- The Dressmaker - Little, Brown Book Group
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    • ISBN:9781405514712
    • Publication date:28 Feb 2013

The Dressmaker

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Atmospheric, authentic and utterly absorbing - this spirited historical novel will have timeless appeal to lovers of The Postmistress, My Last Duchess and The Kashmir Shawl

Torn between her dreams and the truth, she was faced with an impossible choice . . .

Tess, an aspiring seamstress, is stunned at her luck when the famous designer Lady Lucile Duff Gordon hires her to be a personal maid on the Titanic's doomed voyage. When disaster strikes, Tess is one of the last people allowed on a lifeboat - her employer also survives. On dry land, savage rumours begin to circulate: did Lady Duff Gordon save herself at the expense of others?

Tess's dream of becoming a skilled dressmaker is within her grasp but now she is faced with a terrible choice. Suddenly she finds herself torn between loyalty to the fiery woman who could help her realise her ambitions and the devastating truth that her mentor may not be all she seems.

Authentic and honest, The Dressmaker is a compelling and vivid story that will have you holding your breath until the last page.

*Shortlisted for the Goodreads Historical Novel Award*

Biographical Notes

Kate Alcott is a journalist who has covered politics in Washington DC, where she currently lives.

  • Other details

  • ISBN: 9780751549232
  • Publication date: 28 Feb 2013
  • Page count: 416
A novel about human relationships, trust, loyalty and ambition . . . Pacy, well-written, full of drama, atmosphere and dilemma and is sure to fascinate — Hello!
This glitzy, glamorous tale packs a punch — Star magazine
Seamlessly stitching fact and fiction together, Alcott creates a hypnotic tale — USA Today
Based on true events surrounding the dramatic incident of 1912, this honest and engaging accounts of one woman's battle with love, loyalty, truth and what it means to be brave will have readers facing up to the reality of such an atrocity — U Magazine
How My Dreams Came True

Inspiration for The Dressmaker

Read about Kate Alcott's inspiration for her novel, The Dressmaker

Sphere

Sworn To Secrecy

Mary Larkin

1971. With the troubles in Belfast at their height, a happy domestic life is something that Tess Maguire yearns for. Yet the political and social unrest are sending ripples of uncertainty through every aspect of her life. Whilst her partnership with her friend Theresa Cunningham in a dressmaking firm is successful, it's beginning to affect her romantic interests. Theresa's boyfriend Bob always seems to be near Tess. Near enough, one night, to declare his true feelings for her... Tess, in confusion, has to confront her own mixed up emotions concerning Bob. And to address her feelings for her own ever-faithful boyfriend Tony. Especially when he asks her to marry him ... Tess's widowed mother Alice marries Dan, her long-standing partner who can now spend the rest of his years with Alice and his beloved grandson Jackie. Jackie is almost an orphan: his father Jack died in a motorcycle accident. His mother Colette may as well be dead - she decamped to Canada shortly after his birth. But then Colette suddenly shows up to reclaim her son and her arrival in Belfast opens old wounds, triggers a bitter custody battle - and unearths secrets that will change everyone's lives for ever.

Virago

The Pink Suit

Nicole Mary Kelby

On 22 November 1963, Jacqueline Kennedy accompanied her husband to Dallas, Texas, wearing a pink suit that was one of his favourites. But as Jackie was greeted by ecstatic crowds that sunny morning, nobody could have dreamt just how iconic the suit would soon become.In The Pink Suit, Nicole Mary Kelby has written a novel imagining the life of the garment that became emblematic of the moment the American Dream turned to ashes. Kate is an Irish seamstress working in the back room at Chez Ninon, an exclusive Manhattan atelier entrusted with creating much of Jackie's wardrobe. Kate and the First Lady share roots in rural Ireland, and although their lives could not be more different, Kate honours their connection by using the muslin toiles for each piece she sews for Mrs Kennedy to fashion an identical garment - in a different fabric - for her own niece.Then comes the terrible day that pictures of Kate's handiwork, splashed with the president's blood, are beamed all over the world. The Pink Suit is a fascinating novel about politics, fashion, history and the people who have a hand in it - from the backrooms of a Manhattan dressmaker's to the Blue Room at the White House.

