“I was gifted a copy of this book by the author and I'm so so glad I read it! :D
The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap is a book that I think everyone must read. Through its beautiful words and thought provoking story it imparts valuable lessons. How a piece of news regarding someone else that challenges the people's thinking and their ideals, how it affects the people all over, even in small towns is described here. It beautifully shows how our mentality is and how we make rash judgments, weather we mean to or not, How our harsh words and comments hurt people, How people need to change and how an act of kindness affects others.
With this book I took my time reading because I didn't want to rush it. I wanted to think through and apply what I know. This book has been the most thought provoking book that I’ve ever read so far. I would constantly ask myself while reading the book – Do I do this? Do I behave like this? Undoubtedly my favorite character has to be Gus. I found his way of thinking intriguing and I could just hope to be a little bit like him. A little bit like Mildred too, kindness is often overlooked but one always remembers the person who has been kind to them. This book has inspired me to be a better person than I am today and honestly I am in a lack for words to describe how much this book has affected me.”
“I just finished reading The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap and loved it. Paulette Mahurin is a talented author with a wonderful style that makes for a worthwhile read. The story is an examination of bigotry, intolerance and hatred, and although set in the year 1895, is an allegory that could take place today. The characters are real, some too real, and the description of the time and place helps the reader feel like they are back in Red River Pass.
In 2012 we are 117 years more "advanced" than the characters in the novel, people still haven't changed very much. Read The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap and see what I mean.”
“The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap:
Author: Paulette Mahurin
When the world allows people to live as they please maybe we might have chance to stop all the hatred, prejudice and injustices that are inflicted upon those that some feel are different or do not conform to the mores of their society. Same sex marriage is not something new to us today and same sex relationships are not just a thing of the preset. The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap begins with the arrest and imprisonment of a noted writer and playwright Oscar Wilde. Noted for writing The Picture of Dorian Gray, essays, short fiction and comedies this outstanding writer’s work was negated when he met Lord Alfred ‘Bosie’ Douglas the third son of the Marquis of Queensbury. Wilde’s novel the Picture of Dorian Gray was one that he was acquainted. Becoming lovers and totally enamored with each other they were together all the time until Wilde was arrested four years later for “gross indecency.” Attitudes back then in 1891 and even now have not changed in many respects. In April of 1895, Oscar sued Bosie’s father for libel as the Marquis had accused him of being homosexual and homosexuality. His arrest and conviction as our story relates included two years of hard labor. But, that was just the beginning as his wife too his children to Switzerland and as you might say disowned him by going back to her maiden name, Holland. This is where our story begins as we our main characters Mildred and Edra. The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap brings this issue to light and many more. Character assassinations by many of the townspeople, criticism and critical analysis of what they think a person’s life should be and how they should mold it to their way of thinking enables the reader to know just how narrow and close-minded the people of Red River Pass, Nevada are.
As we meet both Mildred and Edra we learn that they too have a close relationship that would be more than just frowned upon by people like Josie Perdue and the ladies Mildred encounters when she goes into town for medicine for a sick horse. Life is hard enough during this time period but to be forced to fit in and conform to what others think you should do makes it even harder for both Mildred and Edra to deal with life. Her masculine appearance, her strange demeanor and lack of femininity seemed to turn people off.
The author allows the reader to hear the thoughts of Josie first hand which she readily expresses to anyone that will stop and listen as well as doing her own appraisal of Mildred’s appearance and Mildred. But, the prejudice spreads as far as the sheriff’s office and even though Mildred is a kind woman he appearance turns off many and the words spoken, if she heard them, would definitely do more than just hurt her feelings. Status, class, sexual preferences, even how many live their lives and observe their religions are just some of the issues brought to light in this novel.
Gus Spivey’s story is the hub of information where notices and telegrams are posted keeping people informed. As Mildred places her order she hears voices rising and realizes that Josie is announcing to everyone that Homosexuality has been declared illegal. When people decide what you are allowed or not allowed to do that infringes on the meaning of democracy and freedom. But, while riding home Mildred formulates a plan in her mind that has yet to be revealed to the reader.
Meet Charley Spivey and Emma his wife was gravely ill. As Charley watched Emma slip away Mildred decided to try and ally all thoughts about her and pretend to be interested in this disheveled and ungroomed man. As the story moves on we learn more about the relationship between Edra and Mildred, what happened to Edra as a child the bond and love that formed between them at an early age. With the guidance and understanding of her father, Max, Mildred’s secret would stay hidden.
