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The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap

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A women's Brokeback Mountain. The year 1895 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 to cover 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 news of Oscar Wilde's imprisonment. 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 further info please contact the author on Facebook. Buy a book; save a life.

212 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 2012

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About the author

Paulette Mahurin

12 books201 followers
Paulette Mahurin is a best selling literary fiction and historical fiction novelist. She lives with her husband Terry and two dogs, Max and Bella, in Ventura County, California. She grew up in West Los Angeles and attended UCLA, where she received a Master’s Degree in Science.

Her first novel, The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap, made it to Amazon bestseller lists and won awards, including best historical fiction 2012 in Turning the Pages Magazine. Her second novel, His Name Was Ben, originally written as an award winning short story while she was in college and later expanded into a novel, rose to bestseller lists its second week out. Her third novel, To Live Out Loud, won international critical acclaim and made it to multiple sites as favorite read book of 2015. Her fourth book, The Seven Year Dress, made it to the top ten bestseller lists on Amazon U.S., Amazon U.K. and Amazon Australia. Her fifth book, The Day I Saw The Hummingbird, was released in 2017 to rave reviews. Her sixth book, A Different Kind of Angel, was released in August, 2018.

Semi-retired, she continues to work part-time as a Nurse Practitioner in Ventura County. When she’s not writing, she does pro-bono consultation work with women with cancer, works in the Westminster Free Clinic as a volunteer provider, volunteers as a mediator in the Ventura County Courthouse for small claims cases, and involves herself, along with her husband, in dog rescue. Profits from her books go to help rescue dogs from kill shelters.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 234 reviews
Profile Image for Natalie Richards.
411 reviews179 followers
July 17, 2018
Based on the synopsis, about homophobia and injustice, I thought I would love this book but it was so light and twee (sorry author) that I only just managed to finish it.
Profile Image for M.A Grace.
Author 5 books71 followers
September 13, 2012
Something I commonly do when writing a review is to see what other people write as reviews. I do this to see others points of view on the same thing I just read. A learning point for me to see how different people feel about the same item. I was sadden to see a review for this book be lowered in grade because the person reviewing this book doesn't support gay/lesbian relationships. That exact thing is one of the issues that Paulette so bravely and powerfully writes about in this story.

It worries me that in 1800 they had the same look at others as we do now in 2012. That is 212 years to grow and understand and come to terms and accept change that we have not done. We continue to consider things taboo that we do not understand or we ourselves do not like. And it breaks my heart that in 212 years we haven't changed.

Paulette has written an amazing and over the top historical fiction that if not informed that this was a fictional piece I would almost bet that it truly happen. She has so many details of the time era and so much passion and depth in her characters and story plot that you couldn't help but get lost in the story.

You may not support every issue in this book and you may look at the issues differently but I strongly suggest everyone to read this story and maybe just maybe give it a shot to be great even if you don't agree with everything in it. And a few of you it may even open your eyes. I know I am thrilled to have such a powerful work of art sit on my bookcase.
130 reviews4 followers
February 21, 2013
In 1895 Oscar Wilde was imprisoned for two years in a hard labor prison camp for having sex with another man. When the news went out it impacted conversation around the world, that up till then were a more gentile conservatism tone of mild acceptance. After Wilde’s imprisonment, voices raised in attitudes of intolerance, bigotry and hatred. Although the protagonist of this story, Mildred Dunlap, is a lesbian, this is not a story about Gays and Lesbians, but rather a statement of intolerance leveled against all victims of hatred anywhere. The author does not limit the scapegoating to the Gay and Lesbian population, but carries it forth also by bringing in the Dryefus Affair which divided France on its position as a fair country that had moved beyond anti-Semitism, as well as racism against Booker T. Washington’s attempt to try to get his people into schools, to be educated. This is a story of bigotry and the devastation that comes from mindless hateful gossips and group mentality that fails to look at the truth behind the words that slander. The dialogue and scenery bring the reader into the story, as if a fly on the wall. It’s an emotional read, an enjoyable read, an intelligent read, and a satisfying read, that somewhere inside of all of us lives the heart, the potential that knows the power of love and friendship.