Virago

The Lifeboat

I was to stand trial for my life. I was twenty-two years old. I had been married for ten weeks and a widow for six.In the summer of 1914, the Empress Alexandra, a magnificent ocean liner, suffers a mysterious explosion on its voyage from London to New York City. On board are Henry Winter, a rich banker, and his young new wife, Grace. Somehow, Henry manages to secure a place in a lifeboat for Grace. But the survivors quickly realize it is over capacity and could sink at any moment. For any to live, some must die.As the castaways battle the elements, and each other, Grace watches and waits. She is a woman who has learned the value of patience - her journey to a life of glittering privilege has been far from straightforward. Now, she knows, it is in jeopardy, and her very survival is at stake. Over the course of three perilous weeks, the passengers on the lifeboat plot, scheme, gossip and console one another while sitting inches apart. Their deepest beliefs about goodness, humanity and God are tested to the limit as they begin to discover what they will do in order to survive. The Lifeboat is a page-turning story of moral dilemmas, and also the moving and haunting story of Grace, a woman as unforgettable and complicated as the story she recounts.

Sphere

Laura's Handmade Life

Amanda Addison
Piatkus

Maid of Oaklands Manor

Terri Nixon
Piatkus

The Duchess Hunt

Jennifer Haymore
Abacus

Every Man For Himself

Orbit

The Castings Trilogy

Pamela Freeman

Bramble is impetuous with a talent for trouble, and she finds it when an accident brands her a criminal. But she expects no mercy with her Traveller blood - so when the village gods tell her to flee, she hits the road. In ghost-ridden Turvite, Ash leaves the road for an apprenticeship, the only one available for a Traveller such as himself. Then his employer trains him to kill on demand and his future looks bleak. But the gods have deeper plans for both Ash and Bramble. Their shared heritage grants them hidden strengths, which are needed to combat a new evil. Saker also remembers Travellers once owned this land. But he intends to take it back in vengeance, using enchantment and the blood of innocents.This omnibus edition contains: BLOOD TIES, DEEP WATER and FULL CIRCLE.

The summer must-read from Kate Furnivall

EXTRACT: SHADOWS ON THE NILE

Beautifully written, compulsively plotted and truly satisfying – Shadows on the Nile is a summer must-have for fans of Julia Gregson, Rosie Thomas and other sumptuous historical romances Indulge yourself with this sneak-peek at the first chapter now.

Abacus

Samarkand

Amin Maalouf
Abacus

Palimpsest: A Memoir

Gore Vidal

This is a memoir of the first 40 years of Gore Vidal's life, ranging back and forth across a rich history. He spent his childhood in Washington DC, in the household of his grandfather, the blind senator from Oklahoma, T.P. Gore, and in the various domestic situations of his complicated and exasperating mother, Nina. Then come schooldays at St Albans and Exeter; the army; life as a literary wunderkind in New York, London, Rome and Paris in the '40s and '50s; sex in an age of promiscuity; and a campaign for Congress in 1960. His cast includes Tennessee Williams, the Kennedys, Eleanor Roosevelt, Truman Capote, Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, Christopher Isherwood, Jack Kerouac, Jane and Paul Bowles, Santayana, Anais Nin, Norman Mailer, Leonard Bernstein and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, among others.

Blackfriars

The Painted Girls

Cathy Marie Buchanan

1878 Paris. Following their father's sudden death, the van Goethem sisters find their lives upended. Without his wages, and with the small amount their laundress mother earns disappearing into the absinthe bottle, eviction from their lodgings seems imminent. With few options for work, Marie is dispatched to the Paris Opera, where for a scant seventeen francs a week, she will be trained to enter the famous ballet. Her older sister, Antoinette, finds work as an extra in a stage adaptation of Emile Zola's naturalist masterpiece L'Assommoir.Marie throws herself into dance and is soon modelling in the studio of Edgar Degas, where her image will forever be immortalized as Little Dancer Aged Fourteen. There she meets a wealthy male patron of the ballet, but might the assistance he offers come with strings attached? Meanwhile Antoinette, derailed by her love for the dangerous Emile Abadie, must choose between honest labour and the more profitable avenues open to a young woman of the Parisian demimonde.Set at a moment of profound artistic, cultural and societal change, The Painted Girls is a tale of two remarkable sisters rendered uniquely vulnerable to the darker impulses of 'civilized society'. In the end, each will come to realize that her salvation, if not survival, lies with the other.'A dark valentine to Belle Epoque Paris' Vogue'Buchanan does more than just write about what she knows; that same verisimilitude wends through the whole book: the grinding poverty in which the sisters live, the interaction between them, the daily life of a Parisian all come to life in her capable hands' Huffington Post'Will hold you enthralled as it spools out the vivid story of young sisters in late 19th century Paris struggling to transcend their lives of poverty through the magic of dance. I guarantee, you will never look at Edgar Degas's immortal sculpture of the Little Dancer in quite the same way again' Kate Alcott, author of The Dressmaker'Cathy Marie Buchanan paints the girls who spring from the page as vibrantly as a dancer's leap across a stage . . . The Painted Girls is a captivating story of fate, tarnished ambition and the ultimate triumph of sister-love' The Washington Post

