The synopsis states clearly time and place and, most importantly, world circumstances which will soon impact the lives of two women, Mildred Dunlap and her cousin, Edra. The two have lived in the same family since girlhood and until Edra announces to Mildred her love for her. However, no one else knows of their relationship as lovers.
Core to the story is a fatal flaw in the human character bearing the label “gossip.” In the small Nevada town Mildred and Edra call home, the female population thrives on gossip of any kind. But once word of Oscar Wilde’s arrest for indecency based on his sexual relationship with another male is on the wind, the gossips are ready to have a go at Mildred and Edra whom they “suspect” of similar circumstances.
The book is well written, plotted, and thought out. There are a couple of instances of what, in my opinion, rank as current day colloquialisms, “freaking out” and use of the words, “babysit” and “babysitting.” It seems words more suited to the late 1800s would have given the book a greater sense of authority and professionalism. However, the instances are few enough not to distort the story line for the reader.
Character development is exceptionally well done. The characters are typical of time and place, and their behaviors sometimes verge on the comedic giving the book light moments amid other, more dark scenes.
Once the synopsis is read, you might almost look at it and envision today’s world. We live in times very similar. Fortunately, many states have resolved issues resolving gay and lesbian relationships but there will always be those who wish to find fault with or judge others based on life choices. I do not understand why, nor do I want to know how they find themselves so well suited for the judgment seat.
If you are a fan of historical fiction and LGBT fiction, I believe you will enjoy reading The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap. Paulette Mahurin has taken the time to bring us a tale which could be written for today. She located and placed a quotation from Oscar Wilde which perfectly suited the chapter following. A very nice touch bridging yesterday’s history with today’s history.
Bycarissa backhermson September 17, 2015
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
First, I must admit that I knew very little about the Dreyfus Affair and Emile Zola going into this book. I was immediately engaged with the story, which is based on real historical events. Kudos to the author because the writing was gorgeous, and the amount of time and research she put into this book was obvious. The story begins in 1895 with a Jewish military officer who is unfairly accused of treason in France. However, the real story comes from our MC, Emile Zola, who challenges France’s decision and is determined to prove Dreyfus’s innocence. Although the story took place in a different time period and country than my own, there were so many issues of social significance that this book addressed. Specifically, the importance of individuals challenging the masses, whether it’s the army, high government, or judiciary system. This was a surprisingly quick read for me, but it flowed nicely. The author put a lot of time and effort into this book, and this piece is something to be admired. Easy decision on this one — 5 stars.
ByNicole L Walkeron September 19, 2015
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
An amazingly powerful book. Knowing only small tidbits about Emile Zola and the Dreyfus affair, I was still drawn into this piece of work by Paulette Mahurin. My mantra in life is to “live out loud”, so reading such a strong piece of history speaks to my heart. Paulette did a fantastic job of bringing to life a dark time in French history where the people were ruled by the Catholic church and there was no separation of church and state.The story tells of a day and age where people were ruled by their beliefs, instead of being open-minded to the fact that no one person thinks the same or believes the same. Something we still have an issue with, but has come leaps and bounds since this moment in history.I was highly impressed with the way Paulette told the story of Emile Zola through the eyes of his beloved friend, Charles. What a beautiful tribute to a man who clearly gave his life for justice and truth. Beginning the book with the Dreyfus trial and showing the persecution of the Jewish people was an enlightening way to start the book. Paulette moved into the story of Zola, by speaking of the time Charles first met him when he was a child. As the story progressed, you could feel the love Charles had for Zola as he spoke of his friend and his choices in life. A great read. I would highly recommend this piece of work to anyone.
