Customer Reviews for

The Dressmaker

Average Rating 3.5
( 183 )
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5 Star

(58)

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(33)

2 Star

(18)

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(19)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

29 out of 30 people found this review helpful.

Couldn't Put It Down

I read the novel in just two sittings, eager to find out what happened to Tess and her beaus and Lucile. I have to admit that I didn't know much about what happened after the Titanic disaster and this book filled in all those gaps in my historical knoweldge but also kep...
I read the novel in just two sittings, eager to find out what happened to Tess and her beaus and Lucile. I have to admit that I didn't know much about what happened after the Titanic disaster and this book filled in all those gaps in my historical knoweldge but also kept me immensely entertained. The writing is solid but not showy, the characters are wonderful and real and the drama is heartfelt and often surprising.

posted by 11166496 on February 28, 2012

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Most Helpful Critical Review

15 out of 24 people found this review helpful.

A snoozer....

This book had promise, but fell very short. The characters were underdeveloped. The reader feels no connection at all. The writing was choppy and confusing at times. I struggled through this one. I did appreciate the historical aspects of the book.

posted by NKSTMo on March 8, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2012

    Couldn't Put It Down

    I read the novel in just two sittings, eager to find out what happened to Tess and her beaus and Lucile. I have to admit that I didn't know much about what happened after the Titanic disaster and this book filled in all those gaps in my historical knoweldge but also kept me immensely entertained. The writing is solid but not showy, the characters are wonderful and real and the drama is heartfelt and often surprising.

    29 out of 30 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2012

    The Dressmaker

    To Anonymous who is so proud of her synopsis-- why does it never occur to uou and all those like you who insist on rewriting what is ALREADY written for us in the ,"Overview"?
    This space is for a sentence or two, did you like the book or not. Okay, that is enough!
    Me? I love historical fiction and thougjt this one was fresh and new.
    See, on the first morning she opens her eyes, thrn breathes in, then scratches the end of her nose.......

    25 out of 44 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 22, 2012

    The Dressmaker is unsinkable!

    Synopsis: 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.

    My thoughts:

    I knew when we first met Tess, putting unironed, crumpled sheets on her employer's bed, that this wasn't going to be the usual Titanic story. This one was going to have a different spin to it. I was really looking forward to reading Kate Alcott's The Dressmaker, and I am really glad that I did get to read it! Tess wrangles her way on to the Titanic by seizing an opportunity to work for Lucile, Lady Duff-Gordon, the infamous clothing designer and the somewhat questionable survivor on the Titanic. Tess is no maid, she's a talented seamstress, with a gift in design and Tess uses this opportunity to get to New York and find a future there.

    Unlike other books and stories with a Titanic plotline, The Dressmaker's author, Kate Alcott, wisely places the tragic sinking towards the beginning of her story and places all of the action and development around the survivors and the U.S. Senate hearings that asked questions that one hundred years later, are still being asked.

    I enjoyed reading The Dressmaker, I think the plot lines were interesting and the writing even and consistent. I do have to add that I was a bit disappointed in the character development in some of the second tier characters and I felt that we really didn't get to know Tess, or what she really thought of the two diametrically opposed men who Tess is involved with from the ill fated cruise, Jack, the wealthy Chicagoan and Jim, the sailor.

    Alcott, in a brilliant move, used actual testimony from the hearings to help paint the scenery of what the world was like in 1912 and how the Titanic was evacuated. It was good to see the names of the famous and infamous included in her telling and it was enlightening to learn that even a hundred years ago, the paparazzi were present (and hounding in their pursuit of a photo and a story from the mournful, dazed survivors) as the Carpathia docked in New York. Alcott also includes a daring and somewhat pushy female reporter, Pinky, so that she could provide the readers a look at the about-to-explode world of the suffragettes and women's rights.


    *This galley was provided to me by the publisher's publicist at my request, and that in no way affected my fair review.

    24 out of 41 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2012

    Aftermath of Titanic

    Tess is a young maid with aspirations to be more than just a servant. She is basically in the right spot at the right time (or alternatively, the very wrong spot at the wrong time) and talks her way into working for the famous and famously rude fashion designer Lady Lucile Duff Gordon. The first order of business is a trip across the Atlantic on the Titanic.

    Despite a few awkward interactions with Lucile, Tess proves herself a worthy helper and the fashion designer seems to taking a likiing to the young woman. Lucile even allows Tess to indulge in a few luxuries, bumping her up from storage to a room in first class. As Tess fills her days accompanying Lucile on leisurely strolls along the deck, she meets a wealthy business man and a young sailor, who are set up as her love interests.

    But then disaster strikes shortly into the novel. We see the sinking of the Titanic and Lucile's sketchy behavior during the tragedy, but the novel's real focus is once they land in New York. The media swarms the survivors, grieving relatives cast scornful looks in their direction and the senate begins an investigation into what exactly went wrong.

    There are specific accusations thrown at Lucile and Tess is swept up in the drama surrounding her boss. There are some unexpected turns and I had my heart in my throat during the courtroom scenes but it's also a lovely atmospheric novel and a great coming of age story. Lots of compelling (albeit very imperfect) female characters. In addition to Tess and Lucile, there's a feisty New York Times newspaper reporter.

    18 out of 30 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2012

    A snoozer....

    This book had promise, but fell very short. The characters were underdeveloped. The reader feels no connection at all. The writing was choppy and confusing at times. I struggled through this one. I did appreciate the historical aspects of the book.

