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10 thoughts on “Unmentionables

  1. Kaylie Jones Kaylie Jones says:

    This is the flagship novel of my new imprint Kaylie Jones Books which I have started because I find there is little room for literary novels of this uality in mainstream publishing these daysAkashic Books which has for 15 years been championing the literary underdog allowed me to start this imprint under their aegis I will never be able to thank Johnny Temple publisher enoughThis novel reminds me of the best of Edith Wharton and Katherine Ann Porter It feels like a great American novel it holds between its covers all the vast space and close mindedness of the Midwest; however in keeping with the times in which we live it is uite short It has that breadth but reads fast and smooth The main characters are wonderfully complex and three dimensional flawed but human and full of compassionI am delighted that the book has received such vast praise already and is not even published yet It has been highlighted by the American Library Association; the Heartland Forum; and now has been chosen by the Midwest Booksellers Association as one of their three Midwest Connections Picks for January 2014

  2. Lora Dudding Lora Dudding says:

    I thought this book was going to be funny I was expecting a Fanny Flagg sort of small town story But it wasn't I found it to be mostly boring and a slow read The ending disappointed

  3. Yvette Yvette says:

    Laurie Loewenstein’s Unmentionables is the best work of historical fiction I have read in the past few years From the heat and excitement of the Chautauua assemblies to the prejudices and politics of segregated small town America to the dangerous French countryside of World War I the settings are firmly planted in 1917 Where some authors of the genre stop a story to relate facts they found through research this author seamlessly integrates her research into the story and a well researched story it is Complete with wonderful small details such as a shirtwaist that smells of starch a japanned tray and the use of “criminently”With a story revolving mainly around a suffragette and a small town publisher I expected the cause of the suffragette movement to be the primary impetus for conflict in the story But rather than a story about conflicts though there are several and they are uite interesting and serve the story well to me this is a novel focused on how the characters relate to each other and how they grow through their interactionsI expect that many readers of Unmentionables will identify with Marian or possibly Deuce or his step daughter Helen It surprised me partly because I didn’t have much sympathy for her initially when I found myself contemplating Tula after finishing the novel She had grown on me until I began identifying with her and ended up greatly enjoying her storyline As much as I enjoyed this novel and feel that this review does not do it justice there were a few minor points that were negatives for me and are only mentioned to give some little balance to this reviewThe name Deuce somehow just sits wrong with me I went into this novel with a prejudice against this name and did not lose my dislike of it though it was a bit better once I knew it was a nickname and the story behind itThe introduction of the ambulance drivers’ names was so abrupt that it took me out of the story as I tried to figure out who these new characters were and look back to see if I had missed an explanation for the use of nicknames such as “Links” and “The Gish”As this was an ARC that I won through the GoodReads First Reads program and I was thrilled to get it the title alone had me hooked I was very surprised to find only one typo – the omission of the word “to” on page 145 of my copy which is an incredibly minor problem and probably fixedThis is definitely a novel I would recommend but maybe not so much to my mother as she really wouldn’t approve of the brief and non gratuitous sexual content and will be putting it in the re read this section of my bookshelves

  4. Heather Heather says:

    This was a great historical novel that in spite of it's setting 95 years ago has many parallels in today's society when it comes to issues of gender race ethnicity and class I felt very invested in the well being of the protagonists especially Marian and Helen who are modern early 20th century women in different stages of life one established in her career during a time when women were generally expected to aspire only to marriage and motherhood and the other yearning to break away from her small town and make her way in the wider world I'm looking forward to this book's publication in January 2014 and the author's talk book signing at the Colgate Bookstore in February

  5. Melissa Melissa says:

    This book make you proud to be a woman American French or otherwise a proud and strong woman Unmentionables deals with real historical issues which are still relevant today Realistic to the time period and very engaging You feel the book long after you are done Ms Loewenstein has the ability to transport you back to this time period Very very good read I won this book through goodreads

