The Smell of Mud
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World Premiere Book Launch
Abu Dhabi
February 22, 2013

Synopsis

It is the 1880s in the “Wild West” remote male dominated mining town of Granite, Montana where some women of character fell into prostitution following tragic life events. The Smell of Mud is a poignant and realistic narrative of a diverse group of fractured, scarred and broken young women who find themselves working in the oldest of professions, face down in the mud of life. It is a touching story which transcends culture, ethnicity and time.

Through her detailed diaries, Elizabeth struggles to justify her path. Courage, suppressed memory of her family and dignity compelled Elizabeth to ‘stand back up’ after the murder of her husband and only child. Dominated by sadness, self loathing and bitter shame, the misunderstood madam pens the emotionally charged stories of the struggles women are forced to endure. She gathers a group of downtrodden ladies and sets her goal to nurture them with an innocent hope they can survive their current situation long enough to achieve a brighter future. Her vision and confidence allows them to fight heroically their own set of demons and escape the unbearable, unspeakable darkness of past tragedies. Through their daily and nearly incapacitating struggles, they learn that love, compassion, trust and respect are the only pathways to heal their deeply personal and communal wounds.

Their stories are intermingled with Lizzy’s, a rambunctious modern day sixteen-year old who discovers the hidden diaries of her namesake, Elizabeth,

in a dusty leather trunk sequestered in the eaves of her ancestral home. Desperate to make sense of her familial heritage, Lizzy seeks the guidance of her mother and grandmother. Together they muddle through the diaries and try to find answers to the timeless questions involving men, sex, anger, depression and coping with tragedy. This feminine trio uncovers universal truths of the struggles of women to control and maintain choice. The lessons of four generations past serve to guide and educate. Through this understanding, Lizzy becomes more aware not only of her unique heritage, but also of her burgeoning sexuality by delving into the lives examined in stories and questioning her tenuous beliefs of herself and relationships. After Elizabeth plummets into a dark place that is the paragon of shame, a place most women would avoid addressing, she illuminates every tough issue and in dong so discovers her own humanity and inner peace.

This compelling story sensitively describes how women can overcome dire circumstances. The Smell of Mud overflows with love and loss, pleasure and pain, crisis and triumph over adversity. A very human journey showing the indelible spirit of women has a face, and can be found in the interwoven kindness of female relationships. A story of scorned women standing by each other and healing them through crisis will educate and inspire. Elizabeth reminds us that it is not how far we have fallen, but the grace and dignity with which we stand back up that defines us.