UPDATE: February 20, 2013 The book made it to Six Bloggers top 2012 Lists and was voted on as the historical fiction read of the year by the literary magazine, Turning Pages. Kudos to the author.
Profile Image for Lori.
1,443 reviews
September 7, 2013
" pick a little talk a little pick a little talk a little cheep cheep cheep talk a lot pick a little more" picture a bunch of hens clucking around farm yard.{thought of The Music Man} spreading gossip and that is the book " The persecution of Mildred Dunlap" the main topic to this story is GOSSIP!GOSSIP GOSSIP! and how it can wreck lives. this book takes place in 1895. in mid America. news just spread around the world that author Oscar Wilde was imprisoned for showing public affection to another man. this news made it to the town Mildred Dunlap lives. She lives in a home with Edra. what the town folk do not know is that Mildred and Edra are lovers. this is a secret they cannot let the gossipy town folk know. So Mildred starts up a story of her own. all she does is "plant the seed" and lets some of the known gossips think she is interested in a man named Charley who recently lost his wife. the main trouble maker named Josie takes the "seed"and runs with it. Mildred only intended to sway the gossips from catching on that She and her cousin Edra were more that housemates. but Josie and some of the other women take it to a whole level. now thanks to Josie's gossip, Mildred is pregnant, and now engaged to unsuspecting kind gentleman Charley. Josie is the ringleader who bullies the other women in going along with her vicious gossip.
there are some tragedies along the way. some sad lessons taught.
I found myself infuriated at the cruel gossip inflicted by the towns people mostly women.Josie in particular is retched, she has a hatred for just about everything. one of the townsfolk a very nice man who minds his own business has to hide the fact that he is jewish.
I know what is feels like to the be victim of very cruel gossip. it is amazing how eager people are to latch on spread vicious lies about innocent people. Mildred had a good heart, so does Charley, and Gus the store owner. It made want to see the "josies" of the world get theirs. I also liked that at the beginning of each chapter there is a quote from Oscar Wilde.
Profile Image for Jos Callard.
1 review
November 7, 2012
This novel's impact and importance as an historical realistic fiction piece sneaks up on you and grows as you turn the pages. One cannot ignore the injustices of man's inhumanity to man borne out of ignorance and prejudice, the roots of which are deep-seated in history. Mahurin tactfully reminds us how the tentacles of such injustice insinuate their way into daily life, manipulating and hurting with every twist and turn. Set 100 years ago, The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap depicts history and in doing so acknowledges our progress to-date. The novel helps remind us of the importance of that progress and tacitly urges us to keep moving forward.
Profile Image for A.E. Curzon.
Author 1 book77 followers
September 16, 2012
I had been looking forward to reading this book for some time and was not disappointed when I did. In fact, I was hooked by the time I reached the end of the prologue. After that it was very hard to put down.

Mildred Dunlap lives in a small town in Nevada with her cousin Edra. Since childhood both have felt a fondness for each other which has now blossomed into a full blown, if secret, relationship. At the time of the opening chapter (late nineteenth century), Oscar Wilde has just been imprisoned for ‘committing acts gross indecency’ (homosexual activities) and the world has been alerted by telegraph. The news, inevitably, reaches the small town of Red River Pass where Mildred and Edra live. Forever quick to judge, and mete out punishment and derision, the resident gossipmongers have a field day with this. Mildred becomes alarmed at the pure hatred and prejudice projected by the tittle-tattles upon their hearing this piece of news. All her life they have ignored her kindness and generosity, and instead have cruelly focused upon her appearance and wealth. If they were to find out her secret as well, she knew life would be unbearable for both her and Edra. As a result she sets out to mislead the gossips with her own plot, which has surprising consequences.

This carefully and beautifully crafted story is not just about the relationship between two women, it goes far deeper. It is a story about inherent ignorance and discrimination in general. It is also a story about tolerance, love, friendship and trust. Mahurin writes her characters in superbly and the reader is inclined to empathise with the more sympathetic characters of Gus, Charlie, Mildred and Edra, and to despise the hateful and hate-filled dogmatists like Josie, whose spite and bullying tactics are enough to make anyone shudder.

Written with total conviction and bucket loads of compassion, this is an extremely powerful and impacting novel which portrays a scenario not so very far removed from the society we live in today, and illustrates just how damaging preconception can be.

I highly recommend this book and am giving it the full 5 star whack
Profile Image for Jessy.
515 reviews
December 7, 2012
To say that this book was amazing is an understatement. A friend of mine read it and raved about it and she said "Jess, you must read this and review it!'' Well without waiting for a reply from me she was so adamant I read this, she contacted the author and had her send me an email so that I could get this book read and reviewed. At this point it, I was very excited to read this book! When a friend is ranting and raving I can't help but get giddy about it too! It sat in my inbox for a few weeks waiting for me to finally reach it...HOLY COW! Ah-mazing!
This book is written in the year 1895 and we meet a whole slew of characters of a small town in Nevada. It's the year when Oscar Wilde was sent to prison for being caught with another man. This is a story of how this one town reacts to that news. This is a story about of a town full of people who have held on to hatred and prejudices of people who happen to choose a different lifestyle. This story follows the life of Mildred Dunlap, Edra, and Charley as they try to survive amongst the people that persecute them and the choices they make. All while trying to keep their ''real'' secret from coming out. You will find these characters intriguing and full of promise all the way to the end of what author Paulette Mahurin is really trying to convey across her pages...love is what matters, friendships are a blessing, and tolerance is a must. You won't be able to not get engrossed in this wonderful storyline that reminds us that these injustices are still living with us today and we should all remember the devastation that can be caused by asinine gossip.
The historical backdrop she uses in this story is so perfect and conducive to the entire story line and just absolutely makes the novel so much more. I thoroughly enjoyed this story and I give it my thumbs up!
Profile Image for Vickie McKeehan.
Author 49 books457 followers
March 4, 2013
The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap takes place in the small town of Red River Pass, Nevada, 1895. All her life Mildred has been an outcast, resigned to forever being an old maid. When love finally comes to Mildred it’s in the form of her cousin and best friend, Edra Fitzgerald. After the arrest of Oscar Wilde in England for gross indecency makes headlines around the world, Mildred and Edra must find a way to keep their relationship secret. Mildred comes up with a plan. She befriends the recent widower, Charley, in hopes that the catty townspeople will be satisfied with that and leave her and Edra to their privacy.

