose from this absolute tragedy. The waters are murky for Tess; it’s so hard to know who to believe, especially when she feels so beholden to Lady Lucile for giving her a chance. There is also a love triangle, with its predictable but pleasant-enough conclusion, as well as a glimpse at turn-of-the-century fashion.

This book was a lot of fun. Very historical, vaguely political, a great look at a country on the brink of change of all kinds: higher skirts? Women getting the vote? The death of a poor person mattering as much as the death of a rich one? I can’t say that the writing blew me away, but the plot moved along swiftly and kept my attention. I wouldn’t have minded a bit more of the romantic storyline, and occasionally some dialogue felt far too 2011 than 1912, but I can’t lie, I enjoyed it. Not five-star material, but if you like historical fiction and shipwrecks and tough ethical questions, it won’t disappoint.

Rated: Mild for a few Deity terms, five uses of mild language and two or three mild kissing scenes (very brief)

— Reviewed by Corinne Edwards

Corinne Edwards is always happiest when a book is in her hand. If her current read needs to be closed for a short time, either in her backpack while she leads her three rambunctious children on adventures, or on her nightstand while she sleeps, that's okay too. Her book thoughts and reviews land at her bookish blog, The Book Nest.

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The Dressmaker by Kate Alcott
  • The Dressmaker
  • by Kate Alcott
  • Rated: Mild
  • Genre: Fiction
  • Reviewer: