In Under This Beautiful Dome journalist and lawyer Terry Mutchler reveals her lesbian relationship with the late Illinois State Senator Penny Severns. The two women shared a deep love as well as a lavish (but clandestine) lifestyle which featured designer clothes, expensive artwork, and exotic vacations. It all came to an abrupt end when Severns died of breast cancer in 1998. During Severns’s lifetime the couple could not have legally married, and Severns, who was in denial about her terminal illness, never completed a will. All of the precious mementos, as well as the home the couple shared, went to Severns’s dysfunctional family, which refused to acknowledge Mutchler’s role as Severns’s de facto spouse or let Mutchler take the things Severns would have wanted her to have. This book represents both Mutchler’s tribute to her deceased lover and her revenge on the Severns family.
As a book Under This Beautiful Dome could have benefited from tighter editing. Still it is an intriguing memoir of love, loss and Illinois state politics. Find it in our catalog here.