Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Unsuitable” as Want to Read:
The Unsuitable
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Unsuitable

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  33 ratings  ·  27 reviews
A fierce blend of Gothic ghost story and Victorian novel of manners that’s also pitch perfect for our current cultural moment

Iseult Wince is a Victorian woman perilously close to spinsterhood whose distinctly unpleasant father is trying to marry her off. She is awkward, plain, and most pertinently, believes that her mother, who died in childbirth, lives in the scar on her
Hardcover, 288 pages
Expected publication: April 14th 2020 by Henry Holt and Co.
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Unsuitable, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Unsuitable

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.64  · 
Rating details
 ·  33 ratings  ·  27 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Unsuitable
CloudOfThoughts_Books Keirstin
Aug 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Unsuitable by author Molly Pohlig is so far a GREAT fiction! I will update review in full closer to release date. The Unsuitable releases next year in April!

Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for an arc copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Dec 09, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
**Trigger warning: self-harm, cutting, suicide**

Iseult Wince is awkward and plain. Her dad is determined to marry her off, but Iseult keeps running them off. Her mother died in childbirth and Iseult believes that she lives in the scar on her neck, a scar that is a constant reminder of her part in her mother’s death. When her father finally finds her a suitor that will marry her, her mother becomes more vocal and violent and drives Iseult to do the unthinkable.

Iseult is probably the most
Sep 16, 2019 rated it really liked it

This was…a lot of somethings.

I’m going to just throw a bunch of trigger warnings on it now.

Trigger warnings: self mutilation, suicide, blood.

This is Gothic Victorian Horror with lots and lots of self mutilation. If you are in any way uncomfortable with that, please do not read any further. Thank you.

This is the story of Iselut Wince. A 20 something year old in the Victorian times whose father seeks to find a proper suitor for her.

Just a couple of issues.

She’s 28 so nun age in those times,
Mary Proietti
Jul 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A wonderfully dark and unique novel that keeps you in suspense and ends with a bang!
Aug 18, 2019 rated it it was ok
This is a story about a young woman whose mother lives in her neck. That’s actually how the author herself pithily described the book in her afterword. But, obviously, there’s more to the story than that. The thing is, though, not that much more. In fact, it probably would have made a much more potent short story or a novella. On the novel canvas, it seems somewhat stretched out quite thin. The young woman does indeed have her mother with her at all times as it were in a most unusual fashion of ...more
Nov 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Whee! This was weird and super gross and also kind of hilarious in a way that made me feel a little guilty for laughing yet unable to stop myself.

Labeling this book gothic horror is a bit misleading. It’s a good deal more visceral than standard gothic. Stabbing oneself in the neck with sewing scissors is a good deal more, um, modern in its brand of horror than the typical Creepy Thing Stalking Around in Attic motif of the genre.

Still, that’s a publisher’s error, as I don’t think the author
Joanna Bennett
Sep 07, 2019 rated it it was ok
Maybe a 2.5 at times.

The plot twists were not shocking and the characters were just meh.

Full Review to Come Closer to Publication date.
Jan 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 10, 2019 rated it liked it
First off, if you are sensitive to self-harm, suicidal thoughts or actions, or blood in your books, this isn’t the one for you.

I’m fine with reading about all of that business, so I just kinda went for it.

Iseult is a fairly interesting, although not particularly complex character. All of her motivations are pretty self-explanatory, so I didn’t have to do a lot of logic-leaping. She believes that her dead mother resides within a scar in her shoulder, and that she speaks to her. Sometimes so
Dec 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Thank you you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This is 3.75 stars rounded up.

Did I know this was Victorian Gotchic horror going into this novel? No. Did I appreciate it? YES! Who even knew this genre existed? (Don’t answer that, I’m probably very late to the game).

My one biggest gripe about this book is that it would have made such a better short story than it did a novel. With just under 300 pages, this was by no
Pohlig creates a very different take on the Victorian ghost story. Iseult, a young woman of good breeding who is approaching the age of settled spinsterhood, is dressed in mourning for her mother and has been for her entire life. Her mother died shortly after her birth, and her father has never forgiven Iseult. He means to marry her off so he will be free of her, presenting unsuitable candidates in a seemingly unending parade. But Iseult has no intention of marrying anyone. Iseult is haunted by ...more
Erica Clashe
Oct 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I just read an ARC of this and it was my spooky jam. Feminist Gothic horror, a surreal rom com gone wrong, and woeful Victorian melodrama. The central concept is enticing: Iseult is haunted by her mother, Beatrice, who died in childbirth. I liked the portrayal of the ghost as both a voice in Iseult’s head and a physical presence in her neck (some parts really lean into the body horror of this idea). There’s a grim sense of humor throughout, including a memorable and wickedly funny death scene in ...more
Chad Guarino
Jan 09, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: netgalley
The Unsuitable is the strange story of a Victorian-era woman who believes her mother, killed giving birth to her, now resides in a scar on her neck. Marketed as a "gothic ghost story", this tale probably falls closer to the My Chemical Romance side of the gothic spectrum than to Rebecca. Huge quantities of self-harm and blood abound as a cast of unlikable characters largely do nothing over the span of almost 300 pages. The ending is macabre but unfortunately telegraphed within the first few ...more
Nov 25, 2019 rated it liked it
I wanted to love this book as the description sounded right up my alley, but ultimately, it just wasn't for me. I think the combination of antiquated subject matter and somewhat experimental literary fiction made it too difficult for me to fully connect. With these sorts of books, it seems the challenge is to really set a hook at the outset or to modernize the protagonist to a degree that she is relatable, so that we are then fully on board. I feel like I am the target demographic here (late ...more
Oct 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Unsuitable by Molly Pohlig was a wonderfully creepy read for the Halloween season. While there are not a lot of events in the book, there is a never-ending battle going on between the main character and the dead mother she hears in her thoughts at all times. I was compelled from the very first chapter to find out the truth and, for all the main character's faults, I was rooting for her to find some sort of happiness.

