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(From Goodreads) 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.

Random House was nice enough to give me an e-book version of this book through NetGalley and I’m so glad they did because I just loved this book.

This is one of my 2011 Book Reviews I’m finally catching up on.

Over the past year or so I’ve been getting more and more into Historical Fiction and this story captured me right from the start. Tess takes her future into her own hands when talks her way into being the personal maid to Lady Duff Gordon ( a real person and real survivor of the Titanic). Everything about her life changes when she survives the sinking and becomes an indispensable part of Lady Duff’s world. She must then decide whether her new future is worth comprising what she believes in when she learns the truth of what happened on the Duff Gordons’  life boat.

I didn’t really know the story of the Duff Gordons and the others in Lifeboat 1. Though I did know there was a boat that held only 12 people, most of them quite wealthy. So, to hear the details as told in this story it made me look into it more. Which I think is always a sign of good Historic Fiction.

I loved Tess and really felt for her as she experienced freedom and love for the first time. I have to say I was totally drawn on which suitor I hoped she would end up with and was thoroughly satisfied with the outcome.

The Dressmaker will be released on Feb. 21st, just in time for the 100th anniversary on April 1o ( you Downton Abbey fans will know that since it’s a major plot point for season 1).

If you love Historic Fiction or you just want to get your feet wet give The Dressmaker a try. I really think you be swept away by the story.

Oh, and a big Woo Hoo for the the return of Downton Abbey. I will admit here to cheating and already seeing much of season 2 thanks to my daughter and the internet and all I can say is invest in Kleenex and don’t be too sure which characters you love or hate because Holy Cow is that going to bounce all over the place. Well, except for Maggie Smith who is the BEST thing on TV in I don’t know how long.

Thanks again to Random House and NetGalley for my e-copy of The Dressmaker by Kate Alcott. (and if by any chance Ms. Alcott reads this could you hurry with your next book. I’ll be first in line for it.)