One of the most powerful books I’ve read in a very long time. It took me awhile to finish it as there was so much pain experienced by the main characters, I could only absorb it in smaller doses. Ms. Mahurin captures the very essence and heart of hatred, exhibited by small town characters who have nothing better to do than tear others reputations apart. I came to loathe some of them, they were so “real”.
However, Ms.Mahurin also firmly grasps the heart of both love and forgiveness and the strength of character exhibited by her protagonists. She deeply understands these subjects and gets her points across without resorting to preaching. This small Nevada town represents, from long ago, what this world still shows us is possible in the human heart and mind. That this was her *first* novel is astounding. I cannot recommend it highly enough and would hope it becomes required reading in the school systems where it is dearly needed.
In The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap we find ourselves inside small town mindsets and dirty deeds. Author Paulette Mahurin conjures up an unforgettable story about how good people can be hurt by dysfunctional human beings. The main setting is Red River Pass, a fictional location in the American west around 1895, when news breaks about the conviction of writer Oscar Wilde for “gross indecency.”
In finely wrought storytelling, the author introduces the scene, the times, and each of the characters with a good balance of narrative and dialogue. I particularly liked the degree of characterization, ranging from caricatures to warm blooded people, as a device to separate the primary perpetrators from their intended victims, as well as the sketching of some half developed people who waiver, becoming reluctant followers, bystanders, or supporters. Though the primary plot line centers on intolerance, and specifically the degree to which a same sex couple might seek to hide that relationship at the turn of the 20th century, we come away knowing the story could take place in today’s world, where people are similarly influenced by their views about this subject, religion, economic position, and perceived social standing.
The crisp dialogue sounds like what I would expect to hear from voices of people who lived in that time period in a somewhat remote location. The deft writing about how people jump to conclusions based on incomplete information is a hallmark of this well structured story. There were moments when I would have liked to draw my own conclusions about how characters felt or what was happening, rather than have the narrator tell me this information. But, to the author’s credit, after the tragedy occurs (and not necessarily what the reader might have expected), the author allows the reader to reach their own opinion about what might be ahead for the characters.
This is a book worthy of the accolades collected to date. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in a well paced read and numerous worthy messages. It is the kind of book that triggers reflection about whether each day, you as a person, might have opportunities to infuse your own thoughts and behavior with more courage, kindness, and effort in understanding.
Sometimes I like to pick a novel that I know nothing about and this was one of those. Free Kindle and I am grateful for the experience. The novel is a realistic portrayal of what fear and ignorance can do to a town. The author has written a story about freedom, love and tolerance and brings to the table a timeless fact… that love is love and is not limited by gender. I also enjoyed the historical fiction genre and the ingenious use of the Oscar Wilde quotes. Thanks to this author for this story, we all need to read it.
For me, the ending was nice and neat and I think I might have enjoyed a different ending. Definitely looking forward to the next novel!