Monday, October 28, 2013

Curling up with Matadora by Elizabeth Ruth

With only thirty-two pages left to read, I had to put Elizabeth Ruth's novel Matadora aside. Life happened and commitments and interruptions were distracting me from a good read. The writing is excellent−descriptions poetically detailed. I was transported in time to a place where dust tickled my throat and my breath quickened at the snorting of bulls in their pens. Yes, I was enjoying the book too much to rush through the ending. That’s strange coming from me−the one who impatiently flips to the last chapter because I just NEED to know the ending NOW. Shameful to admit, but I’ve even read the last chapter first. Just sometimes.

I cured myself of these habits, or maybe my readers cured me. ‘Were you shocked to learn that the killer was her deranged father??’ ‘No,’ he said, ‘actually, I accidentally read the last few paragraphs of the story first.’ Arrggghhhh! Serves me right, though. So, out of deference to the author, I no longer spoil the rhythm and pace of a well-written book.

Though crime/suspense is my favourite read, Matadora, published by Cormorant Books, is not of that genre. Something else that sets it apart from my ‘go to’ books is the setting−Spain and Mexico. Foreign settings are not usually favoured by me. So why am I reading it, you ask.

Elizabeth Ruth, Author
I had the pleasure of dining with the author of Matadora, Elizabeth Ruth, at the Eden Mills Writers’ Festival. My first impression was of a woman impeccably groomed, cool and confident, possessing an air of graciousness. In reading Ruth’s novel, I recognized the same proud carriage and qualities in her main character Luna, the courageous Matadora. Fleetingly, I wondered if Elizabeth Ruth always possessed these characteristics and passed them on to her protaganist, or whether Luna instilled them in her creator. I’m getting ahead of myself though.

At dinner, Elizabeth Ruth asked me what I liked to read. I need a good story, I told her. Even when the writing is great, the book is a disappointment if the story is lacking. She reached into her bag saying, this is a good story. She handed me her copy of her latest novel. Fortunately, I was immediately impressed. Can you imagine if I thought the cover was boring and the storyline sucked? I’d never make a good poker player. So it was with relief (for both of us) that I was immediately intrigued. I love character driven stories and I correctly suspected the 1930s story of a young female bullfighter would be filled with passion and courage. The enthusiastic testimonials on the book cover cinched it for me. I’d be ordering this book when I returned home. I couldn’t wait to read it. Which brings me full circle.

Thirty-two pages to go. The house to myself, a hot cup of Tetley, a warm fireplace, and Elizabeth Ruth’s Matadora...



  1. Sounds like an author you're really enjoying. Go back and reread and study how she did it--how she did the description and storytelling so you can learn a think or two for your writing efforts.

    1. Yes, Terry, there's nothing more enjoyable than reading an author who can write and tell a good story at the same time. I used to finish every book I started but there are just too many good books out there to waste time with mediocre writing. If the writing or the story turns me off, that book is history.