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4.28  ·  Rating details ·  302 ratings  ·  172 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 . . .

Its February 1976, and Odessa, Texas, stands on the cusp of the next great oil boom. While the towns men embrace
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published March 31st 2020 by Harper
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Average rating 4.28  · 
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An astonishingly unforgettable debut from the talented Elizabeth Wetmore, historical fiction set in the searing heat and dust of West Texas, in the cursed bust and boom oil town of Odessa in 1976, a white man's town in every which way, where men die in a variety of circumstances but if a woman dies, its more likely than not to be at the hands of a man. For women, narrow limits and prescribed perameters of life have them desperately dreaming of seeing a wider world, where pregnancy and motherhood ...more
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 nighthanging around, drinking limeades and begging smokes, waiting for something to happen, which it never did, not in
Elyse  Walters
Aug 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Im 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!!

Im a reader not a writer I could never do this book
Diane S ☔
Feb 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing

The year is 1976 and Odessa, Texas is experiencing an oil boom. Men from different locations have all come to the fields, looking for work and a chance to make big money. They are hard working, but also hard drinking, which creates potential problems for the women in the town.

The book opens with an act of violence against a 14 yr. Old Mexican girl. When she turns up on Mary Roses doorstep, her horrifying condition brings out the defender in her. Her defense of this girl and the violence done by
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
Mar 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A must read! ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

I will never forget this book or my experience reading Valentine. It wasnt easy to be a girl or woman in Odessa, Texas in 1976, and this book is about those women living the day-to-day. When Gloria Ramirez is violently attacked, the town is ripped apart. Gossip, blame, shame, and pure meanness rear their ugly heads.

Valentine was not an easy book to read, but its one that Ill always be grateful I read. Crimes against women are nothing new, unfortunately, but the time period
Profound. Poignant. Authentic. Raw. Beautiful. Elizabeth Wetmores debut Took my breath away and left me speechless. There is no way that my words can do this story justice. It was so beautifully written, so emotionally evocative, so true and authentic. West Texas 1976 The land is dry, the oil is pumping, guns are prevalent, racism is rampid, the good ole boys are in charge, and the women are in the home. When 14-year-old Gloria shows up on Mary roses porch battered and bruised she does not see ...more
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
Dec 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Year:- 1976. The place:- Odessa, West Texas. Oil boom. Its 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, hes right despite Mary Rose, whos ...more
Mackenzie - PhDiva Books
Mar 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: womens-fiction
Haunting and exquisite, this is the sort of book that carried a heavy stillness when I read it, where nothing else seemed to exist besides me and the story I was reading.

This book is so beautifully written, Elizabeth Wetmore is truly talented and brings a depth and authenticity to the heavy topics dealt with in this story. It is also a story that Im particularly honored to feature on International Womens Day, being a book filled with incredible women who make small and large actions to support
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

Its 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 distance
I loved the first part of this book, but by the middle of the book I really hated the fact we follow 5 people. I feel we follow to many characters and they had to much going on. I would get into to one of the characters then we would jump to the next character. I feel if we only followed two characters in the book it would be a great book. Ton much put into to this book for me. I won an acr copy of this book from a goodreads giveaway, but this review is 100% my own opinion of this book.
Nov 27, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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: Im 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!

Dec 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Surely this cannot be a debut novel. Its 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
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 Ive 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 Valentines 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. Youre hooked, youre
Dec 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing

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
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 Valentines 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
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
Bonnie Brody
Dec 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
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
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
Jan 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved everything about this book. I was entranced from the first page. The character development and sense of place are both stellar. The writers voice is so strong, that even with a different character narrating each chapter, the storytelling and plot are seamless. I didnt just read this book, I devoured it. Most highly recommend. ...more
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 towns reaction to her assistance of
Feb 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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.
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 1970s. 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
Anna Luce
DNF 40%

While I could get behind the lack of quotation of marks, I find the shifting povs to be unnecessary. I was under the impression that different perspectives would focus on Gloria Ramírez and her story but she is a mere blip in the lives of these other 3 or 4 characters. These women go on about their own mundane worries (one has just lost her husband, another one has a young daughter, and one has left her daughter). The needlessly unpleasant Debra-Ann is such a cliché. How is her narrative
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
Basic B's Guide
Feb 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
What a stunningly emotional debut. Another cover that drew me in, only to blow me away with equally gorgeous and immersive storytelling. Five women living in the small town of Odessa, Texas carry this story that will infuriate you and bring you to tears. Lets just say if I was a woman living in Texas in the 1970s I probably would have been shot. I would be raging like Mary Rose, the young mother, deeply affected by the rape of Glory Ramirez. This is by no means, an easy story but you wont be ...more
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. Its 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
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