The Dressmaker, Paperback Book
3 out of 5 (1 rating)


Torn between her dreams and the truth, she was faced with an impossible choice . . . Tess, an aspiring seamstress, is stunned at her luck when the famous designer Lady Lucile Duff Gordon hires her to be a personal maid on the Titanic's doomed voyage.

When disaster strikes, Tess is one of the last people allowed on a lifeboat - her employer also survives.

On dry land, savage rumours begin to circulate: did Lady Duff Gordon save herself at the expense of others?Tess's dream of becoming a skilled dressmaker is within her grasp but now she is faced with a terrible choice.

Suddenly she finds herself torn between loyalty to the fiery woman who could help her realise her ambitions and the devastating truth that her mentor may not be all she seems.Authentic and honest, The Dressmaker is a compelling and vivid story that will have you holding your breath until the last page.*Shortlisted for the Goodreads Historical Novel Award*


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Historical fiction
  • ISBN: 9780751549232

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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. On dry land, rumors about the survivors begin to circulate, and Lady Duff Gordon quickly becomes the subject of media scorn.My Thoughts:This is the first book that I have read that centers around the disaster of the Titanic. The sinking of the Titanic happens very quickly in the first part of the book and the rest of the story centers around Tess and her fellow survivors.I did find the book a little sugary and not really dramatic enough for its content. The section of the book that focuses on the hearings was interesting but again it needed to be a little more dramatic. I would have liked to have seen the hearings section in more detail and perhaps a little more like perhaps how Jodi Picoult can do a court battle. The story was a romance with Tess being the center of attention of two men. I did find that the survivors seemed to get over the tragedy very quickly. For my first fictional read about the Titanic I felt a little let down and felt the story was too sweet for it’s subject matter and could have been handled differently. However the book was a pleasant and easy read with no swearing or bodice ripping for a change. Maybe not the best book to pick up if a reader wants to delve more in to the sad disaster of the Titanic.

Also by Kate Alcott