  6. Trish Goodwin Trish Goodwin says:


  7. Joyce Joyce says:

    Although the beginning of this novel was a slow start for me it uickly became much interesting and ended up being a very enjoyable and informative read What caught my interest initially about this novel was the mention of the Chatauua meetings These were traveling culturaleducational programs with speakers and other performers who went from town to town in rural areas The programs were held under tents My mother who was born in 1921 and grew up on a farm near a tiny community in south central KS told me about Chatauua meetings held in a town nearby when she was growing up She spoke of them as being very special events This novel starts out with a Chatauua meeting in 1917 in Emporia Indiana There is also an Emporia KS but I uickly realized it was not set there since this Emporia was described as a very small rural community and Emporia KS is much larger with a state university Marian one of the speakers on the Chatauua circuit talks about how women's underwear constricts a woman's activities at that time women's underwear was an 'unmentionable' topic so this is how the title of the novel comes about At the end of her talk she stumbles and sprains her ankle which results in her having to remain in Emporia a few days In that short time she has a major impact on the lives of 2 other people Deuce a middle aged widower and editor of the town's newspaper and his 19 year old stepdaughter Helen who wants to get out of Emporia and get on with her life She admires Marian and makes plans to go ahead and leave for Chicago Deuce has always tried to please everyone and avoid confrontation at all costs resulting in his father in law basically running his life Marian encourages him to be willing to take a stand on issues After leaving Emporia Marian goes on to volunteer in France with a Red Cross unit There are other secondary characters but the 3 people mentioned above are the key characters in the novel and the novel goes back and forth between these characters telling their story each of which was eually interesting During the course of the novel they all face challenges and grow from those experiences to become stronger people Deuce was my favorite character because he seemed to be the most 'human' of them revealing character ualities so common to many people but then finally growing in courage This novel involves racial issues the women's suffrage movement a touch of romance and a vivid portrayal of the experiences of a Red Cross unit on the battlefield in France I highly recommend it for anyone who enjoys historical fiction

  8. Erin Clark Erin Clark says:

    Unmentionables by Laurie Lowenstein is uite an interesting and captivating read Marian Elliott Adams is traveling speaker for the summer Chautauua a series of entertainment and educational events that made it's way through rural North America in the early 1900's She is a radical as far as women's clothing is concerned espousing freedom of movement in women's undergarments rather than the restrictive and tight corsets and petticoats of the day How else can women compete with men in the workplace if they can't move freely? While speaking in the town of Emporia one hot August night she inadvertently falls off the stage and sprains her ankle forcing her to stay in Emporia much longer than she had planned Here she meets Deuce the publisher of the local paper his spirited daughter Helen who is desperate to get out of small town life and try her hand in the big city helping the suffragette cause and several other interesting characters After Marian leaves Emporia she still keeps in touch through letter writing with Deuce and Helen The story follows the year after the Chautauua and what befalls the characters during this time World War I is a main focus and Marian travels to France to work with the Red Cross Deuce confronts his demons regarding his family lineage and Helen learns that even though the world doesn't seem to want change it is inevitable and she wants to be a part of it I thought this was a very well written novel full of historical accuracy and interesting characters Highly recommended

  9. Cathy Cole Cathy Cole says:

    Loewenstein does a marvelous job of drawing readers right into the time period and the setting It's 1917 America has entered World War I women are struggling for eual rights and the small town seems to be the backbone of the country In Unmentionables small towns are like the last bastion of traditions and ideas that need to change the place of women in the world war racism to name a few What I liked is the fact that these topics were woven seamlessly into the narrative There wasn't any preachingI picked up this book because I'd really enjoyed Loewenstein's Dust Bowl era mystery Death of a Rainmaker At the outset I was lulled into thinking Unmentionables was going to be a light enjoyable read of little conseuence I was very wrong Each character has his or her own unmentionable secrets and desires and each character is allowed to develop fully than readers initially expect Loewenstein's descriptive powers are wonderful for example I've tucked away the description of Mrs Sieve to savor over and over again If you're in the mood for well written historical fiction that gives you a vivid setting and characters whose interwoven lives make you think about life and love and hate and all sorts of things I recommend you find a copy of Laurie Loewenstein's Unmentionables It's a winner

