“This book is extremely relevant to issues going on right now, in the news, in the political dialogue. It is sometimes difficult to see things from another person's perspective. People get so locked in to their own prejudices and opinions of right and wrong. I think it is important to read a book like this that shows the struggles, the passions, the love and genuine feelings of people who are different from what society considers the mainstream. This book is extremely well written, and well structured. You genuinely want to turn the page to find out what happens next. The characters are well developed and believable. The plot is flawlessly executed, in my opinion. The only issue I had with this book were a few expressions that I thought sounded like they would have been used in modern culture. For example, and expression like "whatever..." said in response to something you disagree with. That did not sound historically accurate. However, these are trivial complaints and should in no way discourage anyone from reading this, as it is a story very well told, and very painfully relevant to today. I highly recommend reading it, especially if you want your own stereotypes and prejudices challenged.”Anthea Carson wrote this review Tuesday, December 18, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“When the town of Red River Pass hears the news of Oscar Wilde's conviction, the towns people go crazy over it and it is all that is talked about. When Mildred hears of this, she is terrified of what may happen if people find out who she is in love with. She has to do everything she can, and things she doesn't want to do, so that her secret isn't exposed.
This isn't the sort of book that I typically read so I wasn't sure what I was going to think of it. But once I started reading, I was captivated. It upset me how the other women of the town treated Mildred. She always helped everyone in town out financially when they needed it despite the way they treated her and looked down at her for the way she looked and carried herself. It was frustrating to read about how Mildred had to hide who she was, and who she loved, for fear of what would happen to her and the woman she loved if anyone found out.
I thought that this was an absolutely beautiful story. It reminds you to be kind and accepting of others despite your differences. You never know how badly the person next to you is hurting. I think you should definitely check this one out. ”
An impressive read, where tension builds up from the very first pages, following Mildred Dunlap’s life and that of her only friends – Edra and Charley. A life she lives as she wants to, not as the others consider she should. Mildred’s plain looks fed town talk despite her generosity “to most of the people in the town when financial need arose”.
The opening pages mirror the small community’s reaction at hearing the news of Oscar Wilde’s imprisonment because of homosexuality. This will trigger the surfacing of feelings, dormant up to then- prejudice, intolerance and hatred-that live in closed minds. It also brings havoc in the existence of the people who fall victim to the persecution, ignorance and mockery of the other inhabitants of Red River Pass.
The characters are credible and appealing. Along the story we witness significant changes in their behavior and attitude towards each other and towards the whole mean community; a community whose only means of entertainment is gossip and meddling in other people’s lives. Lack of compassion and understanding, pointing fingers to the others brings nothing but destruction.
A strong storyline, with characters who take the reader on their journey of self discovery and revealing the bitter secrets well hidden up to then. Tolerance towards people who‘ve chosen another style of life, friendship and, above all, unconditional love may overcome all barriers and mend old soul’s wounds.
I enjoyed the read that hooked me and kept me reading till the end. An excellent novel and food for thought. Without doubt, The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap is one of the best-written books I’ve read this year. I wholeheartedly recommend it.
“Paulette Mahurin’s excellent novel, The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap, explores a late 19th century small community’s response to the arrest and imprisonment of Oscar Wilde for “gross indecency.” Quotes from Wilde are delicious for setting up each chapter. The town folks spew forth hatred and fear of homosexuality that lands at Mildred’s doorstep, despite her goodness and support of these same people.
As I read the book, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific grabbed me with the song “You’ve Got to be Taught to Hate and Fear.” The music and words written fifty years after Mildred’s story would not leave me. The musical is sixty years old now; the theme is ageless.
Mahurin digs deeply into the relationships, history and inner feelings of her subjects more intently and compassionately than found in most novels. We learn how the characters were taught to" hate and fear," and to hide. I fell in love with not only Mildred and Edra but also with Mabel, Charley and Gus, especially. The author sensitively shows huge changes in the outlook, behavior and growth of her characters. With a strong storyline, the characters take the reader on their journeys.
I look forward to reading more work from this talented author, Paulette Mahurin.
I was asked by the writer to review this book and I checked the details on Amazon.com. It has been reviewed 150 times there, mostly five star and some four, three and two stars, so I was looking forward to reading this book keeping in mind that sometimes some things look too good to be true.
