To Live Out Loud by Paulette Mahurin

to-live-out-loud-front-promo-copyThis is an extremely compelling fictionalization of the story of convicted French spy/traitor, Alfred Dreyfus (Jan. 1895), and the part in his exoneration played by French author/journalist, Émile Zola.  Dreyfus, a French Jew, had climbed up in the military at a time when anti-semitic feelings were running high.  Despite the fact that France had passed a Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen in 1789 which guaranteed freedom of religion, the Catholic church, some newspapers, and definitely, the military establishment, saw the Jews as a threat to French security and the Catholic religion.  When a document was uncovered revealing that someone highly placed was passing information to the German embassy, army intelligence leaped to the assumption that Dreyfus was guilty because he was a Jew.  Émile Zola was present when

Dreyfus was paraded out into the courtyard of the École Militaire on the Champ de Mars . . . ceremoniously degraded in public by having rank insignia, buttons, and braid cut from his uniform, and his dress sword broken.  The crowd cheered as he was made to march around the grounds in his tattered uniform with his head bowed.

Zola questioned why someone who had risen so high in the army would risk it all by turning traitor.  To find out the truth, Zola risks everything: his career, his livelihood, his reputation, and his freedom.  While he followed leads, discovering that documents that could have cleared Dreyfus had been kept from his defence attorney, layer upon layer of cover-up injustices became heaped one on top of the other.  It became a deep conspiracy, the revealing of which shook the French justice system to its core.

Alfred Dreyfus

Alfred Dreyfus

Told through the eyes of a fictional friend of Zola’s, Charles Mandonette, an engineer who had worked with Zola Sr., and had known Émile since he was a child, the facts of the case are woven together in a riveting fashion.  This story is extremely well-researched and many of the statements and documents are quoted verbatim from historical accounts:  the tender line from a letter written from Dreyfus from his prison on Devil’s Island in French Guiana to his wife, Lucie, her letter to the court during Émile’s libel trial, letters and articles written by Zola in the Paris newspaper.  Transcripts from the libel trials are included in excerpt to convey the court’s total disregard for uncovering the truth of the matter, and the vicious anti-semitic behaviours typical of the time.

Émile Zola

Émile Zola

Paulette would ask you to purchase this book because all the proceeds go to rescuing dogs from kill-shelters, which is a great cause, but you should buy this novel because it is an amazing story, well-told, which will keep you reading to the end in one sitting.  It is that moving.  The characters come to life.  Each chapter begins with an appropriate quote from Zola.  You could go to Wikipedia and find out how the story comes out but you would miss out on what made Zola a great writer and humanitarian.  If this book doesn’t make you want to read more about and by him, nothing will.  Great historical fiction. * * * * *


About mysm2000

Having taught elementary school for more than 25 years and been involved in many amazing technology and curriculum projects, I find I've developed a myriad of interests based on literature I've read and music I've heard. I've followed The Wright Three to Chicago, Ansel Adams to Colorado, The Kon Tiki Expedition to Easter Island, Simon & Garfunkel lyrics to New York City, Frank Lloyd Wright to Fallingwater, Pennsylvania, and have only just begun.
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23 Responses to To Live Out Loud by Paulette Mahurin

  1. Great review. I do short reviews on what I read on amazon books. So many by others are merely summaries of the plot. Your review leaves much to be discovered by a reader . A review should tantalize a reader not spoil the story. I have gained an appreciation for well researched historical fiction and enjoy the books of Bernard Cornwell, William Dietrich and Jack Whyte among others.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mysm2000 says:

      Thanks very much, Carl. I appreciate your comments. I post reviews on Amazon (Canada), Goodreads, and sometimes, Barnes and Noble Ca and Chapters/indigo. I can’t seem to make them short but I try not to spoil. I’ll look for your reviews.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great review. Sounds like a very good read. I really enjoy Paulette’s writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Reblogged this on writerchristophfischer and commented:
    If you’re buying Paulette’s book merely for the dog-charity aspect – read this blog post to see that you are getting a good quality book. Thanks Paulette for your generous mind. Five enthusiastic woofs from our Labradoodles!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Wonderful review. Could not be better.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. A lovely review. I’ve always wondered about the Dreyfus Affair, having never read anything on it though I have come across the phrase in many times. I believe Paulette’s book is an excellent start for me. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  6. tazzielove says:

    Very well written, excellent review.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. tazzielove says:

    Reblogged this on tazziesplace and commented:
    Excellent review of Paulette’s book with an overview of the Dreyfus Affair and Emile Zola’s part in it.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thank you so much for this review and spotlight on my book. I’m very grateful for your thoughtful and wonderful support. Love, Paulette

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Reblogged this on The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap and commented:
    Thank you so much for this very thorough and thoughtful review of my book. I’m grateful for it.


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