Paulette Mahurin weaves the compelling struggle of two women against a community horrified at the idea of a same-sex relationship. Prejudice takes center stage, all the while showing us how narrow-minded people with ugly minds and sharp tongues can destroy the spirit of those that dare to be different.

In The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap, Mahurin shows us love truly does conquer all. An enduring story for the ages, destined to be read again and again.
Profile Image for Darlene Williams.
118 reviews113 followers
November 10, 2012
1895. Oscar Wilde has just been convicted in England of committing acts of gross indecency and sentenced to 6 years in prison. Small town Red River Pass, Nevada, is captivated by this news and talks of nothing else.

"Two men together?" Josie Purdue raised her voice above the crowd, drawing a hush and attention to her. "More like five! All his past lovers came forth. Shows what an ungodly lot they all are. He deserves what he got. Throw away the key, that's what I say. Those kinds don't deserve to walk the face of the earth."

This prevailing sentiment and a past suspected incident of two male lovers fuels the fire.

Mildred Dunlop was bequeathed a substantial fortune when her father passed away but, unfortunately, she was not bestowed femininity. She is 6 feet tall, her hairline is receding, she has hair on her upper lip and an ungainly figure. Her money and lack of beauty are already hot topics amongst the local women, who deliberately shun her. Mildred is extremely benevolent with her money, often assisting townsfolk in time of need. Her generosity is ignored by the women, who would much rather focus on her shortcomings (in their eyes).

Mildred lives on her somewhat isolated farm in seclusion with her cousin, Edra, a stunning beauty, who is traumatized by a terrible event early in life. Mildred and Edra are in a relationship and live as a couple. They are careful to keep this secret, not allowing their few visitors to discover there is only one bed in the house.

Charley has just lost the love of his life. He is a man bereaved and inconsolable. Mildred, desperate to keep nosey people from making assumptions in the wake of the Wilde furor, strikes up a friendship with Charley to divert the town's attention. She is confident Charley will never see her a romantic light so there's no danger. Edra, on the other hand, is not quite so secure and is jealous of Mildred and Charley's relationship.

Just as Mildred supposed, soon the women are scandalized. They talk of nothing but her and Charley, speculating on the nature of their relationship. They make it their business to get the truth of the matter. Several menfolk are disgusted with their wives' snooping, but few try to put their foot down to stop it. It ends with tragic consequences.

All the while, the extreme prejudices of the times and small towns are evidenced by hatred of Jews and blacks. News reports of calamities befalling Jews and blacks are cause for joy and reiteration of "Can't trust those kind...Should know his place."

The Persecution of Mildred Dunlop is not so much about her relationship with Edra, as it about bigotry in all its ugly forms. The discovery of Mildred and Edra's relationship would be disastrous or would it? It really depends on who finds out.

This novel displays the offensive side of human nature without glossing it over, how life events affect thought patterns, building friendships, transformations and acceptance. It is a brutally blunt novel in some respects, yet one of hope.
Profile Image for Lada Ray.
Author 6 books86 followers
January 28, 2013
Powerful Message!

Paulette Mahurin’s The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap is an eye-opening book with a very powerful message and I read it with great interest.

First, an admission: I am a diligent history student because as the greats of old would tell you, “Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” This is why all my books have a thoughtful and meticulous historical underpinning seamlessly worked into the narrative. Paulette Mahurin masterfully weaves into her book the historic references of the late 19th century. Oscar Wilde’s trial for gross indecency in Great Britain is the main reference throughout the book, but also mentioned are the controversial Dreyfus conviction for espionage in France, Booker T. Washington, The aggressive US Monroe Doctrine expansion to South America and as a mere wisp, prejudice against Jews in both Russia and USA.

All these historical acknowledgments are much more than mere nods to well known past events. They serve to bring the entire world into the small Nevada town, which is the center of book’s action, and they also serve to underline that prejudice, ignorance and small-mindedness have no borders and are equally suffocating and harmful whether they are directed against a famous writer, a simple woman, a race, a religion, or against entire nations. Nothing happens in a vacuum, and so, this small Nevada town gets involved in raging world affairs through telegrams received via local post office, while playing out their own quiet drama, where gossip and malicious persecution of someone different becomes a sport.

I was impressed by the character of Mildred Dunlap. She is hardly a good-looking woman, with money and a wonderful heart, who helps her neighbors financially despite being the subject of constant gossip and black envy throughout her uneasy life. Mildred allows herself only one indulgence – her long-time secret love affair with her female cousin Edra. But the aftershock of the Oscar Wilde conviction in Britain threatens to change the status quo as the two women start fearing that they may become the subject of persecution themselves. I found the book development done exceptionally well and I found myself rooting for Mildred.

