The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap by Paulette Mahurin Review
About the Book
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.
Paulette Mahurin is a nurse practitioner, specializing in women’s health in a rural clinic in where she lives with her husband and two rescued dogs. She also taught in several college level nursing programs, including UCLA, where she had a Master’s Degree in Nursing from their nurse practitioner program. Her two passions are writing and rescuing dogs.While in college she wrote and published two award winning non-fiction short stories.
“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.