ByPatrickon September 17, 2015
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
I suspected I might enjoy this book and I was right. In my earlier years I was a student of European history and came to this book very familiar with the story of Emile Zola and the Dreyfus affair. Many people have heard of his open letter to a Paris newspaper ‘J’accuse’ without ever knowing the story behind the story and the French Naturalist writer who was responsible for it. The late 19th century was a time of turmoil, suspicion and anti-Semitism and Paulette Mahurin captures the essence of the time here perfectly. This book is based on actual events but uses a fictional friend and narrator to bring it to life and in the process playing with some of the more interesting facts. That Emile Zola died in suspicious circumstances is relatively well known, some accept that it was an accidental misfortunate death but because of his lifestyle, writing and politics, he had many enemies so conspiracy theories have always surrounded his passing. This is a hard hard book to pull off, but the author has done it with ease, turning a period of history that many will not have accessed into an enjoyable book. Even though I pretty much already knew much of the finer detail, (I suspect most won’t ) that didn’t detract from my enjoyment of this book. A great story from the past , perfectly crafted into an entertaining and enjoyable read.
Emile Zola, the writer and journalist comes across information that Alfred Dreyfus, an officer in the French Army and a Jew, has been wrongly compartmentalized for treason. Through the medium of Zola’s fictional friend the story of prejudiced and unfairness unfolds. Yes, a document has been delivered to another country that was sensitive, but it wasn’t done by Dreyfus. Even when the real culprit is discovered, he gets away with his crime because the Army cover it up. The man is a Frenchman and an officer, not a Jew, so therefore can’t be guilty.
Zola tries to champion the unfairly imprisoned Dreyfus and ends up discovering just how far people will take racial hatred. This is a powerful work and obviously well-researched. It is so sad people will treat other people in this dreadful way in the name of their religion, for that is where the goad was coming from. A great read for those interested in true history.
I don’t think I’ve ever read an historical novel that seemed less like a novel than To Live Out Loud by Paulette Mahurin.
What this talented author has done has taken the famous “J’Accuse” letter of Emile Zola’s to the President of France, in the late nineteenth century and woven a fictional account of his life during this period.
This book is impressively accurate in the details that surround the libel case faced by Zola when he had the temerity to accuse the powerful French Army of a cover-up. The author has gathered her facts well and wound them around the tale of a bystander, a friend of Zola’s, who watches his friend commit political and professional suicide simply because he is not prepared to stand by and watch an innocent man be incarcerated for a treason he did not commit.
The writing is stunning and although at only 170 odd pages on Kindle, I was left wanting so much more, this was a compelling read that had me riveted from the first line.
I think more important than the tale of Zola’s brave stand against anti-semitism in France and the entrenched powers that be that conspired to cover up the truth, are the big questions that are raised in the book; The rights of the individual to a fair trial, the importance of religious freedom and the separation of church and state.
This is truly is a wonderful read and I continuously had to remind myself that this was essentially fiction, so accurate was the historical detail. A real credit to Mahurin and absolutely deserving every one of the five stars I gave it.
ByCris Pasqueralleon September 21, 2015
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
A journalist, Emile Zola, takes up the fight to clear the name of Alfred Dreyfus, a French, Jewish, military officer wrongly sentenced to life imprisonment. Zola uncovers evidence suppressed by the military that can prove Dreyfus innocent, but facing an uncooperative military, and an oppressive church of France, can Zola continue the fight? A well written novelization of an historical incident, To Live Out Loud is a must read.
Since I’m not too familiar with history, I can’t tell you if everything is 100% factual (if you’re a stickler for that kind of thing). However, the writing convinced me that there was truth in the author’s tale. The little details made it seem legit, and because the writing eases you in to a lot of heavy concepts, I never once got lost or felt I needed more context. I loved that as the book went on, you got a sense for how chaotic Parisian society was becoming.
If there was one suggestion I’d make to the author in the future, it would be to add more. This book is really short, and I felt like there was plenty of room to add more detail and character development. Sometimes I felt like I was reading out of a well-written history book where the events are glossed over rather than shown. I think it would have helped a lot with the major conflict, and it would have given us a tighter emotional bond to the characters. There were times I wanted to be in suspense, only to have the next chapter tell you everything you need to know, which bummed me out. Like I said, I really enjoyed these characters, and I wanted to see more of them. The dialogue itself is especially strong here, and it would have made some of the bigger bouts of exposition more manageable.
That being said, I still enjoyed myself. It’s one of the better indie books I’ve picked up this year. When you purchase this book, know that proceeds will be donated to help local dog shelters. Even without that bonus, I still say this book is worth buying.