The author is part of the medical profession and I was very impressed how accurately various medical conditions were worked into the story line and how much they enhanced the book. The shocking and memorable culmination of the story is also about a medically-related mistake costing someone their life – but no spoilers!

The story also underlines the karmic consequences of one’s actions as in the end everyone reaps what they’ve sawed! Highly recommended!
Profile Image for Tania.
1,235 reviews285 followers
September 12, 2014
3.5 stars. Off to a bit of a slow start, but a third into the book everything started coming together. I've never understood why so many people feel the need to judge other people's lives and choices, and this is exactly the issue dealt with in the Persecution of Mildred Dunlap. I especially liked the fact that the author gave us insight into every characters history, to help us better understand their actions. A little bit of Oscar Wilde's history was mentioned in the story, and I am now inspired to find a book on his life. I absolutely adored his quotes at the start of every chapter, here's my favourite:
"Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much"

The story: 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 with 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.
Profile Image for Surabhi Sharma.
Author 8 books103 followers
May 31, 2017
‘The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap’ is set in 1895 when the world stormed with the news of the conviction of one of the most successful playwrights, novelists, poets and short story writers and noted celebrity Oscar Wilde was sentenced to two years of hard imprisonment after being convicted of “gross indecency.”

The story is of two women Mildred Dunlap and her cousin Edra is a subject of gossip for the people of Red River Pass, a small town in Nevada who finds themselves in the similar circumstances as of Mr. Wilde.

The book is worth every penny and every second you give to this book. The book makes a point from the opening chapters and concludes on a note. It is a thoughtful writing and slap on the biased and judgmental thinking of people who loves to subjugate other people and wish to find faults based on their life choices. The story is based in 1895 but it reads as it talks the present time.

The book is well written as plot and subplots of the story are intelligently designed. It is a beautiful story capturing the struggle of human rights and how love and friendship bring strength and healing in the life of two women.

Profile Image for T.M. Smith.
Author 27 books312 followers
October 28, 2012
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 book is not YA, Fantasy, Erotica, Mystery or any other genre I usually read/review. A good friend recently told me I needed to step outside of my little box and read something different. Well I did Mama and I am pleased to announce I thoroughly enjoyed it!

I give this one 5/5 and would recommend it to anyone, one of the best books I have EVER read!! But that’s just my two cents.
Profile Image for Tee loves Kyle Jacobson.
2,474 reviews171 followers
November 9, 2012
This is a book I would not usually read. I find myself reading YA and Erotica and Historical Books so when I was asked to read this book I told the author I would give it a go. I am so glad I did! This book had so many surprises in it and I was pulled in by the words that I had to know what happened next. I read this book in one sitting because I have never ever read about such ignorance and prejudices in my life. I mean you hear about these types of things and you read about them but to read them from a person who had endured it is insane!

Mildred Dunlap is a quirky character because she is rich but she is not one of those rich snobs that acts all prissy towards people and she does not flaunt her money either. She is reserved and she keeps to herself only sharing things with two people Edra and Charley. She knows she is no Miss America in the looks department but she does not care. She is keeping a secret and she asks Charley for help with her secret. He agrees to help her and the friendship they develop is incredible.

Mildred and Edra will endure a lot of hard ache and pain because of who they are and what they keep as a secret. I will not give it away because you have to read this story. It is so hauntingly good it will blow you away! Thank you Paulette for allowing me to read such an awe inspiring journey of truth, rumors and secrets that lead to a beautiful ending.
Profile Image for Sheila.
Author 79 books186 followers
February 9, 2013

When Oscar Wilde was imprisoned, the gossips imprisoned within their own thoughts delighted in his every suffering. But there on the outskirts of a small American town, a wonderful woman called Mildred Dunlap lives alone with her sweet cousin Edra and only one bed. Generous to a fault, willing to help anyone no matter how little they think of her, Mildred suddenly fears what the townsfolk might do, and looks for a plan to hide her life’s “indiscretions” from public view.

Author Paulette Mahurin recreates small-town America convincingly, providing history to people and place, building believable inter-relationships, and revealing secrets in pleasingly genuine conversations. Beautifully researched, convincingly filled with an all too fallible population, this novel pulls the reader into a story filled with history and vivid reflections of the present.

Occasional comments seemed a little over-modern to me, but, having grown up in England, I’m probably not qualified to judge. The story certainly held my interest and kept me turning the pages eagerly. Intriguing, generous, though-provoking, and filled with beautiful descriptions, great quotes, and fascinating dialogues about prejudice, faith, hope and love, I really enjoyed this novel and heartily recommend it.

Disclosure: The author gave me a free ecopy of this novel.
Profile Image for Alana Woods.
Author 11 books37 followers
September 25, 2012
As you might deduce from the title this is no light-hearted romance. Set in a small town in Nevada USA at the time of Oscar Wilde's trial and imprisonment for 'acts of gross indecency' the story reflects the narrow-minded thinking of the time.

