Tuesday 13 June 2017

A Discovering Diamonds review of: The Persecution of Mildred Dunlop by Paulette Mauhurin

Amazon UK £9.57 £2.32
Amazon US $3.00 $14.95
Amazon CA $20.14

LGBT / Family Drama

"The year 1895 was filled with memorable historical events: the Dreyfus Affair divided France; Booker T. Washington gave his Atlanta address; the United States expanded the effects of the Monroe Doctrine to cover South America; 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."

What a good concept - a female Brokeback Mountain and all merged in with the news of the Oscar Wilde Trial. Original. Clever. 

Mildred is a landowner in the mid-west and quietly wealthy, kind to her community and living with a girl who everyone assumes is her companion. But Mildred is strange and strange isn't good in a small town - and then she is rich - so she is disliked and raises hackles. The Wilde scandal raises her fears and she looks to marry a man and put the town off her trail but it only makes matters worse as jealously and spite arise - and so now Mildred lives in fear of being torched-out. Will she run? Will she stay? There's a touch of Joan Crawford in Johnny Guitar about this - only perhaps without the pace. 

A different book - with everything going for it - only the women's affair is revealed very early and we could have a slower build-up so the lack of pace. And do we believe that a town would get so full of hate over a marriage? Much opportunity for tension is lost and where we expect a march on the house - well, no spoilers. There is also a lot of political correctness here - down to Dreyfuss getting a mention and would a small town really have been that aware? May well be wrong and stand corrected. 

This might do well in a LGBT bookstore as it has such potential but the mechanics of the plot do lose a bit of impetus to keep the reader engaged. 

For all that, an interesting read.

© Jeffrey Manton

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