The Victorian era always looks so magical in films and paintings: beautiful dresses, luxurious estates, glamourous balls and events.  But looks have been deceiving when you find out the harsh reality of how things really were.  If you've ever been curious to know more about what life was really like for women in that era than you must read Unmentionable by Therese Oneill. 


Described as "The Victorian Lady's Guide to Sexy, Marriages and Manners" this book is an illustrated, uncensored and brutally honest guide to the daily life of white, middle-to-upper class women.   Ms Oneill is courageous as she takes on taboo subjects including contraception, menstruation, hysteria, and even syphilis...brought home by the wandering husband, no doubt.  Her endearing style of addressing the reader as "cherie", "lambkin" or even "dearie" gives the impression of having à private chat between girlfriends and somewhere softens the blow of the bald truth.  Women’s' lives were very controlled from standards of dress to proper health and beauty maintenance, from etiquette and comportment to marital obligations.  Intellectual pursuits were not encouraged; working was unthinkable, leaving most women with à life of boredom.  No wonder frustration mounted and hysteria flourished. (Hysteria seems to be a blanket term that probably included postpartum depression, epilepsy, stress and bipolar disorder, just to name a few.)

Read more and buy the book

Oneill has succeeded in presenting facts and extensive research in a highly readable and digestible format.   Unmentionable can't help but leave the female reader with a sense of appreciation for the freedoms of the 21st century.

The Paris Insider Newsletter

THE PARIS INSIDER family of weekly newsletters,Including THE PARIS INSIDER (Tuesday,) THE PARIS READERS CIRCLE (Wednesday,) THE PARIS WEEKENDER (Thursday,) and THE PARIS INTERVIEW (Friday) offer freshly written reviews about restaurants, museums, books, events, showings and what's on in Paris. Arriving at 9:15 AM Pacific Time you'll receive all of this plus tips on excursions to the surrounding regions from Champagne to the Loire Valley and much more. Thank you for subscribing.