Monday, January 14, 2013

Review: The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap

The Persecution of Mildred DunlapTitle: The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap
Author: Paulette Mahurin
Publisher: Self Published
Published: January 1, 2012
Format: Paperback
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: 202 pages
Source: Received from the author
in exchange for an honest review
Read: January 4-5, 2013
In A Few Words: Enlightening, Entertaining
My Rating: 4 Stars 

Goodreads  Synopsis:
The year 1895 was filled with memorable historical events: the Dreyfus Affair divided France; Booker T. Washington gave his Atlanta address; Richard Olney, United States Secretary of State, expanded the effects of the Monroe Doctrine in settling a boundary dispute between the United Kingdom and Venezuela; 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.

Melissa's Musings:

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.

2 comments:

thepersecutionofmildreddunlap said...

Thank you so much for taking on a read that is not your usual preference. I'm really grateful for your time and this great review.

Paulette

Melissas Midnight Musings said...

Paulette,

Thank you very much for the chance to read and review your work. :)