The characters blend in a very unique way, as Mildred’s plan seems to be working creating the illusion she hopes it will to take the heat off of her relationship with Edra. Added in we still here the gossip of so many of the townspeople regarding Oscar Wilde and his arrest. What I really love are the quotes at the start of each chapter. Oscar Wilde’s words are so profound and set the tone for each chapter that the reader knows what to expect from the characters by reading his words and his thoughts. Annalee proves that right when she continues her diatribe about Oscar Wilde and expands on her opinion. Next, she expounds on the relationship between Charley and Mildred letting you know that she is not only prejudice, narrow minded and just plain rude. So, why not voice her thoughts to the town’s biggest gossip, Josie and join forces. Why is it that the outer covering of a person is all anyone sees and the fact that Mildred helps so many in so many selfless ways, does not really count to any of these snobby and although rich, classless women. When Josie blames Emma, Charley’s late wife for bringing so many others misery causing the town to come down and help Charley, why does she resent it and why make the coldhearted comment she does on page 64 which you will have to read the book for yourself to find out just what she says and more.
But, Edra is upset when Mildred goes out with Charley and her reaction is quite telling and the end result eye opening. Loyal, trustworthy and kind Ben Thorndike keeps their secret and delivers the news about what others are saying about Mildred. When the women do their own assassination attack in words about Mildred, just why does Charley come to her defense? Why does he see the inner beauty in her and others do not?
This book deals with so many issues not just prevalent in 1895 but in the present too. Although Oscar Wilde went on trial and was convicted, Mildred Dunlap faced her own persecution and trial everyday just trying to deal with life, the words and gossip of others, the critical analysis because of her appearance and imagine if the truth came out, what kind of swords or daggers would they send flying at her?
The characters in this novel are vividly described and so well defined you can almost picture them in your mind and create a mental image of how they look, act and speak. Gus, the owner of the general store tries to mediate, is honest and tries not to take sides to be biased. Josie Perdue is single minded, hurtful, highly critical of others and totally opinionated valuing only hers alone. She is truly mean, coldhearted and yet she manages to have an audience to listen to her rants and raves. Vying for attention and having to be the focal point of every conversation she manipulates her friends, wants to control their lives and never really cares about how her words affect others. Edra our other main character, lives on the farm, prefers as we learn Mildred’s company alone, and vies to live her life just with her. Mildred might have a masculine outer appearance but her every word, and kindness negates her physical appearance. She might not be what most would say feminine, or ladylike but her heart and kind ways make up for it.
As Gus and Charley have dinner more about the community is brought to light as we learn about hate for Negroes, their feelings about Jews and the religious that feel everyone is beneath them. But, Gus has a secret that I will not share with you but when you learn it you will understand why he does not attend Church and much more. The prejudice that rears its head in this book is widespread not only there but also around the world.
As Josie has made it her vocation in life to destroy Mildred two friends make sure that she just might learn her lesson and more. What happens at the end and how all of this turns out you will have to learn for yourself. But, when one woman’s rumors, lies and statements cause a tragic ending in one family, then the action taken will surprise the reader and the end result will teach two women the meaning of trust, loyalty, friendship and understanding. When the truth behind Josie’s hate for Mildred is revealed the reasons lie deep within her stemming from the past. Will she ever learn her lesson? Will anyone finally stop her from speaking? Wait until you read the dramatic ending!
An ending that will bring tears to your eyes and maybe even some hope to the people that remain in Red River Pass, Nevada. Never judge a person or book by its outer cover before you read the pages in between. You just might like what you find out. Author Paulette Mahurin’s characters and story remind us of why there is so much hate in the world and why so many need the lessons taught within the pages of this outstanding book. Friendships are formed when you least expect them to be. Let’s give this book: FIVE CHARLIES
Fran Lewis: reviewer
“I read this lovely story in two days. I loved the way that history was woven throughout the story. The hysterics surrounding Oscar Wilde's relationship with a man causes Mildred to create a relationship with a man that just lost his wife. Her lover and friend Edra has always relied on Mildred to take care of her and protect her.
Mildred is the richest way in town. This story explores same sex relationships and the historical persecutions of them, the power of rich, and gossipy "tea tattlers." The town busy bodies keep the fear of being discovered palpable throughout this book. There are very interesting side stories about the town women and histories as well.
Interesting and fun book to read.”
“Never judge a book by it’s cover… that would be the case with this book. If your put off by the cover please, set that aside and read this book, I promise you, you will not be disappointed!
I blew through this book as chapter after chapter I just could not put it down.
The 1895 prison sentence of English playwright and novelist, Oscar Wilde, that criminalized sexual activity between two people of the same sex sets the theme in this original, creative and captivating novel.
I was thoroughly engrossed immediately and Mahurin kept my attention as Mildred, Edra and Charley shared the events of their lives as they unfolded. These are the main characters at the core of the story, but the secondary characters add depth and in the end everyone has a part to play.
Mahurin manages to weave issue’s like bigotry, homophobia and racism not only against color but against religion into this extremely well written novel. Using a small Nevada town as scenery she shows how fear and loathing can lead to hate and ignorance. I loved the historical references and the true parts of our history the author used as her backdrop. Ultimately it’s a story of love, friendship and tolerance.
