Related to: 'The Dressmaker'

How My Dreams Came True

Inspiration for The Dressmaker

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

Abacus

Every Man For Himself

Beryl Bainbridge

For the four fraught, mysterious days of her doomed maiden voyage in 1912, the Titanic sails towards New York, glittering with luxury, freighted with millionaires and hopefuls. In her labyrinthine passageways are played out the last, secret hours of a small group of passengers, their fate sealed in prose of startling, sublime beauty, as Beryl Bainbridge's haunting masterpiece moves inexorably to its known and terrible end.

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.

Sphere

Laura's Handmade Life

Amanda Addison

Laura Lovegrove is leaving behind her seamless life in London. Architect husband Adi has been relocated to rural Norfolk, a far cry from ultra-urban Ealing.Though Laura knew village life would be different, she didn't foresee a pokey cottage, nosey neighbours, errant poodles, and even an ex turning up. Chris had been her big love at art college and seeing him again is utterly confusing. Is she really so different from the impulsive student who once trawled charity shops for vintage treasures? When a fire all but destroys Laura's collection of vintage clothes, she's heartbroken. And seriously lacking in outfits. But, salvaging what she can, Laura makes do and mends - sewing purses, bags, even dog leads (which should solve the poodle problem). Soon, she's inundated with orders. But Adi is becoming more and more distant; it's like there's something he's not telling her. Can Laura make a stitch in time and pull her family back together again?

Virago

The Lifeboat

Charlotte Rogan

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.It is 1914 and Europe is on the brink of war. When a magnificent ocean liner suffers a mysterious explosion en route to New York City, Henry Winter manages to secure a place in a lifeboat for his new wife Grace. But the survivors quickly realize the boat is over capacity and could sink at any moment. For any to live, some must die.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 are tested to the limit as they begin to discover what they will do in order to survive.

Piatkus

Maid of Oaklands Manor

Terri Nixon
Piatkus

The Duchess Hunt

Jennifer Haymore
Orbit

The Castings Trilogy

Pamela Freeman
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

Accused of mocking the inviolate codes of Islam, the Persian poet and sage Omar Khayyam fortuitously finds sympathy with the very man who is to judge his alleged crimes. Recognising genuis, the judge decides to spare him and gives him instead a small, blank book, encouraging him to confine his thoughts to it alone.Thus beginds the seamless blend of fact and fiction that is Samarkand. Vividly re-creating the history of the manuscript of the Rubaiyaat of Omar Khayyam, Amin Maalouf spans continents and centuries with breathtaking vision: the dusky exoticism of 11th-century Persia, with its poetesses and assassins; the same country's struggles nine hundred years later, seen through the eyes of an American academic obsessed with finding the original manuscript ; and the fated maiden voyage of the Titanic, whose tragedy led to the Rubaiyaat's final resting place - all are brought to life with keen assurance by this gifted and award-winning writer.

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

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Abacus

Palimpsest: A Memoir

Gore Vidal
Abacus

The Mitford Girls

Mary S. Lovell
Virago

The Perpetual Curate

Margaret Oliphant

Frank Wentworth, Perpetual Curate of St Roque's, has basked in the popularity of Carlingford, beloved in the gracious homes of Grange Lane and the slums of Wharfside alike. But there are some among the sober-minded citizens who would see him as a 'dilettante Anglican, given over to floral ornaments and ecclesiastical upholstery' - a verdict shared by the new Rector who regards the presence of a young and energetic rival as an intolerable encumbrance. Imperceptibly, the tide starts turning against Frank Wentworth: his love for Lucy Wodehouse is threatened by his lack of prospects; his Evangelical aunts, in charge of a family living, disapprove of his high church ways, and rumours about a pretty shopgirl begin circulating. Slowly it dawns on Frank that he may well be doomed to a life of perpetual - and single - curacy.

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.

Virago

Letters From Egypt

Lucie Duff Gordon

In 1862 Lucie Duff Gordon, cousin of Harriet Martineau and friend of Caroline Norton, Meredith and Thackeray, embarked on a solo trip to Egypt in an effort to rid herself of consumption. The next seven years were spent in a ruined house above a temple in Luxor on the Nile. Feeling at home in this most foreign of lands, Lucie Duff Gordon integrated herself quickly in the locale, setting up a hospital from her home and welcoming the people of Luxor, be they officials or slaves, into her house. The absorbing story told through her letters offers a wonderfully penetrating and sympathetic view of mid-nineteenth century Egypt as well as the personal story of this brave and generous woman.

Forever

When She Was Wicked

Anne Barton
Virago

Kingfishers Catch Fire

Rumer Godden

Sophie, an English ing?nue with two children, arrives in Himalayan Kashmir to set up home in a tumbledown cottage surrounded by flowers and herbs. Settling down to live quietly, frugally and peacefully with her new neighbours, she is unaware of the turmoil her arrival provokes as the villagers compete fiercely for her patronage. Sophie's cook makes a drastic bid to secure his position, and the unwanted consequences are catastrophic . . .