Unspeakable: Book 1

Paperback | May 6, 2014

byCaroline Pignat

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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 at The 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.

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From the 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 frig...

 Caroline Pignat is the award-winning author of four critically acclaimed YA novels, including Egghead, a Red Maple Honour book, and Greener Grass, the 2009 Governor General’s Award winner. A high-school teacher, she lives in Ottawa.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:336 pages, 8.5 × 5.5 × 0.9 inPublished:May 6, 2014Publisher:PRH Canada Young ReadersLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0143187554

ISBN - 13:9780143187554

Customer Reviews of Unspeakable: Book 1

Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Loveeeeeed it! 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.
Date published: 2014-10-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from good plot, great characters and a compelling setting I was immediately attracted to the synopsis of this book, especially when I found it to be centered around the sinking of the Empress of Ireland, which suffered the same tragedy as the Titanic. What's more, the setting takes place between Liverpool and Quebec City, which I've visited many times and is situated but a couple of hours from where I live. Ellen Hardy, heiress to Hardy Estate is innocently caught in a bad situation that costs her everything. She's finally sent to work as a stewardess on the Empress, a beautiful ship that rivals the Titanic, where she meets solitary fire stoker Jim Farrow. They form a friendship and bond as two souls deeply hurt and hiding shameful secrets. When the Empress is struck and most passengers die, Ellen survives but with the loss of Meg, her one true friend and Jim, the man she was beginning to love. When an American journalist wants her story, she refuses, never wanting to relive that horrible night again. But she is persuaded when he shows her Jim's journal. Desperate to know if Jim may also have survived she agrees to tell her whole story and the journalist will pay her by giving her the journal, one page at a time. This book reminded me of some elements of the Titanic movie, but it has its own story, of course. I love YA historical fiction and this one kept me turning the pages. The scenes of the sinking reminded me exactly of those described when the Titanic sank, and it was heart-wrenching to read about. I was surprised that I never knew about what is considered Canada's forgotten and worst Maritime disaster, which happened only two years after the Titanic. Ellen is a great character. A young woman who is taken advantage of and mistreated because of her father and society's lack of compassion. She suffers great losses, but learns to become a survivor rather than a victim. Jim is a compelling character too. There are great messages in this book, not just for teens but for all of us. The ones that stood out are: learning to find inner strength; learning to forgive oneself; and learning to move on without living in the past. I love reading books set in Canada and revolving around some Canadian historic event. This book has a good plot, great characters and a compelling setting. I thoroughly enjoyed this story and look forward to reading more works from this author. Note: This book contains religious expletives.
Date published: 2014-05-16

Extra Content

Editorial Reviews

PRAISE FOR Unspeakable:

"Perhaps most impressive is Pignat's tone. The novel is written in accessible language suitable for teens, yet the prose is polished and the plot intricate enough to satisfy adults as well. Mark Unspeakable as a YA title with huge crossover appeal." -- Starred Review, Quill & Quire