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Amber's Thoughts

Reviews and updates from Amber Foxx, author of the Mae Martin Psychic Mystery Series



Before and After the Titanic: A Woman's Life in 1912

The Dressmaker - Kate Alcott

This review is written by someone who seldom watches movies. I never saw Titanic or The Unsinkable Molly Brown, so I’m not comparing it with anything. I’m interested in history, but the rich and famous tend to escape my notice and I had to look up some of the more celebrated survivors. I’d never heard of some of them. Reading this made me learn more about popular culture of the times.


The best part of the book is its exploration of women’s roles and how they were changing  in the early 20th century, the contrast between American and British views of class and rank, and the use of the Titanic disaster as a symbol and an anchor for these themes.

The story focuses on a young working class Englishwoman, Tess Collins, who survives because of working for a first class passenger, the designer Lady Lucile Duff Gordon.

The description of the night of the ship’s sinking is stunning and vivid. The characters are worth following. I kept hoping the story would go longer, following Tess’s career, but it wraps up with the romance plot. A woman’s life is not wrapped up with the romance plot, and the story seemed headed in a more intriguing direction. Nonetheless, it was a good historical read, and I was delighted to discover Margaret Brown and her place in history, and to read about the Suffragists, and the investigation into the Titanic’s lack of preparation.