By Paulette Mahurin
Length 204 pages
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.
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.