I was expecting something heavy-going and weighty. Instead I found a beautifully written story of intolerance and courage, hate and love, fear and triumph, death and life, and in no small way meanness and friendship.

Mildred Dunlap is the wealthy woman in town, the wealth inherited from her father. She's generous to everyone less fortunate. She's also a spinster, plain and lives with her younger cousin Edra. Lives with her in every sense of the word. The mean-spirited in town envy her the wealth and despise her for her 'manliness'. They look for ways to bring her down.

I found myself not wanting to put this one aside to do the chores. The language is gentle and lovely, a little formal by today's standards, evocative of the writing style of the time in which it's set. But that suits the story to the ground.

The characters and story come to life under Mahurin's sure handling of the subject.
Profile Image for Lee Fullbright.
Author 1 book226 followers
October 25, 2012
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!).
Profile Image for David McMullen-Sullivan.
Author 8 books26 followers
September 11, 2012
Paulette has written a compelling story about the value of love, and how society often fails its brethren by persecuting what they do not understand. The concept of "the other" is, of course, a false premise because we are all one. But group think has maintained this myth even to this day. I thank Paulette for bringing light to a subject that is still shrouded in the darkness of malice
Profile Image for Coleen Cloete.
120 reviews9 followers
November 19, 2012

What a truly magnificent book. Just as relevant today as it was when the story is set in the 1890s. A story about intolerance and the vindictive side of being human. It brought out so many different emotions. The historical triggers woven into the story was brilliantly done and added to the overall intrigue and drama of the story. Loved it and highly recommended.
Profile Image for Fran.
Author 45 books124 followers
October 29, 2012
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

Author 2 books4 followers
December 19, 2012
Review: The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap is a story which revolved around five important characters who would loved to live the kind of life they craved without being scrutinized and crucified, but they found themselves in a hateful society where their kinds of ideal love life was rebuked and despised. The story illustrated loyalty, true friendship, hate, prejudice comparison to race, the jews and as well as gays. Moreso assimilating all the Oscar Wilde’s quotes explored in this book, the story furthermore portrayed lives, the essence of living, honest, love, survival, death, good reputation and all!

To start with, while reading this book I could not break away from it. It’s a story with a lot of depth, good story backdrop and originality. At some point, I thought I had tears in my eyes as I neared the end of the book. Not that I’m too emotional, but this book is just way to transcendent not to affect anyone greatly. Just because I have access to the author I could not let her be. From time to time I contacted her to know what next happened in the book chapter after chapter, but she is a good suspense holder! She did well not telling me anything until I read through it all.

The story began in 1985 with the breaking news spreading around the world of the conviction of the well known and most successful playwright, novelist, and short story writer Oscar Wilde. Wilde was sentenced to two years of hard labor under the Britain’s Criminal Law for sexual activity between members of the same sex.

This incident caused people’s attitudes to change about homosexuality from a mood of pity and tolerance to hatred and abuse. The news was that Wilde was caught in the act with another mate, Lord Douglas, the son of the Marquins of Queensberry, and Victorian London would not tolerate such immoral decadence.

In Red River Pass in a small town of Nevada this kind of occurrence had also happened. The Parker boys had been playing out by the lake when they ran across Harold Simons hugging Bert Langlay. When the Parker boys ran home and told their parents, they had exaggerated what they saw; said the men were kissing, starting to undress. Within twenty four hours two families were thrown into irreversible turmoil. The story spread like untamed fire in the town. After days of the incident Harold Simons took a gun to his own head and blew his brains out. A week later both families moved from Red River Pass.

Also in the town were two women Mildred Dunlap and Edra Fitzgerald who loved themselves in ways couple love one another and they tried to protect themselves from the hateful society with stories of Wilde and the Harold and Bert.

Mildred was the brunt of ridicule and of jokes in the town because she has a prematurely receding hairline with some facial hair above her lips, muscles which showed through her dress sleeves like a man’s through his shirt, and a height which towered over a lot of men of the town at close to six feet. She was called a giant cow and the ugliest curse of the Red River Pass.

Josie’s jealousy ran deeper by the day for Mildred. She was a character with forceful personality which no one could understand why she had so much distaste for Mildred. She so hated her that she would go extra mile to destroy her. Josie and the sister hood of talebearers in the town had nothing to do with their lives than scout for lives to ruin. They were most vicious and the most closed minded petty people in the town that would give up their lives to see Mildred cleaned out.

Mildred being wealthy and controlling the purse strings of the community looked past this hatred and continued to help the people with her money, but was dying inside for all the hounding. Despite Mildred generosity she remained Josie’s target for destruction and she knew it. With all the discrimination going about homosexuality, Mildred feared for her life and that of her cousin.

While the town people and head talebearer Josie busied with the news of Oscar Wilde, Mildred came up with the trick to get Charley Milpass attention who at the time struggled to save the life of the love of his life Emma Milpass suffering cancer. This Mildred’s plan was to avert any suspicion from forming around her and Edra. She wanted Josie and group to unfold another rumor different from what was really happening.

