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Valentine: A Novel

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4.46  ·  Rating details ·  84 ratings  ·  48 reviews
Written with the haunting emotional power of Elizabeth Strout and Barbara Kingsolver, an astonishing debut novel that explores the lingering effects of a brutal crime on the women of one small Texas oil town in the 1970s.

Mercy is hard in a place like this . . .

It’s February 1976, and Odessa, Texas, stands on the cusp of the next great oil boom. While the town’s men embrace
...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Expected publication: April 7th 2020 by Harper
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  • Valentine by Elizabeth Wetmore
    Valentine: A Novel
    by
    Release date: Apr 07, 2020
    Mercy is hard in a place like this . . .

    It’s February 1976, and Odessa, Texas, stands on the cusp of the next great oil boom. While the town’s men
    ...more

    Format: Print book

    Giveaway ends in: a

    Availability: 100 copies available, 1431 people requesting

    Giveaway dates: Dec 06 - Dec 13, 2019

    Countries available: U.S.

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    Community Reviews

    Showing 1-30
    Average rating 4.46  · 
    Rating details
     ·  84 ratings  ·  48 reviews


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    Will Byrnes
    Hey there, Valentine. His soft drawl marked him as not from here, but not that far away either, and his words took the ugly right out of the parking lot. Her mouth went dry as a stick of chalk. She had been standing next to the lone picnic table parked in the center of the drive-in, a shaky wooden hub in the middle of a few cars and trucks, doing what she always did on a Friday night—hanging around, drinking limeades and begging smokes, waiting for something to happen, which it never did, not
    ...more
    Elyse (retired from reviewing/semi hiatus) Walters
    I’m still basking with profound ‘aw’!!!
    Review to come....

    Update: My little book review...... :)

    “Valentine”, by Elizabeth Wetmore will be released in April - 2020 …..
    Put it on your wishlist…. Pre-pay-order it — beg- borrow -or steal it.

    Literary readers will fall in love with this novel. Fiction readers will simply love the characters —will ache at times, be moved other times. Emotions ‘will’ be felt!
    Readers who appreciate beautiful writing will melt!!

    I’m a reader —not a writer —I could never
    ...more
    Tammy
    Aug 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    Valentine takes place during 1976 in Odessa, Texas on the brink of another oil boom. There is nothing romantic about life in Odessa. It is a hard place filled with hard men. You know those good ole boys that work hard, drink hard and expect women to know their place and stay there but this is really about the women. A young girl is brutally raped. This act of extreme violence sets off a whirlwind of blame, gossip and vindictiveness that culminates in a show down with potentially lethal ...more
    Katie B
    Nov 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
    There was so much sadness to this story as well as some parts that made me angry but it made for an incredible reading experience. I feel like this book just spoke to me as a woman, and that's not something I say very often, if ever. I'm kicking myself that I let a copy of this book sit on my shelf for months before finally picking it up. This is a book if you can handle tough subject matter, I do recommend giving this one a look.

    The story takes place in 1979 in Odessa, Texas. Fourteen-year-old
    ...more
    Mary Lins
    Oct 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    I'm always skeptical when a novel is compared to the works of authors that I admire, in this case Strout and Kingsolver, because I’ve been burned too many times by this PR tactic. But “Valentine”, by Elizabeth Wetmore is indeed an amazing debut!Be prepared to be immediately thrust into the day after Valentine’s Day, 1976, in the Permian Basin (oil fields) area of West Texas. As dawn approaches we meet Gloria Ramirez who is 14 and has just been raped but a young, white roughneck.You’re hooked, ...more
    Mary Beth Keane
    Aug 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    Such a well-written, powerful novel. An extraordinary debut. Add to your TBRs everyone! Out in April.
    switterbug (Betsey)
    Once upon a time in Odessa, Texas, 1976, during the cyclical boom and bust years, a young oil-rigging roughneck raped 14-year-old Gloria Ramirez on Valentine’s Day. Hence the eponymous title. Let that sink in. Gloria is the daughter of a Mexican immigrant. Imagine how quickly the authority figures in this unforgiving scrubland are quick to control the narrative, particularly the men. No hearts and flowers. Debut novelist Elizabeth Wetmore captures the casual but lethal misogyny of men toward ...more
    Shannon A
    Nov 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    Set in the harsh land of the soft drawl, Valentine is a debut that is infused with the sublime hell that is the 1970's Texas oil boom. A story of mastering the land this is not; it is instead, a love letter to the characters and how they find a way to cope with the unease that comes with where they live. Wetmore's writing burns with an invisible hope. Beautiful and raw in its imagery, I found my mind floating back to moments in book while reading; the characters calling me from the pages long ...more
    Karen
    Nov 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    Shelves: giveaways
    Valentine: A Novel starts with the rape of a 14 year old Mexican girl, Glory Ramirez, by the son of a white preacher In Odessa Texas, in 1976. Glory, bruised, beaten & raped makes her way to the isolated ranch of Mary Rose Whitehead, who is alone with her young daughter & seven months pregnant while her husband is out working the oil fields.
    The sherif is called & the rapist, awaits trial.

