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Monday, January 11, 2016

#1 - The Dressmaker - Kate Alcott

Title: The Dressmaker
Author:   Kate Alcott
Read by:  Susan Duerden
Genre:  Fiction
Rating:  B
Published:  2012 
Dates:  12/31/15 – 1/10/16
Cds/Hrs:  9/11

Kate Alcott – my new most favorite author – has done it again.  This time it is April, 1912 and Titanic is leaving Cherbourg, France, one of the first stops on her maiden voyage.  Tess, an aspiring seamstress, can’t believe her luck when famous designer Lady Duff Gordon hires her.  On board, Tess proves herself as a competent seamstress and rubs shoulders with the rich and famous.  Her bed is in steerage yet her time is spent on the upper decks answering the beck and call of Lady Duff Gordon, as her personal maid. 

On the fourth night of the voyage, disaster strikes in the form of an iceberg and Titanic sinks.  Tess is one of the last to escape into a fully loaded lifeboat.  Many others including Cosmo and Lucille Duff Gordon also survive yet at the alleged expense of people in the water clambering to get aboard their less than full lifeboat.

Once the survivors are picked up by Carpathia and arrive at New York, an immediate investigation is started.  Not only are the circumstances surrounding the lack of lifeboats, dangerously high speed of the vessel through the ice-floes questioned but also the business of not picking up victims stranded in the frigid waters of the North Sea.

Not only do we get the full flavor of what it’s like to be aboard the unsinkable ship we also view the court room scenes where the proceedings reveal the truth of what really happened that night.

I have a vested interest in this event since my mother’s ship, the Saturnia, was also on the sea at the same time as Titanic.  She and her three older sisters were bound for St. John, New Brunswick, Canada to meet their father in Vancouver, British Columbia.  In my research of this event I have read Canadian newspaper clippings from that tragic day, April 15, 2015, in support of what was being reported.  I treasure the research done on various aspects of this tragedy.   And Alcott’s book is among those treasures.

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