Amazon Review from Brenda Sorrels (author of The Bachelor Farmers)
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Read, July 17, 2012
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This review is from: The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap (Paperback)
The 1895 two-year prison conviction of English playwright,novelist, Oscar Wilde – that criminalized sexual activity between two people of the same sex sets the over-riding theme in this engaging novel.
This story takes us into a small Nevada town that same year where we meet Mildred and Edra, two kind-hearted women who want only to live their lives together in harmony with those around them. The announcement of the Wilde conviction stirs the pot of bigotry and prejudice amongst a group of gossiping women with a ring leader, Josie, who also bears a family grudge against Mildred.
One of the things that struck me was how one person (in this case, Josie) can galvanize other people and spread poison through nothing more than hatred and lies. It made me ponder the dangerous nature of “gossip” and “spreading rumors” – and my heart went out to the long suffering Mildred whose health was compromised from sheer emotional pain. I also thought about how this still exists today ie.) the young gay kid who jumped off the George Washington bridge because his roommate had video-taped him with another man. Also, the underlying cruelty and hatred in the bullying incidents we see on the news.
But the story isn’t only about the pain and suffering of intolerance. Mahurin has created a cast of real and wonderful characters and two of them, Charley and Gus step up. As they get to know Mildred and Edra, we see that people are also capable of changing. Charley has just lost his beloved wife and his own suffering allows him to open his heart to Mildred and his mind to Gus (A Jewish man who doesn’t reveal his identity for fear of prejudice) Charley is befriended and educated by Gus when Gus shares congtroversial books with Charley and they begin to discuss “touchy” subjects… All sides are skillfully portrayed – the damage, but also how pain can open us up, how getting to know someone and comunicating with them can lead to tolerance and healing.
I loved this book. It’s well done and paced just right. I look forward to more stories from this author.