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.

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. 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
Import Aus

Paradise Road

C.J. Duggan

More than anything, seventeen-year-old Lexie Atkinson wants to move forward with her life, but she can't seem to shake free of the heart-pounding memories of Paradise High. Back on her parents' property in rural Victoria, she thought she'd left behind the glitzy, gritty nightlife of the big city and the group of misfit friends she'd loved to hate, but she soon realises that in order to move forward, there's something she must do first . . . Lexie's going back to Paradise City to face the boy who stole her heart. Lexie arrives in Paradise City eager to determine if her future includes bad-boy surfer, Luke Ballantine, but Luke is nowhere to be found. Determined not to lose her drive, she focuses on the positive - her amazing new apartment and a chance to try her hand at slinging drinks for the wild partygoers of Paradise City. But when Dean Saville, the owner and broody boss of the Wipe Out Bar, starts stirring more than just her drinks Lexie's future seems less cut and dry; and when Luke barrels back into town, Lexie is forced to choose between her head and her heart.

Robinson

Voices from the Titanic

Geoff Tibballs
Piatkus

Maid of Oaklands Manor

Terri Nixon

Book 1 in the Oaklands Manor Trilogy It's 1912. And a chance meeting between scullery maid Lizzy Parker and heiress Evie Creswell leads to more than an enduring friendship and a new job for Lizzy . . .It draws her into a world of privilege and intrigue and delivers her into the loving arms of a killer. Meeting the handsome but mysterious Jack Carlisle, Lizzie begins to fall for him despite rumours he had been involved in the death of Evie's father. And as she becomes further embroiled in the dangerous life that Carlisle lives, she must decide if he can be trusted with the life of a close friend, and, ultimately, if he is worth the risk to her own . . .

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.

Orbit

The Castings Trilogy

Pamela Freeman
Blackfriars

The Painted Girls

Cathy Marie Buchanan
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

The Mitford Girls

Mary S. Lovell
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.

Virago

The Perpetual Curate

Margaret Oliphant
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 half­time? 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