Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap

Through all the changes happening during the last 20 to 30 years in technology, we sometimes forget changes also happened in the realm of social attitudes. Today's book is set in 1895 but it could have just as easily been set in 1959 or even today.  Because, although social attitudes change, the nature of people has not. The 'Persecution of Mildred Dunlap' by Paulette Mahurin explores old prejudices, now mostly gone, and the underlying, unrelenting evil in some people still with us today.

At Amazon
The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap
By Paulette Mahurin
Publisher CreateSpace
Length 204 pages

From Amazon:
A women's Brokeback Mountain. The year was filled with memorable historical events: the Dreyfus Affair divided France; Booker T. Washington gave his Atlanta address; the United States expanded the effects of the Monroe Doctrine in South America; and Oscar Wilde was tried and convicted for gross indecency under Britain's recently passed law that made sex between males a criminal offense. When news of Wilde's conviction went out over telegraphs worldwide, it threw a small Nevada town into chaos. This is the story of what happened when the lives of its citizens were impacted by the Wilde news. It is a chronicle of hatred and prejudice with all its unintended and devastating consequences, and how love and friendship bring strength and healing.

All profits are going to Santa Paula Animal Rescue Center, Ventura County, CA. (the first and only no-kill animal shelter in Ventura County). For more info contact the author through Facebook. Buy a book; save a life.

About the book:
      Mildred Dunlap is a rich woman living on a ranch just outside a small town in Nevada. She arrives in town just in time to hear all the excitement over a recently arrived telegram; telegrams are the way the town gets news of the outside world. It is this telegram that leads to the fracturing of Mildred's life.
       Gossiping never stops in a little town and the new focus of this gossip is Oscar Wilde. Realizing the danger all this new talk can bring, Mildred forms a plan to keep the town's people at bay. But this plan, involving a recent widower named Charley, might be more harmful than helpful. Especially with gossip and self-appointed town matriarch, Josie, chasing an unrealistic hatred of Mildred. Josie is determined to find out what secrets Mildred is hiding at her ranch. That hatred blinds Josie to the high costs others are forced to pay for her foolishness.

My take:
     First, I truly liked this book. In fact, I liked it so well, I bought my mother a paperback copy of it!
     This straightforward tale about the pain others can cause through hatred and bigotry is cleanly written in an appealing style. Though the book involves homosexuality, it is not the crux in this timeless tale as the 'secret' could be anything from a child born out of wedlock to hidden goldmine. Instead, it is a tale of what gossip and hatred can do to not only those directly involved but to everyone on the edges.
     Mahurin does a splendid job of creating clear images without an overabundance of words. The motives of her main character are understandable and Mildred's stubbornness when things start to fall apart blend together to form an interesting personality. Josie's dogged pursuit of Mildred will remind many of Gladys Kravitz, but with a mean streak.
    Although Mahurin "wastes no words" style is one of the appealing things about this book, I do wish she would have fleshed out the two brokers and the background of that particular scene a bit more.

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this tale. Anyone who likes quick, clean reads with plenty of humanity should enjoy this story.





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  1. Thank you so much, Sunday, for your time and this great review. I'm grateful for it. Paulette

  2. I read Mrs. Mahurin's story last December. The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap is a great story. A well written novel, with an interesting plot, real food for thought. Though it is set in 1895, the theme is still alive. It is a book on ignorance, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, on tolerance, friendship and love. I highly recommend this book!

    1. Thank you, Carmen. Sadly, the themes of intolerance & bigotry are very much alive. It'd be great if we could get some cracks in the cosmic egg to let a little more light in to the fact that we are all humans and as long as we're not hurting anyone can we embrace our differences instead of wanting to harm another? I'm grateful for your comment here. Paulette

  3. This was one of my favourite reads of 2012. I loved the message that it sends, the writing and the Oscar Wilde quotes. I recommend it to anyone who likes a good read.

    1. Thank you, Kerry. A lot of the Oscar Wilde quotes came from his time in prison when he wrote De Profundis to his lover. It's one of the most poignant, eloquent, soulful and honest writing I've ever read. Paulette


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