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The Unsuitable: A Novel

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  61 ratings  ·  46 reviews
Molly Pohlig's The Unsuitable is a fierce blend of Gothic ghost story and Victorian novel of manners thats 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
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Expected publication: April 14th 2020 by Brilliance Audio
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Average rating 3.70  · 
Rating details
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Miranda Reads

I can't help my addiction...aka here's a video tierlisting all my January Books. Now that you know where this one stands, check out the video to see the rest!

The Written Review:

This was.... certainly an odd one.

Review to come
Nenia ⚡ Aspiring Evil Overlord ⚡ Campbell
As a single bookworm in her 30s, I feel a special kinship with spinster bluestocking characters.

Totally unrelated.
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 mothers 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
CloudOfThoughts_Books Keirstin
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.
Sep 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This wasa lot of somethings.

Im 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.

Shes 28 so nun age in those times, her
Very darkly disturbing and probably the strangest thing I have ever read! The main characters mother died in childbirth having her, the baby shot out , umblilical cord around her throat and dead. She was saved by the nurse. Years later her deceased mom talks to her and harasses her from the scar. There is very disturbing suicide attempts , self harm and abuse. Her father tries to marry her off to no avail. A man whose skin is silver and comes along and offers to marry her. It's not an easy read ...more
Audra (ouija.doodle.reads)
A grim tale that you cant look away from yet are afraid to probe too closely, much like a crushed car on the side of the road. Why is it that we cling to the things that scare us? Perhaps mostly because it reminds us that we are still alive, that we are lucky to have survived another day.

In The Unsuitable, Iseult is trying her best to survive too. She is twenty-eight and basically a spinster, since her horrible father cant seem to marry her off. And why doesnt anyone feel inclined to ask for her
Mary Proietti
Jul 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A wonderfully dark and unique novel that keeps you in suspense and ends with a bang!
Nov 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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. Its 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, thats a publishers error, as I dont think the author intend
Aug 18, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is a story about a young woman whose mother lives in her neck. Thats actually how the author herself pithily described the book in her afterword. But, obviously, theres 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 a ...more
Joanna Bennett
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.
Becky Spratford
Review in the April 2020 issue of Library Journal and on the blog:

Three Words That Describe This Book: body horror, psychological, modern take on Gothic ghost story
Jan 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc-reviews
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 10, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
First off, if you are sensitive to self-harm, suicidal thoughts or actions, or blood in your books, this isnt the one for you.

Im 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 didnt 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
Mar 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arcs-physical
The Unsuitable by Molly Pohlig is the dark tale of a young woman, who is creeping towards the edge of madness, after being told her whole life that she was responsible for her mother's death.

Iseult Wince is a young Victorian woman, that has never quite fit in. Her father still blames her for her mother's death during birth, and treats her like a burden. People in town sneer whenever this mad woman passes by them. They all know her dark secret. Iseult is convinced that her mother continues to
Dec 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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? (Dont answer that, Im 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
Addie BookCrazyBlogger
Im a huge fan of horror movies but I feel like this book takes horror to a brand new level. I genuinely couldnt tell if I was dealing with a possession, a ghost or a really bad case of schizophrenia. Iseult is a Victorian age spinster (28) who lives at home, claiming that her mother lives in her neck. Her mother allegedly died via childbirth when the inexperienced midwife pulled Iseult out by her feet, causing Iseults collarbone to snap inside and her mother to bleed to death. Her father despise ...more
Erica Clashe
Oct 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 Iseults head and a physical presence in her neck (some parts really lean into the body horror of this idea). Theres a grim sense of humor throughout, including a memorable and wickedly funny death scene in a ...more
Rochelle Hickey
The Unsuitable was a creative read. It was enjoyable as a gothic novel but the suspense was slightly lacking.

The troubles that occur for Iseult very slowly grow throughout the novel but never feel dire even if it should. Her mother, who is a ghost in her collarbone (easiest way to describe it), physically manifests harm to Iseult but only in small threats that most of the time no one else knows about. Iseult does more harm to herself trying to get her mother to stop than her mothers harm does to
Wow. Not exactly what I was expecting, but then I only had the merest notion of what it was about going in.

Trigger warnings for graphic descriptions of self-harm, emotional abuse, and suicide. Definitely not a book for the faint of heart.

I really enjoyed this book. I'm actually kind of surprised how much I enjoyed it as I think back on it. Iseult isn't the most likable character, but I found her extremely compelling and a great answer to the Victorian archetypes of femininity. No, she's not an
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
Mar 21, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh boy, what a book.

This book is not at alllllll what I expected. Like literally, not at all.

The Unsuitable, is a novel focused on Iseult, a 28 year old, single woman, whose father is desperately trying to marry her off. Iseult is a tragic young woman who is haunted by the death of her mother (in more ways than one) and is seen as strange to those around her.

Characters were very well done: I loved Jacob. I wish the story had focused more on this lovely young man and his courting of Iseult. I
Chad Guarino
Jan 09, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was scared to read this book. Given the plot, if it was bad it was going to be really, really bad. I was surprised that I loved it. The writing is solid and the setting and characters are well developed. The plot is so unique and sad and moving that I couldn't put it down; I finished this in two days. This is not my genre, but it is thought provoking in how many forms parental relationships impact us and how badly it can go. The implications of that kind of damage are present before the reader ...more
Oct 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 22, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Irene Wince never really had a chance at a normal life. Her father loathes her. Injuries shes had since she was an infant still pain her. Oh, and her motherwho died in a terrible accident after giving birth to Irenehaunts Irene. Irene hears her mothers voice everywhere she goesexcept when she hurts herself. Molly Pohligs The Unsuitable is a disturbing portrait of a tormented young woman. This book is one of the most unsettling things Ive ever read...

Read the rest of my review at A Bookish Type.
Megan Houde
So it took me a couple days to figure what I wanted to write because this book is a whole lot of somethings..
First off, I thought the main character was whack. Heading her dead mothers voice who died in childbirth with her. Then she feels so at war with herself in society that she feels the need to compete with a deaf chick in her class 🤦♀ Oh boy! Shes just a mess. Secondly, it was slow pacing and took me a minute to get into.
A part of me loved this story, but another part of me was confused
Sep 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Im good at a decent number of things. Sleeping isnt 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 mothers 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.
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