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3.79  ·  Rating details ·  30,491 ratings  ·  4,303 reviews
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 the coming prosperity, its women intimately know and fear the violence that always se
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published March 31st 2020 by Harper
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Anna W. She is in the third chapter, Corrine's introduction, as the bartender. She also babysits for another character later in the story. She's certainly men…moreShe is in the third chapter, Corrine's introduction, as the bartender. She also babysits for another character later in the story. She's certainly mentioned, but she more or less represents a new, young version of up-and-coming women who Take No Shit.(less)
Susan The rape itself is not written about. The author begins afterwards and works backwards (i.e. explaining why Glory ended up in the truck with Stricklan…moreThe rape itself is not written about. The author begins afterwards and works backwards (i.e. explaining why Glory ended up in the truck with Strickland, who by then was passed out and what she did to seek help). (less)

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Average rating 3.79  · 
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 ·  30,491 ratings  ·  4,303 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
Angela M
Jun 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A hauntingly powerful, and beautiful debut ! This is a longer than usual review, but I just had to be sure I could do it justice. Odessa Texas in 1976, and believe me when I say I felt as if I was there. The brown dry land and the beautiful purple sky on the cover are portrayed in beautiful prose. The intimate thoughts and feelings of the characters make such an impact, as we become privy to the burdens they carry as they make their way through life in this dry, brutal land where oil and men rul ...more
Elyse  Walters
Aug 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
Brenda ~Traveling Sisters Book Reviews
Again I found myself lost in the descriptive writing to a story and I struggled through the story trying to figure what it was exploring. I was intrigued by Gloria and Mary Rose's storyline here but it felt like more of a side story and I wanted to see more focus on it. There were too many characters and I struggled with keeping track of who was who. I couldn't connect with any of the characters and this one just didn't work for me.

I received a copy on EW
Valentine by Elizabeth Wetmore is a 2020 Harper publication.

Phenomenal Debut!

After fourteen- year old Gloria Ramirez is beaten and raped, she escapes her attacker, finally making her way to the doorstep of Mary Rose Whitehead. Mary Rose was home alone with her daughter, but bravely keeps Gloria safe with so small danger to herself. However, once the immediate threat has passed, Mary Rose discovers the community is far from impressed by her act of courage and heroism.

Because the accused rapist i
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
I loved the first few chapters of this book, but by the middle of the book I really hated the fact we follow 5 people. In my opinion 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. There was to much going on in this book for me. I won an ARC copy of this book from a goodreads giveaway, but this review is 100% my own opinio ...more
Jan 10, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Valentine by Elizabeth Wetmore (Author), Cassandra Campbell (Narrator), Jenna Lamia (Narrator)

The reason I wanted to read/hear Valentine is because I've lived in west Texas for the last thirty years and have lived in Texas or New Mexico for my entire life. I know this area, the weather, the plants, the wind, sand/dirt, heat, tornadoes, drought, animals, birds, on and on. It's hard enough in the best of times. I felt like I was reliving my long drives across west Texas, with Wetmore's book and th
Richard (on hiatus)
Valentine by Elizabeth Whetmore opens with the disturbing image of Gloria, a fourteen year old Mexican girl escaping from an itinerant, oil field roughneck. She has been violently raped.
The way this terrible event touches the lives of those living in the nearby Texan oil town, Odessa, forms the backbone of the novel.
The events take place over a stiflingly hot summer in 1976 and are seen mainly from a female perspective. The relationship between mother and daughter is a constant theme and the in
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
Jun 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Odessa, Texas. It’s 1976 and a young fourteen-year-old Mexican girl, Gloria, is beaten and raped by a white oilfield worker. She shows up on Mary Grace’s porch, bloodied and battered. This attack divides the town and pits neighbor against neighbor. Readers learn what happens next through the eyes of the women in the town.

There are multiple points of view but these three had my heart:

- Mary Grace, a young mother who opens the door to the battered Gloria. She keeps Gloria safe but the repercussio
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
Mar 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: drtbr2
A must read! ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

I will never forget this book or my experience reading Valentine. It wasn’t 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 it’s one that I’ll always be grateful I read. Crimes against women are nothing new, unfortunately, but the tim
May 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I am kind of short of words to describe all the emotions this novel granted me. Having received a library copy, I read it just in two days and finished this morning.
Those of my GR Friends who have already reviewed 'Valentine' remark on the outstanding writing power that you can find in this novel and the fact that it is a debut makes it even more remarkable.
The voices of female protagonists of different age are strong. The stories of their lives in Odessa, Texas, in the mid seventies made my he
Yes, it start's out the day after a young teen's rape, but it doesn't stay there. It's a character driven novel that orbits around race, gender, and integrity in Odessa, Texas in 1976 as seen through the female perspective only.

"Gloria could be any of our girls,...."

"Why don't we give a shit about what happens to a girl like Glory Ramirez?"

Rape details are not disclosed. The emotional and physical aftermath on Gloria (also known as Glory) are affirmed, but Gloria is given only 3 chapte
Val ⚓️ Shameless Non-Snowflake ⚓️
I went back and forth on my rating for this book quite a bit. At one point, I wanted to DNF, but I pushed through. I initially rated it one star, but then bumped it up to two...and then three...and then finally four. And yet I wouldn’t exactly say I enjoyed the story.

