The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap (2012) by Paulette Mahurin is an intriguing and thought-provoking book which is written excellently by the author.
Set in the 1800s in a small town in Nevada, the story follows the love story of Mildred Dunlap and her cousin Edra. Following Oscar Wilde’s conviction in Britain, we see how the various people in the town react to the news and how their reactions affect the lives of Mildred and Edra. It’s a beautiful yet often sad story that shows just terrible human rights were back then and shows just how far we’ve come. Some of it would pull your heart to pieces. Reading the stress and fear these women are going through in the novel shows the kind of high levels of persecution people who weren’t straight faced in those days. Being pansexual, I felt angry at parts at how utterly cruel and prejudiced some of the characters were and I was glad that even though things are still not perfect today that I and many, many other people don’t have to live with those high levels of persecution and be feeling pretty powerless against it.
There is very rounded characters. Each with their own personality and journey in the book. Mildred and Edra are a wonderful couple who show so much strength in the face of adversity. They show that two ordinary women when pushed to do so will fight together to weather the storm. But it’s always nice to have people who care about you and thankfully in this book, there is Gus and Charley. Both of these chaps go on very different journeys in the book but are both very kind, non-prejudiced people.
The writer got the claustrophobic feeling of a small town spot-on with her descriptions of life in Red River Pass. The gossiping, the running down of anyone perceived to be ‘different’ in some way. And the absolute glee the people gossiping, especially Josie, feel in running another down and trying to make their life harder.
I have to admit, it threw me a little bit that Mildred and Edra were cousins. I think in modern times we tend to be thrown a bit by cousins falling in love with each other but putting things in context, back in the time this book was set, it probably wouldn’t have been uncommon. When you take out of the equation the fact they are cousins, they actually make a very beautiful, loving couple and you find yourself as a reader rooting for them, their love and their future.
This is a wonderful book, gorgeously written and it also has a wonderful cause that the profits from it’s sales are going to. All profits from the book are going to the Santa Paula Animal Rescue Center in Ventura County, CA which is the first and only no-kill animal shelter in Ventura County.
To purchase The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap by Paulette Mahurin and help the shelter go to:
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