A powerful debut historical novel set in the Midwest in the early 1900s portrays an outspoken advocate for dress reform and women’s suffrage in the fictional small town of Emporia, IL.
“Engaging first work from a writer of evident ability.” — Kirkus Reviews
“Marian Elliot Adams’ … tale is contagiously enthusiastic.”– Publishers Weekly
“Laurie Loewenstein brings the reader into the past, to Chautauqua assemblies, World War I France, and Midwestern small-town life. But like all good historical fiction, Unmentionables uses the past as a way to illuminate large, pertinent questions—of race and gender, of love and death, of action and consequence. Meticulously researched and exquisitely written, Unmentionables is a memorable debut.” — Ann Hood, author of The Obituary Writer
Marian Elliott Adams, an outspoken advocate for sensible undergarments for women, sweeps onto the Chautauqua 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? During Marian’s stay in Emporia, Marian pushes prominent members of the community to become greater, braver, and more dynamic than they ever imagined was possible. Marian 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.
Laurie Loewenstein, a fifth-generation Midwesterner, grew up in the flatlands of western Ohio. She has master’s degrees in creative writing from Wilkes University and in history from Syracuse University. She now resides in Rochester, New York, where Susan B. Anthony lived and was arrested for voting in 1872.