Blog Tour: ‘Unspeakable’ by Caroline Pignat Review and Guestpost

I received this book for free from requested from publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Blog Tour: ‘Unspeakable’ by Caroline Pignat Review and GuestpostUnspeakable by Caroline Pignat
Published by Penguin Group (Canada) on May 6th, 2014
Genres: Historical, Retelling, Young Adult
Pages: 336
Format: ARC
Source: requested from publisher
On her first voyage as a stewardess aboard the Empress of Ireland, Ellie is drawn to the solitary fire stoker who stands by the ship’s rail late at night, often writing in a journal.

Jim. Ellie finds it hard to think of his name now. After their wonderful time in Quebec City, that awful night happened. The screams, the bodies, the frigid waters … she tries hard to tell herself that he survived, but it’s hard to believe when so many didn’t. So when Wyatt Steele, journalist atThe New York Times asks her for her story, Ellie refuses. But when he shows her Jim’s journal, she jumps at the chance to be able to read it herself, to find some trace of the man she had fallen in love with, or perhaps a clue to what happened to him. There’s only one catch: she will have to tell her story to Steele and he’ll “pay” her by giving her the journal, one page at a time.

Chapters/IndigoGood Reads

guest post

Inspiration for my characters comes from a few places. Some happens from researching the real life people of the time. For example, Ellie’s stewardess experiences were inspired by the memoirs of Violet Jessop, a woman who had served aboard several huge liners including the Titanic.

Ellie’s inner strength and determined spirit is based on my grandmother who passed away as I was writing this book. Having Granny on my mind so much as I wrote definitely flavoured Ellie’s character.

Jerry Spinelli gave a writing workshop in 2003 where he said to “start with an emotionally charged memory.” I’ve tried to do that with my writing ever since and to pass it on to my students. For me, emotionally charged memories are key to developing engaging characters.

A big part of Ellie is me. Her fears and insecurities are rooted in mine. I never experienced a tragic sinking or any of the other obstacles she faces, but I know loss and grief. I know what it’s like to be limited by the labels or expectations of others. Getting in touch with those feelings really helped me express them through Ellie — and amazingly, Ellie taught me a new way of seeing things.


I didn’t really know what to expect with Unspeakable since it sounded so much like Titanic. The story set-up was just like the movie as well since the story is being narrated and it unravels all at the same time.

The beginning reminded me so much of the Titanic. Different classes coming together and falling in love. I had no clue where the love story came from and it was rather quick. Maybe I missed how extended the timeline was. At first I was rather annoyed at the flipping back and forth of past and present, but I finally got used to it after the first 100 pages or so. The pacing is pretty much perfect and that’s probably why I didn’t want this to end. Everything came together at a wonderful time and I was never bored with it. I did have to say that the revelations that Ellie was hiding was pretty controversial back then, but now it wouldn’t be so bad.

What made me keep on reading were the secrets..The secrets the characters were hiding. The romance left me reeling with some of the feels, but I did have to ask why the love was so instant. I love the way Caroline wrote how the ship looked like, how the death and loss that were evident in most of the characters lives and always trying to hide it away. You can tell she did her research and did it well.

Overall, a very good read that will make you want to hug your loved ones for you wouldn’t wish such a tragic accident happening to anyone.

reading progress



But I liked the work. I liked feeling needed. I like doing something that mattered. (36)
I wanted an…adventure of my own. (66)
Mine was just another story, one of the many he juggled. Mind you, he just had to write it. I had to carry it. To bear it. To live with it. (125)
You are my hope…and I won’t lose you, Ellie. I won’t. (143)
A man who told me I was beautiful. I wanted his attention and the more he totes with me, the more I flirted, completely ignorant to the danger of the fire I was stroking. (189)
Even if were eighteen or were in a relationship, nothing gives a man the right to ignite your ‘no.’ (190)
Every character learns his true strengths by facing those things that might kill him. (212)
I saw them for what they are. People. (217)
There’s a risk in every adventure. In not knowing where you might end up, figuring it out as you go along. That’s what makes it an adventure. (231)
We stand up for what is right, no matter what the cost. (280)




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