Skip to main content

A Dress of Violet Taffeta by Tessa Arlen: A Book Review

A Dress of Violet Taffeta 
Author: Tessa Arlen
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: 2022
Pages: 348

Source: Netgalley/Publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis: A sumptuous novel based on the fascinating true story of La Belle Époque icon Lucy, Lady Duff Gordon, who shattered the boundaries of fashion with her magnificently sensual and enchantingly unique design from the USA Today bestselling author of In Royal Service to the Queen.

     Lucy Duff Gordon knows she is talented. She sees color, light, and texture in ways few people can begin to imagine. But is the male dominated world of haute couture, who would use her art for their own gain, ready for her?

      When she is deserted by her wealthy husband, Lucy is left penniless with an aging mother and her five-year-old daughter to support. Desperate to survive, Lucy 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 creative designs and her remarkable eye for color to take her place in the fashion world—failure 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 fashion label Lucile, her marriage to her second husband, and her legacy. But no matter what life throws at her, Lucy will live on as a trailblazing and innovative fashion icon, never letting go of what she worked so hard to earn. This is her story.

     My Review: Lady Duff Gordon was a famous fashion designer in the early 20th century. She was also a Titanic survivor. A Dress of Violet Taffeta begins with Lucy being abandoned by her husband. In order to support herself and her daughter, Lucy makes dresses for wealthy women. This leads to her becoming a celebrated designer. The novel also tells the story of her marriage to her second husband and her harrowing tale of survival on the ill-fated Titanic.

    Before reading A Dress of Violet Taffeta, I knew very little about Lady Duff Gordon. However, I found her to be a fascinating heroine. Lucy is not only a very strong woman, but she is also a clever entrepreneur. She uses her passions for clothes to pursue her own career. Therefore, I really admire Lady Duff Gordon’s ability to innovate and be able to become successful. I also like her relationship with her maid, Celia. They had a true friendship and she played a major role in Lucy’s success. Thus, Lucy was a very compelling heroine, and I was glued to my seat to see how the novel ended.

     Overall, A Dress of Violet Taffeta is about friendship, dreams, and survival. The message of this novel is to never give up and to pursue your passions. I found all the characters to be very complex and developed. Some of the things I did not like about this book were that I thought Celia’s narration often detracted from Lucy’s story. There were also some slow parts in the story that I thought were unnecessary. Still, there is a lot of glitz and glamor that will keep you captivated. A Dress of Violet Taffeta is full of drama and reads like a soap opera. It is also rich in historical detail and is very lyrical. This novel is a must read for fashion enthusiasts. I recommend this novel for fans of By Her Own Design, Mademoiselle Chanel, and The It Girls!

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


Popular posts from this blog

The Magnificent Lives of Marjorie Post by Allison Pataki: A Book Review

The Magnificent Lives of Marjorie Post Author: Allison Pataki Genre: Historical Fiction Publisher: Ballantine Release Date: February 15, 2022 Pages: 381 Source: Netgalley/Publisher in exchange for an honest review. Synopsis: Mrs. Post, the President and First Lady are here to see you. . . . So begins another average evening for Marjorie Merriweather Post. Presidents have come and gone, but she has hosted them all. Growing up in the modest farmlands of Battle Creek, Michigan, Marjorie was inspired by a few simple rules: always think for yourself, never take success for granted, and work hard—even when deemed American royalty, even while covered in imperial diamonds. Marjorie had an insatiable drive to live and love and to give more than she got. From crawling through Moscow warehouses to rescue the Tsar’s treasures to outrunning the Nazis in London, from serving the homeless of the Great Depression to entertaining Roosevelts, Kennedys, and Hollywood’s biggest stars, Marjorie Merriweath

The Rose Code by Kate Quinn: A Book Review

The Rose Code Author: Kate Quinn Genre: Historical Fiction Publisher: Harper Collins Release Date: 2021 Pages: 635 Source: Netgalley/Publisher in exchange for an honest review. Synopsis: 1940, Bletchley Park, Buckinghamshire.        Three very different women are recruited to the mysterious Bletchley Park, where the best minds in Britain train to break German military codes.       Vivacious debutante Osla has the dashing Prince Philip of Greece sending her roses – but she burns to prove herself as more than a society girl, working to translate decoded enemy secrets. Self-made Mab masters the legendary codebreaking machines as she conceals old wounds and the poverty of her East-End London upbringing. And shy local girl Beth is the outsider who trains as one of the Park’s few female cryptanalysts.       1947, London.        Seven years after they first meet, on the eve of the royal wedding between Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip, disaster threatens. Osla, Mab and Beth are estranged,

Blog Tour: Kathy Fischer-Brown and A Book Review of Lord Esterleigh's Daughter ( Book 1 of the Serpent Tooth Trilogy)

Please join Kathy Fischer-Brown as she tours virtually for her Serpent's Tooth trilogy - Lord Esterleigh's Daughter, Courting the Devil, & The Partisan’s Wife - and her novel Winter Fire. Blog tour includes a chance to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card. See below to enter. Lord Esterleigh’s Daughter: Book 1, The Serpent’s Tooth trilogy Publication Date: June 13, 2012 Publisher: Books We Love Ltd. Formats: eBook, Paperback Pages: 346 Source: This book was given to me as part of the Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour   Synposis:  As a child, Anne Fairfield dreams of the father she never knew, the hero who died fighting the French and their Indian allies in a land across the sea. Her mother’s stories, and fantasies of her own devising, sustain and nurture her through a poor and lonely existence. Until one winter night, a strange man comes to call, and the life she has known comes crashing down like shattered glass. Forced to confront sordid truths, secrets and lies, t