Book Review – Unmentionable: The Victorian Lady’s Guide to Sex, Marriage, and Manners


Title- Unmentionable: The Victorian Lady’s Guide to Sex, Marriage, and Manners
Author- Therese Oneill
Published- 2016
Genre- Non-fiction, History, Humour
Length- 309 pages
Rating- 2.5/5

Synopsis (Goodreads)- Have you ever wished you could live in an earlier, more romantic era?

Ladies, welcome to the 19th century, where there’s arsenic in your face cream, a pot of cold pee sits under your bed, and all of your underwear is crotchless. (Why? Shush, dear. A lady doesn’t question.)

UNMENTIONABLE is your hilarious, illustrated, scandalously honest (yet never crass) guide to the secrets of Victorian womanhood, giving you detailed advice on:

~ What to wear
~ Where to relieve yourself
~ How to conceal your loathsome addiction to menstruating
~ What to expect on your wedding night
~ How to be the perfect Victorian wife
~ Why masturbating will kill you
~ And more

Irresistibly charming, laugh-out-loud funny, and featuring nearly 200 images from Victorian publications, UNMENTIONABLE will inspire a whole new level of respect for Elizabeth Bennett, Scarlet O’Hara, Jane Eyre, and all of our great, great grandmothers.

(And it just might leave you feeling ecstatically grateful to live in an age of pants, super absorbency tampons, epidurals, anti-depressants, and not-dying-of-the-syphilis-your-husband-brought-home.)

Review- So, this isn’t the type of book I normally go for but I saw it on BookTube and thought it sounded interesting.

Well….it was ok.

The information is interesting enough but it is pretty brief, there is a lot of padding, the actual information would fit into a book of about 50 pages. The book covers a range of topics as the synopsis says but some are given a lot more attention than others, and unfortunately those given the most attention are the least interesting. Most of the information I also already knew, at least the gist of it, so I don’t feel like I really got anything much out of this book.

A lot of space is taken up by  photos and drawings, many of which aren’t that interesting, some are ok, but they often don’t add a lot, many are just standard looking pictures of Victorian women. The most interesting ones are the advertisements, but the writing is very small on most of them so they are difficult to read. There are also a lot of quotes on the various topics from old Victorian books, again, some are interesting, some aren’t.

The writing tries to be funny and it’s not. Again, it is just ok. The author is basically trying to be your buddy but it’s just a bit sad.

I wouldn’t really recommend this, I don’t think it is worth the price I paid.


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