Title: A Dress of Violet Taffeta
Author: Tessa Arlen
Publication: July 5, 2022
Genre: Historical Fiction, Biographical Fiction
SYNOPSIS: (From Goodreads)
A sumptuous novel based on the fascinating true story of Belle Epoque icon Lucy, Lady Duff Gordon, a woman determined to shatter the boundaries of the fashion world and support herself and her young daughter with her magnificent designs.
Lucy Duff Gordon knows she is talented. She sees color, light, fabric, and texture in ways few other people do. But is the world ready for her? A world dominated by men who would try to control her and use her art for their own gain?
After being deserted by her wealthy husband, Lucy is desperate to survive. She turns to her one true talent to make a living. As a little girl, the dresses she made for her dolls were the envy of her group of playmates. Now, she uses her courageous innovations in Belle Époque fashion to support her own little girl. Lucile knows it is an uphill battle, and a single woman is not supposed to succeed on her own, but she refuses to give up. She will claim her place in the fashion world; failure simply is not an option.
Then, on a frigid night in 1912, Lucy’s life changes once more, when she becomes one of 706 people to survive the sinking of the Titanic. She could never have imagined the effects the disaster would have on her career, her marriage to her second husband, and her legacy. But no matter what life throws at her, Lucile will live on as a trailblazing and fearless fashion icon, never letting go of what she worked so hard to earn. This is her story.
**A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.**
My co-editor got a request for a review, for this book come across her email. She immediately asked me because it was something that was totally a me book. The second I saw Titanic in the description I didn’t have to read any farther before saying YES to this book. I couldn’t wait for the copy to come in the mail to start it.
Lucy is a tarnished woman. She has requested a divorce in times when divorce is something that is frowned upon. Not only that she is also seeking to make a way and money for herself by making and selling dresses of her very own design. She surrounds herself with people who somewhat understand her. In the end, she survives the sinking of the Titanic along with her second husband and her right-hand man Celia. Honestly, it took me about 80% into this book to actually get into the book. I liked it but it wasn’t something that I was dying to read every night until the Titanic came into the picture. It was why I gave it 4 stars. I did find the character of Lucy fascinating. Her tenacity in the face of the struggle that she knew she was going to have. She wasn’t afraid to strike out on her own. She was already a divorced woman, making herself a working woman was just water under the bridge at that moment in time.
What struck me was when she had to go to the French Riveria when she worked herself to severe illness. How they thought that that would cure things at that time. While I am sure sunshine and relaxation would fix anything it was sending them to an elite area that got me. I really did enjoy the character of her second husband, Cosmo. He was so calm and collected the entire time. Let her be a businesswoman and didn’t step on her toes unless she asked for help. What got me the most was this story was based on an actual person. She really did survive the sinking of the Titanic with her husband. She actually wrote a memoir that I am fairly certain that I will now have to track down and read to compare notes. I know that this is a fictionalization of her life but I am sure that some things will still be true to form. I am really glad that I read this book and will certainly be checking out the other book that this author had written soon.