Kate Alcott (Adult Fiction)
All Tess Collins dreams of is being a seamstress, but instead, deception places her in a hotel where she spends her days working as a servant. The dockworkers say that there are jobs on that huge ship sailing to New York. It is magnificent and truly worthy of its name…Titanic. With an act of blind benevolence on the part of world-renowned designer Lady Lucile Duff Gordon, Tess’s future suddenly appears as bright and hopeful as Titanic’s maiden voyage. Her romantic life also casts off when she meets two men vying for her attention: a mature Chicago millionaire and an amiable ship’s sailor. But when disaster strikes and passengers fight for survival, circumstances force Tess to question her own choices and desires.
Many are familiar with Titanic’s plight through movies and history books, but few know the aftermath: the hearings, testimony, scandals, and anguish endured by the survivors who vacillate between feelings of euphoria and guilt. Alcott masterfully combines actual people and Senate transcripts with fictional characters and dramatic situations to deliver a story both chilling and compelling. Through it all, she gives us a main character who constantly struggles between being loyal to her mistress and being true to herself.
Alcott’s The Dressmaker reminds us that courage cannot be carried in a wallet and character cannot be poured from a bottle of champagne. Instead, it is often the most humble and poor among us that are capable of the most extraordinary acts of heroism and kindness.
* Book cover image attributed to www.penguinrandomhouse.com