At first Mildred's plan failed. Charley who suffered unthinkable loss, of the love of his life, would not welcome any woman in his heart. However, with time Charley came to realized Mildred was a good person inside and out and the physical ugliness was just a cross for her to bear in her life. He became her true friend. Then, tittle-tattle swelled that Charley who claimed could never loved another woman but Emma was dating Mildred, impregnated her, and was set to marry her.

Mildred was glad for this new focus Josie and cliques now occupied themselves with, nonetheless with intensity of the gossip which was damaging to the human soul, on the inside, Mildred kept breaking down terribly from the years of none stop persecutions.

With the sweet friendship Mildred found in Charley, Edra feared she would lose Mildred to Charley. At nine-year-old Edra whose mother died at childbirth was raped. In all the months of her recovery from the shock of the rape, it was Mildred who nurtured Edra back to life again. On Edra’s twelfth birthday, three years after the rape, things forever changed in her life and between her and Mildred.

Edra felt unsaved with people and could not bring herself to love a man. Only in Mildred did she found any form of love and security. She confessed how she felt for Mildred on her birthday, their love life kicked started.

Charley found out about Mildred and Edra’s love life, knowing what grief it was to lose a loved one, he didn’t tell on them, rather he became supportive of their relationship. With time Edra relaxed around Charley, when she was sure that Charley only intended to be a true friend to Mildred and could never love another like Emma his late wife. The three became true friends, and once again Edra could trust again another person different from her family.

Helene Whitmore, one of the talebearers lost her only son little Frankie while she planned with Josie and the rest to bring Mildred down. Josie and husband Satchel were shooed out of the town to Carson City and Mildred had her life and good health back.

At the end of this book I found that Mildred had been hounded by her past because of her father's deeds and a man who looked like the father whom people believed they must had been related; Mildred was persecuted for this passed people’s mistakes without mercy and misguided vengeance.

This is all I’m going to give out from this book.

Summary: This is an absolute fascinating, great and touching novel. The author of this book is a very nice person. In a little while our paths had crossed, I’ve been touched by her true kindness. At some point when I couldn’t get this book with the readable format on my smart phone because my lap top was faulty, she gifted me the book on Amazon. Auntie P, thanks very kindly for the chance given me to review this wonderful book.

I found Edra’s transformation somewhat annoying at first when I didn’t know where the story was heading. I assumed the worse for Mildred. I imagined she would be killed or something. I felt Edra should have looked someplace else for another woman to love rather than put the well-meaning protagonist Mildred Dunlap in trouble. As soon as I knew that there was no harm to cause damage on Mildred’s life, I regained my peace. In Friendship, relationship, Mildred is an ideal person to have as a partner. I felt a great connection to her a great deal. She reminded me of myself; you do good to people and in turn you are rewarded with evil.

The story world of this book was perfect. It slowly played out organically. It was like everything was happening around me in the real life. Overall, this story has other mesmerizing characters to hold you spellbind to the book. It’s a well crafted story. I recommend you get your copy of The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap if you haven’t.

Rating: Five Stars

Sum It Up: Touching, Adult Female Friendship Book

Profile Image for Grant Leishman.
Author 15 books145 followers
November 23, 2018
Regular readers of my reviews will know I am a big fan of Paulette Mahurin's historical fiction. When I realised there was one of her books I had yet to read, I quickly set about to remedy that oversight.
The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap did not disappoint in any way. Set in 1895 in a small Nevadan town, Mildred and her cousin Edra had long ago realised their attraction to each other and as time had passed they had developed a deep and loving relationship, always cognisant of the effect such a relationship would have in their small town, should it ever become known.
Like all small towns Red River Pass was a hotbed of gossip, much of it generated from the telegrams from the outside world that would bring news and were posted on the public noticeboard outside the General Store. When news came of Oscar Wilde's conviction and imprisonment for homosexuality in England, tongues and minds turned to the evils and sins of same-sex relationships. For Mildred and Edra, they walked a very taut tightrope that threatened to drop them at any point. The pair had always shunned the local gossips, but when things get tight, it is often surprising where true friends and allies can emerge from.
What I've always loved about Mahurin's writings is her ability to weave true life events from the past into a fictional tale which conveys relevance to the happenings of the time. She has excelled at this in the past and does so again, here. Her messages of love, tolerance and understanding shine through her works and are as equally applicable (perhaps even more so) today as they were in 1895.
I don't know how I ever missed reading this before, but I am truly glad to have done so now. As a fellow author, I doff my cap to Mahurin, who shows me regularly what I could also be capable of. Having excellence to aim for is always a challenge and Mahurin always provide excellence in reading. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.
Profile Image for Sarah Coburn.
3 reviews8 followers
September 5, 2012
The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap is a heart-wrenching novel that explores the effects of prejudice and the cruelty of gossip in a small town. The story centres around Mildred, a wealthy and generous women who is often mocked behind her back for not being stereotypically beautiful or feminine - it seems her generosity and good nature are frequently forgotten by those who are shallow and narrow-minded. As well as this, she happens to harbour a deep secret from the wrath of the little town; she is in a loving relationship with her female cousin Edra. Based around the same time as the persecution of Oscar Wilde for acts of indecency with another man, Mildred's anxieties about her own relationship run high as the gossip mongers preach their disgust at a same sex relationship. Most of this gossip is fuelled by the heartless Josie. Anyone and everyone could be a victim of her bullying; anyone who does not fit her idea of perfection, which throughout the book appears to change and evolve with her moods!
The novel follows Mildred and Edra's battle to keep their secret under wraps, whilst also delving into the lives of other towns folk who also suffer of succumb to the bullying ways of Josie. Discrimination is presented on many levels in this novel. With a constant reminder of Oscar's Wilde's persecution, this novel presents the emotional and physical upset that can be caused by prejudice and how individuals with heart can shine through and defeat bullies with friendship, love and support.