I can now honestly say that I thoroughly enjoyed the book and happily give it four stars.
The story is set in a small town in 1895, but relates very well to the problems that still remain today about prejudice hatred and small mindedness. Oscar Wilde’s behaviour and imprisonment that year had an indirect, but major impact on this small town.
The story touches on ignorance, hatred, gay relationships, anti-Semitism, bullying and much more. The pace is fast and the tension built up over the possible exposure of Mildred and Edra’s relationship, and the probable consequences, makes this quite a compulsive read.
The characters are rich and really make this a great story.
Edra was victim of a rape in her childhood and this has an impact on the rest of her life and relationships. The writer puts this much better,
‘......the trauma held in her cells from the brutal rape.’
Then we have poor Helen abused by her father, and this also influences her relationships and reactions to stress. Josie, who has her own difficult background, and the clutch of gossipers who cause havoc out of words overheard and stories made up, if they don’t have the truth. Gus is another important character with his family secrets and his books and wisdom. And of course, Mildred, large, plain, much maligned but still able to give love friendship and financial help to others. She is intuitive and empathetic: In response to Edra’s fears,
... ‘She caught her response like an infection in her chest.’ a really good use of language, with also some real gems like ‘peccant’ (as if guilty of a moral offence, i.e. smiled peccantly)
There is Frank, the newly bereaved, who is slowly questioning his beliefs and values with the guidance of his friends.
The writing is concise. There are no wasted words or rambling passages to pad out the plot which makes this a very comfortable read.
Why only four stars, well some of the story seemed rushed and one or two of the characters seemed overdone, but on balance, a very good book.
“I studied the writing of Oscar Wilde not that long ago and was shocked when I found out that Oscar Wilde had been imprisoned for his sexuality. Well, that is where this book starts at. The news breaking in a small town, here in America, and the response of the close minded people that inhabited the town.
When Mildred, and her cousin Edra, find out about the huge deal that is being made about Oscar, they decide that their own relationship needs to be hidden away from prying eyes. Mildred comes up with the plan to basically trick the town gossips into believing that she and Charley, a recently widowed man, are building a relationship.
This book is extremely well written and highly engaging, grabbing the reader’s attention by the detail that is placed within its pages. The story is poignant, and regardless of your beliefs regarding the subject of homosexuality, every person who reads this book would be able to connect on some level with Mildred and Edra.
Everyone has felt, at some point in their lives, that persecution for simply staying true to themselves. Mildred is a strong woman, holding up a community while trying to keep her own dark secrets hidden. She is a gracious woman and loved by few, unfortunately.
I have to say that I can honestly recommend this book to all of you for the simple reason that sometimes we all need to read a book that challenges us, whether that challenge is our morals and beliefs, or simply our minds. So please, grab your copy today and be drawn into a world that none of us alive today could fathom. I hope you enjoy!
““The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap” uses two well-known scandals of 1895 to start off and move along the plot of our protagonists. It is an interesting and skilfully executed set-up, followed by an equally brilliant illustration of how the imprisonment of Oscar Wilde and the anti-Semitism shown in the Dreyfus Affair in France could have been received in a remote and isolated location such as a small town in Nevada.
Each chapter is accompanied by a quotation from Oscar Wilde’s work. I am not usually a fan of poetry and themes used as headings, but the author has chosen them appropriately and very well.
The description of the setting succeeds effortlessly with just enough detail to make it easy for us to imagine we are there with the heroes, but without overloading us with description that gets in the way of the plot. The portrayal of the times seems also very authentic and the dialogue is also very realistic and flows easily.
The way the characters interact with each other is simply brilliantly done and gives the book a lively feeling. The story is much more complex and involved than the beginning and the book title seemed to imply to me – which made this an unpredictable and compulsice reading experience.
The book is an illustration of hate, intolerance and gossip in a small community and is kind and politically correct in its message. At a time when Gay Marriage proposals are being voted on all over the world and homophobia comes back into the spotlight of media attention this story is reminiscent of many of our current arguments.
At first I found it unbelievable and off-putting that some of the characters would – at that time in history – have the understanding and tolerance as the author attributes to them. Then I realised that the same ancient prejudiced views that haunt our Mildred in the book are still around in 2012.
The book is a great piece of work on human nature and I will be recommending it to my friends.
