Related to: 'The Dressmaker'

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.

Sphere

Laura's Handmade Life

Amanda Addison
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.

Piatkus

Maid of Oaklands Manor

Terri Nixon
Piatkus

The Duchess Hunt

Jennifer Haymore

Simon Hawkins, Duke of Trent, is no stranger to scandal. Rumours and innuendo have darkened the House of Trent for decades, and it has fallen to Simon to restore his tattered family name. He lives by a strict code of honour, but when he is called home to investigate his mother's disappearance, the distinguished duke will tangle with temptation. For there waits the only woman he has ever loved - and the last woman he should desire . . . Sarah Osborne has spent her life dreaming of Simon's touch. But dukes do not long for lady's maids - or so Sarah believes, until a stolen kiss sparks a passion that could be her ultimate undoing. As the couple begin a forbidden romance, a cunning enemy plots to destroy the duke and everything he loves. Now, caught in a blackmailer's web, Simon faces an agonizing choice: sacrifice his family's future or break Sarah's heart.

Abacus

Every Man For Himself

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.

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.

Abacus

Palimpsest: A Memoir

Gore Vidal
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

'Convincing and compelling . . . building tension that resonates even after the novel ends'Stylist'Outstandingly good. Part-thriller, part-love story, I guarantee you will not beable to put it down' Sun 'Touching and extremely readable' Sunday Mirror 'Intense...dark' Daily Mail 'Thumpingly good' Good Housekeeping 'Gripping' Marie Claire 'Clever, and full of suspense' Richard Madeley 'Stunning in its insight and beautifully written'Judy Finnigan 'A Perfect R & J read. Highly compulsive'Bookseller 'An absorbing account of unbreakable and uncanny bonds' Heat 'An excellent debut and you are sure to have a hard time putting it down' Candis 'This book got its hooks into us and wouldn't let go. Hypnotic, with real emotional punch' Star 'This debut reveals a stunning writer with deep insight into people. A beautifully crafted and compelling story that won't disappoint' NZ Women's Weekly 'Timeless and riveting' RT Book Reviews They were identical in every wayUntil the unthinkable tore them apartIsolte and Viola are twins. Inseparable as children, they've grown into very different adults: Isolte, a successful features writer for a fashion magazine with a photographer boyfriend and a flat in London, and Viola, desperately unhappy and struggling with a lifelong eating disorder.What happened all those years ago to set the twins on such different paths to adulthood? As both women start to unravel the escalating tragedies of a half-remembered summer, terrifying secrets from the past come rushing back - and threaten to overwhelm their adult lives...

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

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 . . .

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 . . .