I have been fascinated by the sinking of the Titanic since I was in elementary school and they discovered its official final resting place. I recall my parents letting me stay up to watch the 10 PM news (my bedtime was 8:30) and seeing the grainy images of the chandeliers hanging from the ceilings. It was magical and mysterious, scintillating and sad. I haven’t read as many stories about the Titanic, as say ancient Egypt, but The Dressmaker by Kate Alcott caught my eye because it focused on a few of the survivors and how they dealt with the aftermath in the weeks after the disaster.
Ultimately the Titanic survival stories focused on class and the main character, Tess, is situated right at the crossroads. Throughout the novel, the reader sees her struggle with the having the connections to accomplish her dream and the desire to stay true to herself. I was rooting for Tess from the very start of the novel. Although I could have done without the love triangle that also centered around class.
I loved the secondary plot revolving around Sarah “Pinky” Wade. Pinky was a reporter for The New York Times and it was interesting to see the Titanic disaster and hearings through the eyes of a reporter. Pinky had a lot of spunk and wasn’t afraid to say what she was thinking. She was a nice contrast to Tess, who at times had to back off due the favors she was trying to repay.
I did enjoy listening to The Dressmaker by Kate Alcott. By incorporating real survivors of the Titanic, witness testimony and a real desire to achieve the American Dream, Alcott recreated a bleak, but hopeful chapter in world history.