    Mary Rose is forced to take a home in town because of the town’s reaction to her assistance of
    ...more
    Bruce Katz
    Oct 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
    Shelves: american-fiction
    I'm not sure how to write about this book. I could use words like 'powerful' and 'searing,' 'smart' and 'artful' and 'furious,' and all would be fitting, but I wouldn't be anywhere near to capturing what "Valentine" is or how it felt to read it. I liked it immensely, was moved and shaken by it, but I'm hard-pressed to describe the complexity of the experience. At times, reading "Valentine" was like being thrown into a river swollen by sudden violent storms. So much to take in, to shake my head ...more
    Nancy
    Oct 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    This book is kind of a conglomeration of short stories that are building blocks for the bigger story. A horrible crime is committed in a small, West Texas town, right on the cusp of the big oil boom. There are a number of characters that each tell a piece of the story. It begins with a 14 year old Mexican American girl as she summons her strength and courage to stand up and walk from the truck where she was assaulted for many hours while the young man was liquored up and on an amphetamine high ...more
    Pamela
    Sep 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    A story about a group of women and girls in the west Texas oil fields around Odessa, but so much more than that. It’s a story of how people can be pushed to the edge of sanity and reason; about how a crime can shake a town to its roots; about how a victim becomes a survivor; about how a mother can become a warrior; about how to exist through grief that overwhelms. Elizabeth Wetmore writes so well while describing the most painful things, you may cry from sadness, or from her eloquence, or both. ...more
    Emilie
    Aug 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    Brilliant, wrenching, and unforgettable. I wish I could read it again for the first time.
    Ash
    Nov 27, 2019 marked it as already-own  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: arcs
    ARC received!
    kikkomandy
    Sep 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
    Shelves: giveaways
    Enjoyed this one! I found it a little hard to keep up with the characters and who’s who but overall this was nicely done and a great debut! I look forward to more from Elizabeth Wetmore.

    *this was a goodreads giveaway book.
    Rick
    Sep 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
    Shelves: giveaway-reads
    Full disclosure - I received this book in a GR Giveaway. Here is my take on my latest venture into fiction. I thought the writing was 5 star stuff ... lush and descriptive, drawing in the reader to all that the women characters of the storyline experienced; I gave the ending 3 stars though ... it was not really satisfying on an emotional level, but then maybe that's what happens in fiction a lot. Overall 4 stars for a wonderful first book by this author.

