Thursday, July 7, 2022

Virtual Book Tour: A Dress of Violet Taffeta by Tessa Arlen

 Title: A Dress of Violet Taffeta

Author: Tessa Arlen

Format: Paperback

Publisher: Berkley Books

Publish Date: July 5, 2022 (This week!)

Source: Austenprose PR

What's the story?:

From "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."

My Two Cents:

"A Dress of Violet Taffeta" is the story of Lady Lucy Duff Gordon, a trail blazer and her own right and a fashionista. She was one of the first women to succeed in a realm that up until that point had still been a part of a man’s world. I have to admit that the only thing I knew about Lucy before reading this book was that she had survived the Titanic disaster (I remember her from the movie - hah!). But as this book showed me, I didn't even know that part of her story fully. Tessa Arlen weaves a wonderful book about this fascinating woman and hopefully it’ll bring her to life for more readers! 

When the story opens, Lucy is a young mother dealing with a crumbling relationship. She is thrust into the position of making ends meet for her young daughter in a world that was still not very open to working women. Fortunately, Lucy has a gift with fashion and can make dresses that showcase the best features of just about any individual. She becomes more successful than she could have ever imagined on her own. And then she falls for Cosmo! I loved how the author explored Lucy‘s relationship with Cosmo. Cosmo comes from a very storied background and marrying somebody who has already been married has the chance of dirtying his name but love is powerful and from the author's rich descriptions, we can see how and why of Cosmo and Lucy fall for each other!

I also really liked how the author explored the Titanic disaster and its aftermath. The Gordons were very fortunate to have been saved but I did not realize that there were so many inquiries into not just a disaster itself but the behavior of the passengers after the disaster. It almost seemed as if blame was being put on individual passengers rather than the builders or owners of the ship. 

I loved how much detail Arlen was able to weave throughout the book. She does a great job of bringing the Belle Epoque to life. I love reading in this time period but don’t get to do it often. I thought that Arlen did a great job of capturing the glamour and glitz of this era! All of the detail will be delightful for my fellow historical fiction lovers. All in all, this what is a fantastic story for anybody looking for a great heroine!

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