From the opening page I was gripped to this story. I could feel the importance and intensity of keeping Mildred's relationship with Edra a secret. The build up of tension created by the gossiping characters was so intense that I could not put the book down and in fact I read it all in one sitting!
One of the things that I enjoyed the most about the novel was the Oscar Wilde quotes that titled each chapter. My favourite one was from the very beginning:

'For one moment our lives met, our souls touched.' - Oscar Wilde

I think that it is purely beautiful! All of the selected quotes in the book are thought-provoking and I jotted quite a few down as they were interesting and yet honest. As well as the Oscar Wilde quotes, I also commend the mentioning of his persecution and how it paralleled with Mildred's life and her anxieties of being in a same sex relationship, but in a different country. I think that this shows that people everywhere, no matter who they are, face discrimination and bullying, which is always worth remembering. I think that this Plato quote sums up how we should behave:

'Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle' - Plato

What makes this book so good though is the characters. I particularly enjoyed the bond and relationship between Edra and Mildred. Both very different characters; Mildred so strong, generous and caring to those she loves and Edra, so fragile and yet so fiery and protective when it comes to the person she loves the most - Mildred. In my opinion, their misfortunes made their relationship stronger and tested their faith and love in each other. I also admired the strength of character Charley, his loyalty and kindness to Mildred was admirable and it made me warm to him throughout the novel. Gus too was a great character, his philosophical wonderings and thoughts made me think and he made a trustworthy companion for Charley. And finally, I cannot miss Josie out. Yes she was the devil of the town, but she was such a great character to include in the story! She was truly nasty and caused so much devestation and tension throughout the novel with no hint of remorse that it made the goodness of the other characters shine through even more. She was definitely the wicked witch of the story!

Overall, I found the novel very interesting and I really enjoyed reading it. I encourage you to have a read too.
Profile Image for Melissa T.
566 reviews32 followers
January 20, 2013
This review was originally posted on Melissa's Midnight Musings on January 14, 2013.

Let me start off by saying that historical fiction isn't a genre I normally read much of as I find that at times the stories can be dry and more focused on the history than the story. In this case, it was reversed and I was pleasantly surprised.

There are a lot of historical events incorporated into this novel, like Oscar Wilde's imprisonment, sovereignty issues, and racism. They are incorporated in such a natural way that you are immediately drawn into the story.

The story focuses on two women, Edra, and Mildred, who are cousins. They are also lovers. After hearing of the imprisonment of Oscar Wilde for gross indecency, they begin to fear that the true nature of their relationship will be, and they discovered and they will have to suffer the consequences of hateful prejudice. Mildred comes up with a plan to divert the towns attention from them, and begins courting a man named Charley, who has just lost his wife to illness.

Aside from the secret of Edra and Mildred's relationship, there is a lot of animosity toward Mildred, as she is very wealthy and has a hold in many of the major aspects of the town. There are many women who are jealous of her money, and put her down by talking about her looks and mannerisms.

The characters in this novel are all very realistic and approachable. It's very easy to be drawn in to their world. As you read, you find that they all have their own secrets to hide. This paints a somewhat bleak (on the part of the general population of the town) picture of the closed mindedness of the time.

Mildred and Edna's relationship is very sweet, and very simply portrayed. You can see how much they care for one another in the way that they speak to each other and always have each other's best interests at heart. They find it difficult to let people into their lives but they manage to let a few select people in who are very trustworthy.

One thing that I really enjoyed were the Oscar Wilde quotes at the beginning of the chapters. They were all relevant and fitting to the chapters themselves. There are also numerous mentions of several classic books. You have to love when an author can incorporate other great books into their work. I learned a lot about Oscar Wilde from reading this novel. Many of his quotes resonated with me, just because they are such common sense, and yet still so true.

Some of the plot points are easy to guess at, but you won't really mind because the rest of the story is easy to get swept up in.

This is a simple, yet powerful story about family, love, friendship and what it means to truly trust and care for those around you. I would recommend this to anyone who's hesitant to read historical fiction because it will pull you right in.

*I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.*
Profile Image for Kathleen Kelly.
1,349 reviews116 followers
November 20, 2012
"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.
Profile Image for Mia Darien.
Author 61 books166 followers
December 31, 2012
(This got a 3.5 on my blog.)

