The new book Unmentionables is set in the fictional town of Emporia, though the town might feel familiar to those from Macomb.
Author Laurie Loewenstein said her mother is from Macomb. When Loewenstein was growing up, she joined her mother to visit family in the western Illinois community.
“I have many fond memories of visiting Macomb during the summer,” she said. The memories were strong enough that she based aspects of Emporia on Macomb.
“Macomb was just a really beautiful little town (with its) courthouse square.”
She also said towns such as Macomb were a combination of fragility and tenacity.
“I was just really interested in those wide flatlands and these little small towns that were sort of huddled at the border of what once had been the frontier of the country,” Loewenstein said.
Unmentionables is set nearly a century ago and is centered around a character who was part of the Chautauqua circuit that featured speakers and musicians who traveled throughout the Midwest.
Loewenstein now lives in Rochester, NY, but will return to Macomb to give a presentation and read from the book. The event begins at 2:00 pm Saturday, February 22, at the Western Illinois Museum. It’s free and open to the public.
Unmentionables is her debut novel. Loewenstein said she spent about five years on it and found writing is not a solitary experience.
“Once you’ve written chapters or pieces you need to share it with other writers and get feedback,” she said, adding the feedback ultimately made it a much stronger book.