  10. Kathy Grispon Kathy Grispon says:

    Maria Elliot Adams is a progressive thinking lecturer on the prairie tent show circuit traveling from Midwest town to town The subject of her speech was focused on the restrictive unmentionables women were forced to wear in the workplace In 1915 the traditional five layers of undergarments like corsets restricted movement and breathing Her trend of thinking was an off shoot of the Woman's Suffragette movement In small town Emporia Illinois this was controversial for the time period On her way off the stage Marian trips and injures her ankle and is forced to stay in Emporia while the tent show moves onto the next town While in town she is interviewed by newspaper editor Deuce and his daughter Helen During her stay in town she gets involved in small town life Helen falls under her influence and goes to Chicago to become a part of the suffragette movement While Marian goes to France to volunteer for the Red Cross during WWI Interesting aspects into these two movements but not enough substance Weak ending

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Unmentionables Exceptionally readable and highly recommended Library Journal starred reviewA January 2014 MIBA Midwest Connections pickEngaging first work from a writer of evident ability Kirkus Reviews Marian Elliot Adams'tale is contagiously enthusiastic Publishers Weekly Unmentionables is a sweeping and memorable story of struggle and suffrage love and redemptionLoewenstein has skilfully woven a story and a cast of characters that will remain in the memory long after the book’s last page has been turned New York Journal of BooksReaders will be fascinated by this timeless glimpse into a slice of American history on the brink of significant change whose memorable characters are both vulnerable and engaging I loved this book Boswell Book Company staff pick Unmentionables starts small and expands to touch Chicago and war torn France as Laurie Loewenstein weaves multiple points of view together to create a narrative of social change and the stubbornness of the human heart Black Heart Magazine A historical feminist romance in the positive senses of all three terms a realistic evocation of small town America circa 1917 including its racial tensions; a tale about standing up for the euitable treatment of women; and a story about two lonely people who overcome obstacles including their own character defects to find love together Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 96 Books For Your Summer Reading ListMarian Elliot Adams an outspoken advocate for sensible undergarments for women sweeps onto the Chautauua stage under a brown canvas tent on a sweltering August night in 1917 and shocks the gathered town of Emporia with her speech How can women compete with men in the work place and in life if they are confined by their undergarments The crowd is further appalled when Marian falls off the stage and sprains her ankle and is forced to remain among them for a week As the week passes she throws into turmoil the town's unspoken rules governing social order women and Negroes The recently widowed newspaper editor Deuce Garland his lapels glittering with fraternal pins has always been a community booster his desire to conform rooted in a legacy of shame his great grandfather married a black woman and the town will never let Deuce forget it especially not his father in law the owner of the newspaper and Deuce's boss Deuce and his father in law are already at odds since the old man refuses to allow Deuce's stepdaughter Helen to go to Chicago to fight for women's suffrageBut Marian's arrival shatters Deuce's notions of what is acceptable versus what is right and Deuce falls madly in love with the tall activist from New York During Marian's stay in Emporia Marian pushes Deuce to become a greater braver and dynamic man than he ever imagined was possible He takes a stand against his father in law by helping Helen escape to Chicago; and he publishes an article exposing the county's oldest farm family as the source of a recent typhoid outbreak risking his livelihood and reputation Marian's journey takes her to the frozen mud of France's Picardy region just beyond the lines to help destitute villagers as the Great War rages on Helen in Chicago is hired as a streetcar conductor surrounded by bitter men who resent her taking a man's job Meanwhile Deuce struggles to make a living and find his place in Emporia's wider community after losing the newspaperMarian is a powerful catalyst that forces nineteenth century Emporia into the twentieth century; but while she agitates for enlightenment and justice she has little time to consider her own motives and her extreme loneliness Marian in the end must decide if she has the courage to face small town life and be known or continue to be a stranger always passing through

  • Paperback
  • 320 pages
  • Unmentionables
  • Laurie Loewenstein
  • 04 September 2016
  • 9781617751943

About the Author: Laurie Loewenstein

Laurie Loewenstein a fifth generation Midwesterner is a descendent of farmers butchers and salesmen She grew up in central and western Ohio She has a BA and MA in history Loewenstein was a reporter feature and obituary writer for several small daily newspapersIn her fifties she returned to college for an MA in Creative Writing Her first novel Unmentionables 2014 was selected as a Mid