“This is not a big book—it’s a day read for fast readers—but it is big in theme and characterization. First off, I loved the Oscar Wilde quotes at the start of each chapter, and all the other historical references, and I completely loved the kind-hearted Mildred. Someone once told me that everyone has a bias (even if they don’t think they do), and sometimes more than one. Maturin’s carefully crafted book is a call for mindfulness and for compassion. Kudos to her (AND for her exemplary work with animal rescue—proceeds from this book are earmarked for animal rescue, so spread the good word for this worthy book and the animals!).
“I was given an e-copy in exchange for my honest review.
The story takes place in a small town called Red River Pass during the year 1895. It includes several historical events, but is mainly based on the Oscar Wilde convection and how it impacted the lives of the people in this small town. In a small town, gossip travels fast. So you can imagine that in a small town like Red River Pass, the rumors are full of exaggerations because there a few busy bodies with too much time on their hands during social hour. Not only do these few fill their time with gossip, but hatred and prejudiced as well. And of course they find time to medal into other peoples affairs just for entertainment, no matter whose life gets destroyed along the way. The main character, Mildred, seems to be pinpointed out by these few people in town. No matter how much she has done for the town, they seem to think they are better than her in every way. The thing is,as much as she tries not to be the center of the gossip, she is. Mildred has a secret. One that may just be the end of her if it gets out. She has to come up with a plan. One that will put her more in the spotlight of the town rumors, but will keep them from finding out the real truth. She now just has to figure out whom she can trust, and how far she is will to go.
I loved this book. I found it very interesting. Even though it was contained several historical events, I didn't feel as if I were stuck in the middle of a history lesson. I tend to stray away from historical genre due to the fact that most of them make me feel as if I have to cram a coarse to be able to figure out what is going on. In no way did this happen in this novel. I am glad that I stepped outside of my comfort zone, if I hadn't, I wouldn't have found this amazing read. It had a great flow, great storyline, kept me interested, and made me feel as if I went back in time. A must read for the open minded. I look forward to reading more work by this author.
Originally posted on The Mystical World of Book Reviews.”
“This review is from: The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap (Paperback)
I read this book with interest. It's not the usual type of genre I read but I was curious after talking with the author. Paulette has created a very plausible story. It is set more than a century ago and is certainly not 'Little House on the Prairie' but it did feel real to me each time I picked up the story. It was so easy to sink straight into the little American town with their close and caring community, destructive gossip and nasty, vindictive bigotry because of how the characters interact with each other. The mix of 'good and evil' symbolised by the helpfulness of the community, all pulling together when the need arose contrasted so well with the 'harmless' gossip that 'doesn't hurt anyone' and the ladies that perpetuated (and made up) the tales.
The book is well written, a lot of care and attention to detail has gone into the writing of this book and there were a few poignant parts (which I will not reveal).
The characters were believable and those who were supposed to be likable were and it was easy to dislike those who were nasty and vindictive. The story made so much sense to me that I think a lot of lessons could still be learned from the people of Red River Pass.
I was encouraged to stray from my usual path, onto a dusty Nevada road where I met a lot of people from a small and sometimes backwards town. The town was redeemed at last by the insightful and wise men who advised against the pastime of malicious gossip, bigotry and hatred.
The ending was a twist which I didn't see coming (entirely) and it was a pleasurable and satisfying read.
Paulette Mahurin is certainly on my 'Authors to watch for' list.”
“The story is set in the late Nineteenth Century. The background is that of Oscar Wilde’s imprisonment for ‘gross indecency’. In those days, the government rule stated that gay sexual acts were a criminal offense. Set in a small Nevada town, the story focuses upon the reaction of people to this news. But then the town has its own secrets as well. Under the picture perfect façade there’s domestic violence, sexual violence and incest. And amidst it all is our protagonist Mildred Dunlap. Blessed with power but cursed with a manly appearance, Mildred is generous at heart. But very few people bother to look beyond appearance. Mildred also has a secret – she is hopelessly in love with her cousin Edra. When the villagers are quick to react to Oscar Wilde incident, she is right to be worried. So, to keep herself from suspicion, she comes with an idea that that cultivates unexpected results.
First of all, I loved the author’s amazing capability to draw up her characters. She has created and developed each and every character with much care. So much so, that as a reader and loved, cheered, hated and felt a range of other emotions for and along with the characters in the book. The plot of the story is something that you cannot treat lightly. It deals with a lot of complicated issues – or rather should I say that it deals with the shades of human nature? Either way, Paulette has expertly dealt with a lot of grave issues in this book that made me stop and think too. Also, the way the book has been written – I mean the way the characters spoke or behaved, I did not have any trouble believing that the story was set so far back. I may not be an expert on that era, but when reading this book made me imagine in black and white, it just felt right.
But what saddened me the most is the realization that most of the issues depicted and discussed in this book are issues that we face even today. I mean haven’t we developed even a little bit in the last hundred years? I mean sure we have Cable TV, iPhone and Macbooks now. But as people, we are still the same - have not progressed at all.
Overall, great book and a must read – unless of course you’d rather stay away from the controversial stuff. ”