A Dress of Violet Taffeta by Tessa Arlen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
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.
The story begins after Lucy's (Lady Duff Gordon) husband left her for a dancer. He took all of the money and she was left to care for their young daughter. Her life of leisure was at an end. The servants were let go and she was left with one servant, who was not proficient in her duties. Celia became vital in her quest to enter the world of fashion.
I found this book to be fascinating. Lucy and Celia are real people who lived a life that made it possible for women to enter the fashion industry. A Dress of Violet Taffeta is a "rags to riches" story.
The story doesn't end with Lucy's rise in fashion. She also survived the Titanic. If you enjoy reading about strong women and their determination to succeed, you should pick up this novel.
Source: I received a complimentary copy from Netgalley. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.
“Fans of the 1991 BBC series The House of Eliott will find familiar comfort in Arlen’s descriptions of fabrics, colorworks, and evolving fashions.” —Library Journal
“Tessa Arlen’s novel is as elegant as a Lucille gown, full of movement, color and beauty…For anyone interested in fashion, in the Gilded Age, in stories about strong, visionary woman, Tessa Arlen’s novel is a must read!” —Jeanne Mackin, author of The Last Collection
“A sumptuous treat of elegant prose, evocative descriptions, and compelling emotions. Arlen’s writing absolutely shines.” —Anna Lee Huber, USA TODAY Bestselling author of A Perilous Perspective
“Tessa Arlen delivers a fascinating tale based on the real-life fashion icon, Lucy, Lady Duff-Gordon, who went up against a male dominated industry and revolutionized it…A must read for fashion fans everywhere.” —Renee Rosen, USA Today bestselling author of The Social Graces
“…written in a sumptuous, engaging style that appeals to all the senses and brings Lucy, her creations, and her world vividly alive.” —Alyssa Maxwell, author of The Gilded Newport Mysteries
EXCLUSIVE AUTHOR INTERVIEW
Read an in-depth interview with author Tessa Arlen revealing insights into her new historical fiction novel, A Dress of Violet Taffeta.