Piatkus

The Twins

Saskia Sarginson
Import Aus

So Close

Patrick Mangan

Sport is all about winning, isn't it? Well, yes and no. For every winner, there's always a loser - often a whole string of them. And while the achievements of the ecstatic victor are heralded by delirious fans, and his, her or their story is emblazoned across triumphant headlines for days, if not decades, the story of the loser is often...lost. This book, by former Age sportswriter Patrick Mangan, is a tribute to the defeated. Some whose performances have been all but forgotten; others whose exploits are unforgettable. In short, it's the tale of some of the bravest, unluckiest, most ridiculous defeats in sporting history.How did Aussie ace Pat Rafter lose the 2001 Wimbledon final to the enigmatic Goran Ivanisevic before the most raucous crowd in the tournament's history? Why did Collingwood lose to Carlton in the 1970 grand final after being 44 points to the good at half?time? Typically, there's only one way to win - by being the best. But there are countless ways of having victory snatched from your grasp. Brilliance isn't always enough - witness Gary Ablett's sensational nine-goal haul in 1989 that almost clinched arguably the most extraordinary AFL grand final of all. Courage mightn't get you over the line either - think of Allan Border and Jeff Thomson's titanic last-wicket partnership against England in 1982 that nearly won one of the closest-fought Tests ever. And sometimes wretched bad luck is enough to stop you in your tracks - look no further than Australian walker Jane Saville, only a few hundred metres from a gold medal at Sydney 2000 in the 20-kilometre walk when she was - to the horror of Aussie onlookers - tragically disqualified. From the calamitous to the hilarious, from the poignant to the absurd, sport is about so much more than gold medals, premiership trophies and urns filled with ashes. And in this book, some of those sportspeople, whose stories are as courageous and compelling as they are will finally get the glory they deserve.

Forever

When She Was Wicked

Anne Barton

SOME RULES SIMPLY BEG TO BE BROKENA dressmaker in London's busiest shop, Miss Anabelle Honeycote overhears the ton's steamiest secrets - and (occasionally) uses them to her advantage. It isn't something she's proud of, but the reluctant blackmailer needs the money to care for her gravely ill mother. To make up for her misdeeds, Anabelle keeps to a firm set of rules:Never request payment from someone who cannot afford it.Never reveal the secrets of a paying client.Never enter into any form of social interaction with a client.Her list keeps her (somewhat) honest - until she encounters Owen Sherbourne, the Duke of Huntford.Not only does Owen nip Anabelle's extortion plans in the bud, the devilishly handsome duke soon has the sexy seamstress dreaming of more than silk and satin. With Owen, Anabelle enjoys pleasures she never imagined . . . until a scandal from the past resurfaces. Now her rules could mean his family's ruin. Owen's searing kisses carry the promise of passion, but how will he react when Anabelle's most devastating secret is finally revealed?

Sphere

The English Girl

Margaret Leroy
Virago

Kingfishers Catch Fire

Rumer Godden
Abacus

The Awakening of Miss Prim

Natalia Sanmartin Fenollera

Prudencia Prim is a young woman of intelligence and achievement, with a deep knowledge of literature and several letters after her name. But when she accepts the post of private librarian in the village of San Ireneo de Arnois, she is unprepared for what she encounters there. Her employer, a book-loving intellectual, is dashing yet contrarian, always ready with a critique of her cherished Jane Austen and Louisa May Alcott. The neighbours, too, are capable of charm and eccentricity in equal measure, determined as they are to preserve their singular little community from the modern world outside. Prudencia hoped for friendship in San Ireneo but she didn't suspect that she might find love - nor that the course of her new life would run quite so rocky, would offer challenge and heartache as well as joy, discovery and fireside debate. The Awakening of Miss Prim is a distinctive and delightfully entertaining tale of literature, philosophy and the search for happiness.

Virago

Breakfast with the Nikolides

Rumer Godden

For Emily Pool, India is a magical place where she has the freedom to escape her mother's suffocating influence. Her days are spent exploring the canals and gardens of East Bengal, and admiringly observing her glamorous, dignified neighbours, the Nikolides. But just as the cracks in Emily's family home are papered over, so do the Pools strive to maintain an outward impression of respectability, and it is through the Nikolides that Emily is exposed to a world of adult deceit and attrition. And when her beloved dog dies, the event forces a confrontation and reveals to Emily that nothing in the town is quite as it seems . . .