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His Name Was Ben: recent reviews
This is a beautifully written story that encompasses an elemental truth: live for now; the next day, hour, even minute, could be too late. Sara and Ben have both been diagnosed with terminal cancer and the meet, as they well might, in an oncologist’s waiting room. Sara has been offered the chance of taking part in an experimental treatment regime. Reassured that it has few of the appalling side-effects of traditional treatment, which is doing no good, she signs up; she has nothing to lose. Ben, newly diagnosed and shocked, eventually responds to Sara’s mantra of living to the full while they can, and to her determined efforts to take him as her lover.
Given the many truly exquisite scenes when Sara and Ben have “good days” and the tenderness when one of them is suffering too much to hide it,
it would have been possible to leave it like that and still show that the likelihood of death tearing them apart made them revaluate their lives. Paulette Mahurin digs deep into both their pasts: the experiences and the people that have created Sara and Ben, and she does it by introducing rounded characters that gain depth every time they appear. This is a book to treasure and reread.
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To Live Out Loud:
5.0 out of 5 starsThe Kafkaesque world of Dreyfus
ByCathryn Wellneron October 5, 2015
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Paulette Mahurin takes us into the Kafkaesque world endured by Dreyfus, when anti-Semitism condemned an innocent man and no amount of support could clear his good name. I knew the surface history of this dreadful experience in France, but I was caught up in the drama through this well researched, fictional account.
I wish we could say such things don’t happen today, but they do, and the cost of combatting injustice can be great. Mahurin’s account adds to our understanding of a smear campaign based on prejudice and politics that ruined more than one person’s life.
To Live Out Loud is powerful historical account of Zola and Dreyfus. I love how Mahurin added tidbits of Zola’s quotes. To Live Out Loud inspired me to research Zola – a compelling novelist, playwright and journalist.
To Live Out Loud is well-written. Mahurin’s research is commendable, and she did a fantastic job chronicling this historical event. Excellent!
Alfred Dreyfus is Jewish man. He is also an officer in the French army. Being accused of spying for Germany against his country is only the tip of the iceberg. This novel concentrated on a highly sensitive criminal case, but it also demonstrates the political and religious landscape, with its corruption and power, at the end of the 19th century.
Many of the reviews have delved into the plot and characters, however I would just like to say what I enjoyed about the book,To Live Out Loud. First of all, the story was complex, to me, as I had not heard about this piece of history. Ms Mahurin managed to guide me through, not only the details of this extraordinary case, but also gave me an entertaining story, where fact and fiction merged brilliantly.
The writing was straightforward, beautifully smooth, and I have to give the author top marks for her historical authenticity.
I thoroughly enjoyed this thought provoking story, so much so that I find myself wanting to know more. This is a compliment to the author, who stirred my interest on every page.
I highly recommend To Live Out Loud to all readers, who enjoy a really well told story.
I can remember hearing the story of Albert Dreyfus at school — and a dull tale it was too. But in the hands of Paulette Mahurin, the story that bored me in a double period of European history on a Friday afternoon takes on a completely new dimension.
Dreyfus was a Jewish army officer in France at the end of the nineteenth century and the story if how he was falsely accused of espionage to protect the establishment and as a reflection of a deep-rooted anti-semitism is well known. Dreyfus’ case was taken up by the novelist Emile Zola, who was convicted of libel before being eventually cleared.
Mahurin takes on the story with the aid of an additional character, Zola’s elderly bachelor friend Charles Mandonette, who is at his side throughout the Dreyfus case and the subsequent libel trial. As Zola’s confidante, Charles is privy to Zola’s agonising, his encounters with Dreyfus and his supporters, and the novelist’s balancing act between wife and mistress.
Beautifully written, though perhaps a little lacking in the kind of drama that really brings a book eating off the page, the story engages the reader with Zola and his motives; Mahurin makes the reader feel that they are an observer, alongside Charles, rather than a participant like so many of the other characters. A satisfying read.
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The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap
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