5 out of 5
“The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap took place a year after the Oscar Wilde scandal of homosexuality in the late 19th century. The town of Red River Pass in Nevada is the location. Mildred Dunlap and her cousin Edra are well to do members of the community. They are also reclusive and have many secrets behind closed doors. Unfortunately, this makes them the target of gossip and abuse. We have a group of ladies who are busy bees. Our Queen Bee is Josie who has had a difficult past. Her target is Mildred Dunlap.
The problem of Peer Abuse exists throughout this book. Mildred and Edra must hide their homosexual lifestyle to the community. The ladies have created a front using a recently widowed man named Charley. This gets the busy bees spreading gossip throughout the community. Josie crucifies anyone of a different race, sexual preference or religious persuasion. The sad part is many of the women follow her in her schemes. Their gossip unnerves people in the town. After Mildred started taking up with Charley, the rumors hurt her so bad that she was affected physically. Edra would hide from the world to avoid this sort of pain. Towards the end, we learn how Josie twists a situation to make it appear that her friend, Helene, was the instigator and not her. As a result of Josie’s scheming, Helene lost someone precious to her.
Folks, these are very real problems that exist with peer abusers on a regular basis. The Queen Bee will have a group or a “hive” around her. Usually, they are spreading lies or trying to invade into the lives of their targets. Scheming is not unusual with them. Boundaries are a problem as they do as they please. Their targets generally are affected by them in some way. It can be physically or emotionally. The sad thing is this happens in adult women a lot more than we want to realize. This book gave an excellent example of relational aggression. It showed how a Queen Bee with a lot of social power abuses those around her. Her busy bees feared her. People were affected physically and emotionally. The sad thing is this was in adult women. How can we as adults expect to solve this problem if we don’t check our own behavior first?
I give this book thumbs up and to understand this abuse in adult women, I recommend this book.
“This is a truly intense, compelling and engrossing read. Once I started reading I was thoroughly captivated and found it hard to put down.
The story managed to draw me in very quickly with its gripping plot along with amazing characterization, strong imagery and smooth flow of language. I was transported to the place and time described so well, and the story managed to evoke a range of emotions in me.
The combination of compassion, love, courage, friendship, intrigue, outrage, intolerance, fear, sadness, prejudice that were portrayed so well and the sensitive handling of controversial subjects(so very relevant even today), along with an unexpected twist and rightful ending, makes it a profound and excellent read.
Loved the way the author has cleverly interwoven historical events and context with the story lending it a realistic and intelligent edge.
This is one of those rare stories that continues to linger with you and leaves you with a sense of awe and contentment.
Looking forward to reading more books from Paulette Mahurin.”
“"People should know their place. When they are made by God to be inferior, they should just do their best to stay out of the way of the good hardworking folk who are the backbone of society"
This statement is from page 106 in The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap by Paulette Mahurin. I picked this passage to quote because I felt that this type of ignorance was very important to this story. Mildred Dunlap is a woman living in a small town in 1895 that relies on its news from the telegraph. When news comes in that Oscar Wilde, famous author and poet, is arrested and jailed for being with another man, sets off the gossips of this town to do and say whatever they can to make life tough for Mildred. Mildred and her friend Edra live together and generally keep to themselves but they fear that one day their relationship will come to the attention of these awful women, one in particular who has an agenda of her own and hates Mildred,and they will be ostracized for the love that they have for each other. Mildred is manly in appearance and dress which sets the gossips off, but she is also rich and is always willing to give a helping hand of which these women tend to forget. So to avoid this gossip, Mildred decides to be seen in the company of a man she helped ease his grief after the death of his wife. Still the gossips went at it but now these biddies said that they were engaged, secretly married and that Mildred was pregnant. All of which was false. Because of these women who hate Mildred, their gossip causes a chain reaction which ends in tragedy.
Another quote from the same page "The seeds that grow and inflate the smallest minds into giants, those who believe they can take down anyone with their petty realities.." brings the reader to realize that these prejudices linger in our society today. I think as a society we are a bit more tolerant but we still have a long way to go to stop the hate that some people have to live with because of who they choose to love. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and think it should be read by everyone, not just the gay reader. I think the author did a remarkable job of telling the story of a topic that was strictly taboo and hidden from society in 1895.
I thank Paulette Mahurin for the copy of this book for review and know that I was not monetarily compensated for my review.”