Book Review: A Dress of Violet Taffeta by Tessa Arlen

Title: A Dress of Violet Taffeta

By: Tessa Arlen

Genre: Historical

Pages: 352

Release Date: July 5th, 2022

Publisher: Berkley Books

Rating: ★★★★☆


Summary 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.


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An amazingly scrumptious read with a strong female lead.

I really loved this book. Tessa Arlen has an incredibly easy writing voice and her way with words paint a wonderful tale. The story of Lucy Duff-Gordon really came to life and made me want to know more about the real life fashion designer.

Arlen's story is wonderful. I fell in love with Lucy and was amazed by her strength in a time when women didn't always have the means to make a living for themselves. She built a fashion dynasty with her own two hands, survived the Titanic and dictated her own life after her first husband left her.

This was a great read from beginning to end.

Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review. 

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