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Valentine: A Novel

4.34  ·  Rating details ·  181 ratings  ·  102 reviews
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 the coming prosperity, its women intimately know and fear the violence that always seems to follow.

In the early hours of the morning after Valentine’s Day, fourteen-year-old Gloria Ramírez appears on the front porch of
Kindle Edition, 320 pages
Expected publication: April 7th 2020 by Harper (first published March 31st 2020)
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Average rating 4.34  · 
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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
Elyse  Walters
Sep 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Year:- 1976. The place:- Odessa, West Texas. Oil boom. It’s hell, hard, harsh, brutal, bigoted, full of machismo, mayhem, sexism, violence and injustice. When Gloria Ramirez, 15, is brutally raped it sets of a kind of chain reaction of blame, counter blame, prejudice, gossip and bigoted innuendo that some women are never the same again. Dale Strickland is the coward in question who thinks he can take what he wants and there will be few repercussions. Sadly, he’s right despite Mary Rose, who’ ...more
Aug 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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

It’s early in the morning of the 15th of February, 1976 as this story begins, and Gloria Ramirez is sitting outside of a pickup truck on the ground, while the young man who brutally assaulted her physically and sexually earlier sits, passed out from all the alcohol he drank, inside his truck. She counts the seconds passing, watching and waiting for the right moment to make a run for the nearest place where she can hide. Not an easy feat where the land is so flat it is hard to measure the
Mary Lins
Oct 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 by a young, white roughneck. You’re hooked,
Dec 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Surely this cannot be a debut novel. It’s so beautifully assured, so wrenching, so poignant, so masterfully written. Yet somehow, it is, and it grabbed at my heartstrings and broke my heart at the same time.

Set in the 1970s in Odessa, Texas, the book opens with a gut punch: the violence against and rape of 14-year-old Gloria Ramirez and the fault lines that occur in the town as no-gooder Dale Strickland is charged. Elizabeth Wetmore dives deep into the internal lives of her characters: Mary Rose
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
Mary Beth Keane
Aug 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Such a well-written, powerful novel. An extraordinary debut. Add to your TBRs everyone! Out in April.
Claire Fuller
This was a proof sent to me by the publisher. (I don't rate proofs on Goodreads - seems unfair - I want to wish the book the best, but I don't want to compromise my rating system.) But I LOVED this book. A wonderful cast of female characters living in a small West Texas town in 1976 just as an oil boom hits. The event that links them together is finely woven, the thread sometimes even disappears, but it's the women's and girl's lives, their hardships, that it what kept me reading. Beautifully ...more
Nov 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: literary fiction fans
Thank you to NetGalley and HarperCollins Publishers for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

First, let me just get this petty detail out of the way before I move on to more important things: I’m sick and tired of literary fiction authors refusing to use quotation marks. Why must they insist on making the reading experience unnecessarily difficult and inaccessible? Stop it! Stop throwing dialogue in the middle of a paragraph with no indication that someone is speaking!

Bonnie Brody
Dec 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Valentine by Elizabeth Wetmore is a novel about violence, trauma, racism and what it was like to be a woman living in Odessa, a city in western Texas, during the mid-1970's. Oil is spewing from so many oil fields that it is unbelievable. This drought-ridden desert of a place is a misbegotten city with not much going for it.

On February 15, 1976, one of the oil workers picks up 14 year old Gloria Ramirez at a drive through hamburger joint and takes her to a deserted oil rig where he beats and
Shannon A
Nov 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This outstanding debut novel made the hair stand up on both arms. The tension builds from the first page and does not let up. The characters are edgy and real. The story is harsh and yet tender. A great new book by a new author to watch.
Jan 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved everything about this book. I was entranced from the first page. The character development and sense of place are both stellar. The writer’s voice is so strong, that even with a different character narrating each chapter, the storytelling and plot are seamless. I didn’t just read this book, I devoured it. Most highly recommend.
Wendy Cosin
Oct 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Bruce Katz
Oct 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Dec 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

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
Kim McGee
Jan 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This powerful debut is the story of the unheard and seemingly powerless women of Odessa. Elizabeth Wetmore understands the West Texas mentality with an emphasis on "men". It begins in 1976 with the brutal rape of a young Mexican American girl and what happens leading up to the trial. Told entirely from the women's perspective (young and older), their stories mirror the hard life and the emotional abuse if not physical many of them have suffered. Sadly, only one woman stands up to testify at ...more
Dec 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giveaways
Every so often, a novel comes around that knocks the wind out of you. Sucker punches the words right out of your mouth. TKO.

Valentine by Elizabeth Wetmore is one such novel. In her debut, Wetmore delivers a haunting story centered around a rape, that involves a cast of strong-willed characters, hardened by a life lived in the oil patches of Odessa, Texas in the 1970s.

Mary Rose will forever be haunted by the sight of a girl, standing on her doorstep, clinging to life- and the devil chasing after
Dec 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giveaways
Valentine was a very powerful and moving book. The blurb describing the book compares the writing to that of Elizabeth Strout--a very high mark to hit. I did remind me of Strout. The various women characters in this book were so well drawn and moving and I was drawn into each of their stories. As these women were abused, marginalized, ignored, discriminated against, cruelly demeaned by members of their community and their own family, I became angrier and angrier. The scene with Mary Rose in the ...more
Aug 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant, wrenching, and unforgettable. I wish I could read it again for the first time.
Sep 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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.
Sep 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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“Yeah. What do you need, Corrine, to be happy with me and Alice?

She doesn't hesitate. I need to go back to my work, Potter.

Honey, you work, taking care of Alice and me.

Yes, I do. I'd prefer to teach English to a classroom full of hormonal rednecks.”
“The only thing I hate more that being home with Alice all day long is feeling guilty about not wanting to do it. Corrine's voice breaks and she pushes her fist against her mouth. She is trying not to cry, and this makes her even angrier.” 0 likes
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