On my list of fascinations in which I must read everything and anything about, includes Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. I’m not alone in this, because in the dedication page of Nicole Mary Kelby’s novel The Pink Suit, she writes For those of us who fell under her spell.
I fell under the Jackie spell when I watched The Kennedys miniseries in 2011, and spent the next three years reading everything I could about her.
Everyone knows how the Kennedy story ends. It’s been told and retold, hypothesized and conspired. But on that fateful day, Nov. 22, 1963, before and after the assassination, attention was drawn to Jackie’s double-breasted pink suit. Kelby’s novel imagines a tale of the hands that created the suit, weaved with historical details.
Kelby’s main character, Kate, is a young Irish immigrant who misses her homeland but also desires a career in New York, where she has found limited success as a seamstress at a couture boutique.
The pink suit is a piece of history in itself as Jackie chose to wear the blood-stained clothing after her husband’s assassination as Lyndon B. Johnson took the oath of office as president.
Today, the suit is stored in the National Archives where it will stay hidden from the public eye until at least 2103.
Kelby’s tale is a work of fiction that played out during a historical moment in time. For many during the Kennedy-era Jackie was viewed as untouchable. A beautiful figure to be adored from a distance. The Pink Suit offers just a glimpse of who Jackie was to one impressionable young woman.