The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap by Paulette Mahurin – A Night Owl Reviews Book Review
Flavored with an authentic western flavor this book also presented a clear message for today. This book held my interest throughout and was well-told. Unlike Brokeback Mountain, however, there is no explicit sex scene, nor even any amorous smooching. This book is less about lesbianism than about the prejudices and narrow-minded attitudes that can blight an entire community, especially when spearheaded by an influential busybody with an ax to grind. The idea that this type of mentality has not changed very much even though the decades have continued to tick by is one of the things that I found most disturbing and enlightening. Indeed, most of the persecution seemed petty and mean-spirited, and while Mildred literally made herself sick over worrying about having her big secret revealed, the actual persecution was about other issues, entirely.
Mildred Dunlap is a wealthy woman, but she never flaunts her riches. She is kindhearted; often helping out her neighbors financially. Unfortunately, she is physically unattractive. She and her cousin live quietly on the outskirts of town. Josie Purdue hates Mildred because she feels that Mildred’s father illegally grabbed land that should rightfully belong to her family. She is a spiteful, vindictive woman filled with rancor. With little else to do in the small town of Red Pass, Nevada, she delights in instigating trouble. Mildred is adept at sidestepping Josie’s plots, but there is a cost, and as the feud comes to a head, a terrible price will be paid.
Book Blurb for The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap
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.