Monday, May 5, 2014

The Pink Suit-Nicole Mary Kelby

The Pink Suit Nicole Mary Kelby Little, Brown, Apr 29 2014, $26.00 ISBN: 9780316235655 Kate came from the Great Island in Cobh, Ireland to work as a seamstress in Manhattan’s Chez Ninon Boutique, owned by upper crust Sophie Sonnard and Nona Park. The thirtyish Kate never comes out of the back room while sewing; as others do the fittings. Musing over how she only knows the Blue Book elite who buy her outfits if they are newsworthy photo famous enabling her to recognize her work. On November 22, 1963, President Kennedy and his wife Jacqueline, who rarely accompanied her husband on these trips, are in Dallas when he is assassinated. Watching on TV, Katie recognizes The Pink Suit and other wardrobe items that she created for the widowed First Lady worn at that fatal event. Struggling to accept the tragedy due to the now iconic infamous Pink Suit haunting her; Katie’s boyfriend Patrick Harris the butcher wants to marry her. Instead Katie turns to what she knows about Jackie from the media to guide her through her grief. This is an intriguing historical that uses the JFK assassination to tell the tale of a working class immigrant creating the wardrobe of the rich and famous. The well-written storyline comes across as a biographical and historiographical fiction with entertaining tidbits like the extraordinary care that goes into what the First Lady wore in public and the enormous classes’ divide that seems more prominent today. Although major events of the tumultuous 1960s (except for the assassination) are ignored and the protagonist’s relationships (except to the Pink Suit and Jackie) are underdeveloped, readers will appreciate this entertaining slice of the rise and fall of Camelot through the eyes of a troubled seamstress. Harriet Klausner

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