The Dressmaker by Kate Alcott is a novel of the Titanic. And if it has to do with the Titanic, I'm all over it.
This was a great account of fact mixed with fiction. Some characters were based on real people who were on the Titanic in 1912, others were totally fictionalized, or based on real people.
Tess wants nothing more in the world than to be a fashion designer. But, with her third-class upbringing as a maid, there is hardly a chance that she will recognize her dream.
When by chance, she has the opportunity to board the Titanic as a maid for Lady Duff Gordon, a French designer who is travelling to her salon in New York City, Tess can hardly believe her luck.
Well, we all know the story of Titanic, so I won't go into detail there. Suffice it to say that both Tess and Lady Duff Gordon survive the sinking, and the meat of the novel really focuses on the aftermath.
Lady Duff Gordon and her husband Cosmo were real passengers on the real Titanic, and they both did survive. But apparently there were some questionable doings on their lifeboat (Lifeboat #1), as there were only 12 passengers aboard a boat built for 65. And this is the basis for The Dressmaker.
I have to say, I picked this up by accident, not having heard anything about it before. From the cover, it looked like just another historical romance (that just goes to show you not to judge a book... blah, blah, blah... you know the saying). So, I'm glad I didn't judge it. I really enjoyed it, the mix of fact and fiction, with the Titanic in the background. And of course with the 100th anniversary of the sinking, this was perfect timing to sink my teeth into this one.
On an interesting aside....
When I started reading this book, I told my Aunt I was reading a book about the Titanic and it had fictionalized accounts of real passengers. Now, mind you... I did not say the name of the passenger. She said to me, "you know, me & Uncle Peter went to a Titanic exhibit in the city (Manhattan) where we got boarding passes of real passengers, and we followed their journey. It was really good - my character was Lady Duff Gordon. She was a French fashion designer." I swear to you this is true. I was like, "whaaaaat???". Isn't that a great coincidence?
I've been trying to upload the boarding passes she sent on e-mail, but they are in document form, and I can't figure out how to get them onto my blog! My bad. If anyone out there knows how to do this, I would appreciate your help!