While I appreciated the haunting, character-driven literary nature and the way it gave women and their struggles the stage, I also didn’t love how much we jumped around. We focused on a multitude of women and pin-balled around thei
Profound. Poignant. Authentic. Raw. Beautiful. Elizabeth Wetmore’s 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 rose’s porch battered and bruised she does not see ...more
May 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
It’s the 1970s in Odessa, Texas, where a group of neighborhood women deal with the lasting aftermath of a brutal crime that took place nearby on Valentine’s night — A 14-year old girl, Gloria, was beaten and assaulted.

Valentine is a character study of these women, dealing with their own loss and hardships, many, too proud to ask for help, but still, a community united. I enjoyed their various perspectives — Corrine was my favorite. I felt for the different things they were going through as well
Lindsay - Traveling Sisters Book Reviews
2.5 stars. A violent crime in a small town.

Odessa, Texas 1978: Fourteen-year-old Gloria stumbles her way to the one and only house for miles after being brutally attacked in the deserted oil fields. Mary Rose opens her front door to find the young girl beaten, barefoot and bleeding. Little does Mary Rose know the lifelong consequences she will face by opening her front door and helping the child.

This novel covers several heavy topics including race, class, rape, gender and prejudice. It provide
Jul 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a debut novel that really took me by surprise as the writing is so impressive, sharp and convincing.

The opening chapters of this novel really blew me away, such descriptive and vivid writing. I could smell the oil and feel the tension and the heat as the author set the scene for what was to come in the story. I was standing with MaryRose on her front porch the day trouble came to her door and I could feel my heart beating as I tried to figure how I would have handled the situation tha
Apr 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This novel begins the morning after the brutal rape of a young Mexican/American teenage girl that occurs in a field in the oil town of Odessa, Texas in 1976. She is locked outside the truck of the perpetrator who is white, young, armed, and asleep.. she doesn’t have her clothes on and is beaten she attempts to gather any clothes of hers she can find and make it to a farm house she sees in the distance across the field, without the young man waking up and possibly shooting her.
This is a
Jun 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
This well-written and compelling debut novel by Elizabeth Wetmore left me with a negative image of West Texas, its dry and harsh landscape, and the brutal, masculine culture of that time (I hope). The setting is the oil town of Odessa, Texas in 1976. A young, Hispanic teenager named Gloria is beaten and raped by a liquored-up oil worker. She is the daughter of a Mexican immigrant and her attacker is the son of a Pentecostal preacher.

The format is written from the POV of several women interconnec
Apr 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
“Valentine” by Elizabeth Wetmore is a female character driven novel situated in west Texas in 1976. From her author photo, she seems too young to capture the socioeconomic essence and female oppression of that time period. I was 18 in 1976 and living in a tiny ranch/farmer town in South Dakota. Reading “Valentine” brought back all the uneasy memories of my youth. The difference of South Dakota and Texas is that the Lakota Sioux were the “Mexicans” of South Dakota.

Fourteen-year-old Gloria begins
Jun 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime
Gloria was hanging around the Picnic table at Sonic, drinking lime-ades and begging smokes, waiting for something to happen, when Dale Strickland pulled in.

The next morning, she would be walking barefoot, 3 miles to the nearest Farmhouse after being raped repeatedly, and beaten badly enough to need her spleen removed.

She was just 14 years old.

I knew from the synopsis that she would make it there, but not if she would live past that day. She managed to knock on the door and to ask the very pre
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 consequen ...more
Jul 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Valentine’s Day. Usually a day that consists of roses, candy, chocolate and love. But not for Gloria, a 14 year old Mexican girl. Her Valentine’s consisted of a beating, raping and a spleen removal. Welcome to Odessa, Texas.
A town where red neck white men abuse women. A place where women fear for their female children. Hide them from anywhere males may congregate. This is an oil town.
It’s accepted male behaviour - worst at best.
It’s racially divided - a theme that continues.
It’s a story of loss,
Mar 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
For fans of literary fiction with multiple narratives, the book begins with Gloria, a 14 year old girl who has been violently attacked. (There is no graphic detail of the violence, which I was very appreciative of.) She seeks help from the inhabitants of a farm house in the distance and from there we move to Mary Rose and her first person account of Gloria's escape and how to help her.

The most common time of day I have to read is when I'm in bed before I go to sleep. I was pretty tired when I s
Dec 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
Any form of complacency is the kiss of death.

Elizabeth Wetmore explores this deeply and profoundly in Valentine. Side glances seeking corners of escape, refusal to accept what stares hard and long at you, hearts and minds willing to take no action. These are the creatures that find sustenance in the callousness of inertia.

Odessa, Texas in the late 1970's is a cesspool of wayward men seeking their fortune in the vastness of the oilfields. The dust blows non-stop and carries its grit beneath the s

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 distanc
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
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The beauty of a paperback novel is multidimensional. Allow me to explain: The format allows you to catch up on some of 2020's biggest books...
133 likes · 14 comments
“But of all the things Victor learned during the war -- that living to see another day is almost always a matter of stupid luck, that men who know they might die any minute can learn not to give a shit about who's the All-Star and who's the Mexican, or that heroism is most often small and accidental but it still means the world -- the greatest lesson was this: nothing causes more suffering than vengeance. And Victor has no taste for it, not even as the sole witness to his niece's suffering.” 13 likes
“Every book has at least one good thing…Love stories and bad news and evil masterminds, plots as thick as sludge, places and people she wishes she could know in real life, and words whose loveliness and music make her want to cry when she says them aloud.” 7 likes
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