Book Tour: Bulled Over by Catalina Ferrer
Conchita Peron, a bullfighter still trying to earn respect in a male-dominated profession, vows to kill Asesino, the bull that took her father’s life. But what she doesn’t know–and may not realize in time–is within the bull’s body resides the soul of the man she once and still desires…that of the very handsome and very dead matador Antonio de la Vega.
Will she set aside her thirst for revenge in time to see the heart under the hide?
I have to admit to not knowing what to do for this review by the time I finished reading this novella. I was on the fence—there were parts I found very intriguing and unique, and there were parts that I had trouble buying into.
Then I read the Author’s Note after the text.
Now, normally I read just for the fun of reading—I don’t look for themes or greater meaning. I don’t read as if the author had a point. When I read this novella, however, I couldn’t help but wondering if Ferrer was after a greater message. It read to me as if Ferrer were addressing a couple of cultural controversies: women’s rights, and animal rights.
This is actually one of the things that had me on the fence as I was reading, to be honest. I found it to be fairly distracting from the plot and really rather bothersome, if you assume the intent of the novella was solely to entertain (don’t get me wrong; Ferrer did entertain, and everything was very well written—I actually quite liked all of the characters even though there was a fairly short span of pages to get to know them).
When I read the Author’s Note, however, I realized that the whole point of writing this story was explore some of the controversies around bullfighting. It is a cultural tradition, after all, and as Ferrer states in her note “everyone believes their way is the right way and all others are wrong.” By setting up this story the way she did, I think Ferrer successfully brought to light some of the controversies from both sides without letting the plot get out of hand.
I also appreciated her homage to Conchita Cintron, who, according to this wikipedia article, was a renowned female bullfighter, both as a matadora and a rejoneadora (which is a distinction I honestly didn’t know existed). I highly recommend that you read that article after you read Bulled Over—it will give additional weight to the events in the novella.
And since embedded grains of truth in stories among my favorite things to find in stories I read (and write), especially when it isn’t necessarily particularly obvious until you’re finished reading, I have to give Ferrer the applause I feel she is due. There’s definitely room for improvement, but I’m absolutely glad I took the time to read this.
Thanks to Tasty Book Tours for hosting this tour, and thanks to Catalina Ferrer for the review copy.
View the rest of the tour schedule here.