This is going to be another complicated review, because I can’t “grade” the story on any one element. To me, there are three distinct aspects to it: there’s the story crafting, the story telling, and the message. This is a very strong “message” story.

1) The story crafting, which is to say the writing itself. This was my least favorite part, because I found the story to be primarily Tell and not nearly enough Show. We were told far more than shown that Mildred was such a wonderful person, at least until the end. We were told things repeatedly in a very heavy-handed way of making the reader understand things.

Personal histories were thrown in as big hunks of information. And then we were supposed to take the information about their histories as the whole explanation of their present selves, without a little more nuance to their present portrayals. The same points were made again and again. It was just kind of hard to really get into the story through that much.

It would have been better longer, with points given more time to really be shown and draw the reader in through that way.

2) The story telling, which is to say the story on its own and what was being told. This was better. It was a good story. I didn’t find Mildred quite as sympathetic in her own right as I think I was supposed to, but not entirely unsympathetic either. I just didn’t find her as three-dimensional as I’d hoped. Charley was the surprise, and I liked him most. Gus ended up being very interesting, too.

3) The message, which is the big point in this book. This was a message book more than anything. It was about prejudice and love and friendship. Speaking as someone who has a few aspects of herself that don’t match up with the traditional mainstream, I could definitely connect with this story on that level.

I believe that who a person loves is not the business of anyone but that person and that love. That was the message of this book. That people should keep their business to themselves and just let people live the lives their choose, without hatred or judgment. And that’s a good message.

So, that makes this one tough. I think I’m going to average it out and go with 3.5. It’s worth it for the message and the story its trying to tell.
Profile Image for  Davis Jennifer.
325 reviews10 followers
October 26, 2012
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.
Profile Image for Uzoma.
3 reviews
January 24, 2013
When Oscar Wilde is sentenced for “gross indecency,” the news spreads like a wild fire across the globe. Upon reaching Red River Pass, it throws the small Nevada town into pandemonium and restlessness. Hateful prejudice and abuse is the common response for this recently criminalized act, and sets the tone for activities in the coming week.

In Mauhrin’s debut novel, we are introduced to several intriguing characters and how their lives are affected by the news of this same sex relationship. As if this seemingly forbidden act wasn’t present in the town, we find in Mildred and her cousin Edra, a lesbian couple who tries their best to keep their relationship a secret. But then in Red River Pass, gossip sells.

Admitting that they are not immune from suspicion, Mildred comes up with a plan. She tries to court Charley, a widower, with the hope of turning away public eye from her and her partner. At first this seems like a perfect plan but it soon creates a chain of mind-gripping events that sets up a very realistic ending.

As a reader and aspiring writer, I am attracted to Mauhrin’s style of writing. She writes sensibly and sensitively…strong on description, mood and setting. Her intelligent use of time (as this pertains to historical fiction) is worthy of emulation. During this period of Oscar Wilde’s imprisonment, she incorporates other historical issues like sovereignty and racism into her story. This helps to create an atmosphere that really dates back in time. The quotes of Oscar Wilde at the start of each chapter are well chosen. In fact, I consider them to be sweet preludes. One can’t go through the book without taking note of the emotions (greed, anger, malice, jealousy, and love) and behaviour of the characters in her book. They are all believable and memorable. Also, the dialogues throughout the book are in no way disappointing.

Even if you are not into historical fiction, I bet you’ll still find this book worth the while. Within the story is an important lesson about cultivating good friendship, tolerance, and love.
Profile Image for Christoph Fischer.
Author 53 books475 followers
November 21, 2012
“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
Profile Image for Denise DeSio.
Author 1 book21 followers
November 12, 2012
I read an interview in which Mahurin says that her inspiration for this novel was an old picture of two women standing close together looking fearful. It's uncommon for human beings to extrapolate meaning that doesn't relate directly to their own lives, so it speaks to her depth that she, a straight woman, instantly associated the scene with somebody else's plight - two lesbians afraid of revealing their relationship.

Mahurin brings that same emotional connection with humanity to her writing in the Persecution of Mildred Dunlap and does a great job of conveying how hurtful it is to be bullied and ostracized no matter how good and generous one may be.

That her lesbian characters were a bit stereotypical (as one other reviewer pointed out) is not something to hold against her. In 2012, we may have broken through those stereotypes, but stereotypes come from somewhere...oh guess where? Maybe 1895! But that's not the point of the novel.

I have to say, that as an out lesbian, I am not fond of stories about being a wimpy closet case, but back in 1895, that was part of the definition of being gay. That aside, this novel is not about homosexuality. It's about the two sides of human nature: small minded vs. tolerant, mean vs. kind, petty vs. generous.

The sad thing is that we don't always reap what we sow. Good people suffer. Villains go unpunished all the time. And unfortunately, no one will learn anything from this wonderful novel, as evidenced by the reviewer who (even after admitting it was a well-written riveting book) gave it a "thumbs down" because she doesn't want to have anything to do with "those people" (meaning homosexuals).

Mahurin has done her job, however. She has punished the villain for us. She's allowed her readers the catharsis that comes from a just and rightful ending, and for that I thank her.
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