    This first novel by Elizabeth Wetmore
    ...more
    Lynn
    Oct 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    Odessa, Texas. February 15, 1976. Isolated. "Amarillo and Dallas are at least 300 miles away. El Paso is in a different time zone. Houston and Austin might as well be on a different planet. Lubbock, on a good day, is a two-hour drive". In this desolate environment, dry, brown, unceasing wind mindful of the Dust Bowl in the 1930's. "You can call a sandstorm a little breeze all day long, and you can call a drought a dry spell, but at the end of the day your house is still a mess and your tomato ...more
    KC
    It is 1976 and Odessa, Texas is on the brink of a great oil rush. In the wake of a violent and brutal assault, this descriptive and lyrical saga showcases the systemic ill affects of that crime, far reaching, and going way beyond the attack itself. This debut novel is truly unforgettable. For fans of Wiley Cash and Barbara Kingsolver.
    Nancy Shepherd
    Oct 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    Recommends it for: Those who enjoy historical fiction
    I'm still reeling from the powerful effects of this novel. Set in oil country, the men are rough and wild, the women simply trying to live in a hostile environment.
    I received this book, an ARC, free through Goodreads.
    June
    Sep 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    This is the best book I've read in quite a long time--and I read a lot (thanks NetGalley!). If you open your heart a tiny bit (some of the other NetGalley reviewers obviously didn't) you can deeply empathize with the different characters as they make mistakes, struggle with loneliness and grief, and deal with some of the worst life has to offer. The author is adept at showing that, while many people have made mistakes, been bratty and impulsive as teenagers or overwhelmed as young adults, the ...more
    Claire
    I didn't know much about this book going in. I just saw the cover in a Goodreads giveaway and thought it was pretty. When I was fortunate enough to win the book, then I read what it was about and thought, "oh...that's dark." I read YA fantasy; enough said. But this was such a worthwhile read and one that will stick with me for a long time.

    It's a very character-driven novel, which is my favorite kind. And all the characters are women from different backgrounds and vastly different experiences.
    ...more
    Kirsten
    Oct 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
    Shelves: netgalley
    put this on to read shelf


    review to come ...
    Michelle Olms
    Oct 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    Great book
    Ruth
    Sep 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
    Wow, an imaginative, well written, very powerful book. I found it quite difficult to read due to the subject matter -- the author has such a wonderful way with words and such a solid grasp of how a female facing or experiencing or remembering sexual harassment/discrimination/assault feels that reading this was very difficult for me. I kept putting the book away and picking it back up, especially during the first several chapters so it took two weeks to finish - a LONG time for me. KEEP READING! ...more
    Wendy Cosin
    Oct 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    I loved Valentine, a beautifully written novel featuring five women in Western Texas in the late 1970’s. The landscape and weather are integral parts of the book. The structure works very well with chapters focused on individual characters. The women are quite different and it was easy to become involved with each one. They are all Anglo, except one Mexican-American who is the center of the story. Many important issues are woven into the story - racism, rape, loss, motherhood, immigration, ...more
    Susan Englund
    Sep 16, 2019 rated it liked it
    This goodreads giveaway was well written and described a town in Texas during the oil boom years when men who came there for work could be dangerous and women had to be cautious and carry a weapon. The story centers on five characters and the consequences and responses toward the one, who is fourteen, Mexican and raped by a minister's son. The town with their prejudicial opinions have already judged the girl as enticing the man who they see as just a man who got drunk and made a mistake and ...more
    Pam Mooney
    Sep 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    I loved the perspective of the women and children living in a crime filled town in Texas. Wetmore created five colorful characters with their own stories to tell. I enjoy how they interacted with each other as well as with the men. I am sure throughout history their stories played out over and over
    and over. That is what makes this so interesting - the strengths and weaknesses of women and how they cope in desperate circumstances. I, personally, fell madly for Debra Ann and her spirit and
    ...more
    Debbie Schiedel
    Sep 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
    Story went in a completely different direction than I was expecting. It was not really about the rape itself. The female characters and their stories of living during and through an oil boom in Western Texas were the true plot. They were fascinating. Well worth the read!
    Tfalcone
    Aug 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
    Thank you Net Galley for the free ARC.

    "You raise a family in Midland, you raise hell in Odessa."

    This story deals with the rape of a young girl in a lawless oil boom town in the middle of the parched Texas desert. The town's people all have their opinions about what happened and how justice should be dealt. Finally the case goes to court.
    Karen
    Dec 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    VALENTINE
    BY ELIZABETH WETMORE

    I doubt that I can do Elizabeth Wetmore's debut novel called, "Valentine" justice it is just so compelling writing, that although this novel's publication date is April 2020, it is one of my favorite reading experiences this year at the tail end of 2019. It takes place in the western part of Texas in a town called Odessa. I would characterize this as a definite character study rich in detail and vivid detail. It takes place during the 1970's during an oil boom. The
    ...more
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