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Colgate Bookstore hosts conversation with author Laurie Loewenstein

— The Colgate Bookstore will host an author talk with Laurie Loewenstein, author of the new novel “Unmentionables,” at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 4, on the third floor of the Colgate Bookstore, 3 Utica St. The event is free and open to the public.

Local blogger and occasional journalist Sami Martinez will facilitate a conversation between the audience and Loewenstein. Warm drinks and dessert will be provided while discussing historical fiction and the roles of American women in society during the second decade of the 20th century. A book-signing will follow.

Copies of the author’s novels will be available at 25 percent off at the Colgate Bookstore prior to Feb. 4 and at full price during the event.

“Unmentionables” begins when Marian Elliott Adams, an outspoken advocate for sensible undergarments for women, sweeps onto the Chautauqua stage under a brown canvas tent on a sweltering August night in 1917. She shocks the gathered town of Emporia with her speech: How can women compete with men in the work place and in life if they are confined by their undergarments? The crowd is further appalled when Marian falls off the stage and sprains her ankle, and is forced to remain among them for a week.

As the week passes, she throws into turmoil the town’s unspoken rules governing social order, women and blacks. Marian is a powerful catalyst that forces 19th-century Emporia into the 20th century; but while she agitates for justice, she has little time to consider her own motives and her extreme loneliness. Marian, in the end, must decide if she has the courage to face small-town life and be known, or continue to be a stranger always passing through.

Laurie Loewenstein grew up in the flatlands of western Ohio and now resides in Rochester, N.Y., where Susan B. Anthony was arrested for voting in 1872. A 1976 graduate of Colgate University, she received a master’s degree in history from Syracuse University. “Unmentionables” (Akashic Books, 2014) is her first novel.

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