    15 out of 24 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 29, 2012

    Riveting story based on historical record

    The ship's sinking informs the drama and there is a ton of great historical detail but the book is always fundamentally driven by character, relationships and the complexities of politics and society, all of which make for a very satisfying read.

    14 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2012

    Was so looking forward to reading this and was highly disappoint

    Was so looking forward to reading this and was highly disappointed. Although I know the premise was based on fact, the fictional story was so unrealistic. Amazing how someone "accidentally" gets to come to America, and then so freely roams around with no knowledge of how America works, yet is so comfortable is suddenly eating with high society, running a factory, and getting a marriage proposal from a rich man. Right. I lend my books to my friends and relatives when I finish but not this one It will go into the donation pile.

    11 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2012

    I need to apologize to my local library for requesting this

    I loved the idea but the execution was at times painful and made me involuntarily stab myself with my metal bookmark several times in my right temple. I was not looking for such a feathery relaxed almost Young Adult fiction attempt at a captivating area of history. I wanted meat and all I could taste at the end of reading this was whipped pudding.


    While the story moved along at a decent pace in certain parts, it seemed to just float over the most exciting parts or the areas for the most potential (the sinking of Titanic or even the rescue) and focused more on the thrown in lame love attraction . It was all just anticlimactic and dull. I wanted to experience some emotion, but the first 40 pages left me reaching for my Titanic encyclopedia (some major details of the blue print of the ship do not match, example the levels of the decks). However, some potential readers will not be so particular with the Titanic’s construction, so I will move along.


    The characters were just bland and predictable. The rich were cruel and haughty (and always written in smoking a cigarette at a crucial moment of the story, smearing red lip stick or wearing red) and the poor were just thrown in as the victims, with expected and clich¿ side stories. The only interesting gray character was continually described with having “an ample stomach” (not flattering when the character is actually an interesting woman in history). Besides the lack of characterization, I cringed and rolled my eyes at times with the dialogue and lack luster romance of the main character. Supposedly exciting Historical moments were handled with an overly sugary approach that came off as something just thrown in; to “prove” to the unfortunate reader they were supposed to believe that they were still floating above the late Edwardian era.


    In the end, I thought the book’s only saving grace was the absolutely mesmerizing Sea Trials of the Titanic. If anything this fluffy book made me race to my Library and do my own research on the trials. To any potential reader, the advice I will leave you with is: borrow this title is you must read this.

    10 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 20, 2012

    I was excited for this book since I love all things Titanic. Thi

    I was excited for this book since I love all things Titanic. This was a total waste of money. It went so slow in parts and I was very bored with the so called love story in it.

    9 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 26, 2012

    I liked the idea of this book, but the execution felt lazy, poor

    I liked the idea of this book, but the execution felt lazy, poorly researched and poorly written. You would think that it would not be that hard to write a well-researched book about the sinking of the Titanic when there is so much information out there, but the author somehow managed to almost skim over the shipboard and sinking scenes as if she was not comfortable with them and wanted to hurry up and get to the parts she could safely make up. Tess was OK when she was not around either of her two "love interests". And the love interests were kind of bland and boring. The Duff Gordons came off as one dimensional. To me, the book felt like an early draft that was rushed into market before it was ready in order to capitalize on the 100th anniversary of the Titanic's sinking. Some more research and a couple more drafts would have made a huge improvement on the quality of this book.

    6 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2013

    !

    Thanks to rude inconsiderate plot spoilers here is another book i cannot buy because why pay that much for a book when these rude ppl already gave away eveey detail. These posters should be banned.

    4 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2012

    Great Story

    Am enjoying this book and the details of the period. Recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical/romantic stories.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 3, 2012

    Disappointing!

    I was so glad to get to the last chapter ... just not able to get into this book. If you're into historical fiction, I doubt that this novel will suffice. Very disappointing!

    4 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 27, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I was so looking forward to reading this, but really struggled t

    I was so looking forward to reading this, but really struggled through each chapter, hoping it would get better, it didn't. Very disappointing, it lacked substance, I felt little, if any connection to the characters and felt it did an injustice to the sinking of the Titanic. The Titanic portion was skimmed over and I am wondering if this book was written to cash in on the sensationalism of the 100th anniversary. I often had difficulty following the story line as it jumped around irratically Iwould pass this one up if I were you...

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2012

    Save your money

    Poorly written...will cash in on the renewed interest in the sinking of the Titanic.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 26, 2012

    Exciting at first...but sinks in the middle.

    The Dressmaker starts out well, but grinds to a halt and sinks. Slow and boring after the exciting Titanic scenes. I didn't even finish the book. Not recommended.

    4 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2013

    this was poorly written and disappointing. It started off promis

    this was poorly written and disappointing. It started off promising then just ended. Historical fiction is always interesting but this was a waste of time.
    Move to another book.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2012

    Loved it!

    I loved this book! I reallly enjoyed how the author went into great detail about how some of the characters came to terms with the aftermath of the tragedy. It was great that some of the info included were actual facts. I would really enjoy reading a sequel that continues the story of Tess and Jim as they make their way in America.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 31, 2012

    Tried on three occasions to get into this one. Finally gave up.

    Tried on three occasions to get into this one. Finally gave up. Happy I only borrowed it from the library.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2012

    A good read

    Really good book-wish it had been longer!

    3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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