The ending was a little rushed and unhappy for my taste and there were
Mrs. Salgy
Aug 25, 2019 rated it liked it
“The Unsuitable” is a story about what happens when the truth is a lie and a lie is the truth. Iseault, a young woman living with the damage wrought from her birth, goes through life with a literal devil on her shoulder-her mother. Trapped by her upbringing and the world that she has created, Iseault finds release in ways that are extreme, yet comforting, to her mind and soul. This is a true gothic horror, yet the characters are often stock and not given enough dimension to truly affect the ...more
Noreen Respectyourshelves Bruce
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
I’m good at a decent number of things. Sleeping isn’t one of them. But I think reading The Unsuitable at 3 AM may have heightened the experience.

This book is about a Victorian woman whose father is desperately trying to marry her off and whose deceased mother lives inside her. She hears her mother’s stream of consciousness-like words telling her what to do almost every moment of every day, and fights for control of her own thoughts, or simple peace and quiet, through whatever means necessary.
Denice Langley
Dec 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
An unsuitable life lived by a different kind of character as she faces many unsuitable events during her short life. A very good descriptor for this book is Different, with a capital D. It's easy to lose track of the story if you do not pay close attention to the dialog between all of the characters. That being said, the story and characters are fascinating in a weird way. At no time did I lose interest in the book, I had to back up a few times, but at the end, felt the story was well worth my ...more
Cathe Olson
Nov 15, 2019 rated it liked it
Uncomfortable read about a young woman who believes she is responsible for her mother's death because it occurred during childbirth. However, the mother is still alive "inside" of her and the only way to stop her mother's voice is to self-mutilate herself. Meanwhile, her father hates her and is trying to marry her off to get her out of his life. The writing is good but the mutilation is just too gross and the character of the daughter and father are completely unlikable. It was a relief when the ...more
Sep 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I’ve just read a book about a girl who believes her dead mother lives in the scar on her neck. And I liked it.
Most definitely a page turner, this one starts off weird. It finishes weird, too, but you’ve got the sense of and embrace the weird well before then. I liked the characters. Iseult, Mrs. Pennington, Jacob. As troubled as she was, I was rooting for Iseult and was intrigued by her plight.
I’m glad to have had the opportunity to read a copy before its release and recommend it.

And now
Oct 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a very strange and sad book. It was interesting, well-written, and thought-provoking, but I don’t know that I would necessarily recommend it to anyone unless I knew they were into dark psychologically challenging books. I didn’t really enjoy reading it but acknowledged while I was reading it that it was a good book. I was leaning toward 3 stars but ended up giving it 4 due to the writing.

I received a complimentary ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Johnna Whetstone
Nov 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
3-4 stars. This was a good book, which was well written and characters developed flawlessly. With that said, I’ll say that it had some subject manner many might not like, borders a bit dark, so if it’s not your thing you will not enjoy. It was definitely creepy, but also strange, but overall I greatly enjoyed it. Will make sure I recommend to others.
I will make sure I buzz it around!
Dec 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ghost-story
This was a fascinating read about the psyche of a tortured young woman in Victorian England. There isn't a lot of plot, but rather the novel serves as more of a character study. There's some pretty heavy-handed, but well-integrated, feminist themes. I enjoyed it and it's a fairly quick read, so I recommend to anyone who likes a good Victorian quasi-ghost story.
Morgan Schulman
Jan 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reader-s-copy
I received an advanced readers copy in exchange for an honest review

Unusual little book, a very fast read but dense and rewarding, with a muted amount of cheesiness for a gothic ghost story. Good for a cold quiet night
Jan 03, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
A unique story —moody, gothic, gruesome at times, with a sad kind of bleakness throughout. Will make you so glad to not have been a woman living during Victorian times…
D.J. Mitchell
Nov 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Review coming closer to publication. All I can say now is wow! That was strange and troubling. Different than anything I’ve ever read. Definitely not a book for the faint of heart.
rated it liked it
Nov 26, 2019
rated it really liked it
Dec 03, 2019
rated it really liked it
Oct 10, 2019
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Darling Rose Gold
  • Dreamland
  • The Deep
  • The Roxy Letters
  • Behind Every Lie
  • Ghoster
  • The Dead Girls Club
  • The Better Liar
  • Follow Me
  • Mr. Nobody
  • The Twisted Ones
  • Been There, Married That
  • Now You See Me
  • The Look-Alike
  • A Good Neighborhood
  • My Dark Vanessa
  • The Only Good Indians
  • The God Game
See similar books…
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »