Other Sellers on Amazon
Download the free Kindle app and start reading Kindle books instantly on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required. Learn more
Read instantly on your browser with Kindle Cloud Reader.
Using your mobile phone camera - scan the code below and download the Kindle app.
Enter your mobile phone or email address
By pressing "Send link," you agree to Amazon's Conditions of Use.
You consent to receive an automated text message from or on behalf of Amazon about the Kindle App at your mobile number above. Consent is not a condition of any purchase. Message & data rates may apply.
Follow the Author
Valentine: A Novel Hardcover – Deckle Edge, March 31, 2020
|New from||Used from|
Enhance your purchase
Frequently bought together
"A monument to a sort of singular grace, and true grit." -- Entertainment Weekly
“Valentine, Elizabeth Wetmore’s fierce and brilliant debut novel, is set in Odessa, a rough-edged West Texas town built on cattle and oil. It evokes the physicality of the place with a visceral power that recalls Cormac McCarthy, and sets out its cultural ambience and mores with the ironic clarity of Larry McMurtry. This literary landscape has been defined by men as surely as the reality it represents. Wetmore sweeps them to the sidelines, defiantly and confidently claiming West Texas for the women and girls. . . . Valentine joins the best Texas novels ever written.” -- Minneapolis Star Tribune
“Excellent. . . . Tense and riveting. . . . D.A. emerges a gritty, welcome addition to American literature’s pantheon of young heroines. . . . Wetmore, a native of West Texas and graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, offers with her first novel a harrowing narrative of a region she knows well, described with precision and passion.” -- Associated Press
“Exceptional. . . .Wetmore, like Harper Lee before her, has little interest in preserving the illusions of people who believe that justice and love will always prevail. . . . an incredibly moving and emotionally devastating piece of work that heralds great things from Wetmore.” -- Houston Chronicle
"Wetmore’s characters offer perspectives that cross generations, socioeconomic classes and races. Yet all characters serve to showcase the resilience of women and the power that comes in deciding the direction of one’s own story." -- San Francisco Chronicle
“Gripping and complex. . . . Wetmore’s delight in language enlivens every page. . . . With its deeply realized characters, moral intricacy, brilliant writing and a page-turning plot, Valentine rewards its readers’ generosity with innumerable good things in glorious abundance.” -- Chicago Tribune
"Valentine shines with strong characters, some sympathetic, others detestable, and a complex plot with narrative threads smoothly knitted together." -- The Missourian
“Fierce and complex, VALENTINE is a novel of moral urgency and breathtaking prose. This is the very definition of a stunning debut.” -- Ann Patchett
“It is nearly impossible for me to believe that Elizabeth Wetmore is a first-time novelist. How can a writer burst out of the gate with this much firepower and skill? VALENTINE is brilliant, sharp, tightly wound, and devastating. Wetmore has ripped the brutal, epic landscape of West Texas out of the hands of men, and has handed the stories over (finally!) to the girls and women who have always suffered, survived, and made their mark in such a hostile world. These are some of the most fully realized and unforgettable female characters I’ve ever met. They will stay with me." -- Elizabeth Gilbert, New York Times bestselling author of City of Girls
“A testament to the resilience of the female spirit. . . .Wetmore’s prose is both beautiful and bone-true, and this mature novel hardly feels like a debut. You’ll wish you had more time with each of these powerful women when it’s over.” -- Bookpage (starred review)
“Stirring. . . . Wetmore poetically weaves the landscape of Odessa and the internal lives of her characters, whose presence remains vivid after the last page is turned. This moving portrait of West Texas oil country evokes the work of Larry McMurtry and John Sayles with strong, memorable female voices.” -- Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“A searing, propulsive debut. . . . Through these alternating narratives, Wetmore tells a powerful story of female anger, a repressed rage against systematic sexism and racism ready to explode. . . . From its chilling opening to its haunting conclusion, this astonishing novel will resonate with many readers.” -- Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Drawing comparisons to Barbara Kingsolver and Wallace Stegner, Wetmore writes with an evidently innate wisdom about the human spirit. With deep introspection, she expertly unravels the complexities between men, women, and the land they inhabit. Achingly powerful, this story will resonate with readers long after having finished it.” -- Booklist
“My goodness, what a novel. I clutched this book in both hands and by the end I could feel the dust of West Texas on my skin. Elizabeth Wetmore understands the nuances of the human heart better than almost any writer I’ve read in recent years, and I rooted for these women with everything I have. There is violence here, and despair, but in the end the story is a testament to quiet courage, to hope, to love. Every person should read this extraordinary debut.” -- Mary Beth Keane, New York Times bestselling author of Ask Again, Yes
“Elizabeth Wetmore shows us the vivid and complex culture of Odessa, Texas. The women in this book move through their difficult lives with strength and surprising grace. The landscape and characters are rendered with precise and lyric prose. Valentine is a beautiful book written with compassion, understanding, and deep honesty. A remarkable debut.” -- Chris Offutt, author of Country Dark
“In Valentine, Elizabeth Wetmore cracks open West Texas and lays bare what beats inside: a world at once ferocious, fragile, and furious, where women and girls fight menace from every fanged quarter—land, animal, human. But fight they do, for themselves, for each other, for what’s right. Wondrously, amid the sorrow, Valentine thrums with the most staggering beauty, a compassion and tenderness as vast as the sky. You’ll read this book like a letter from a lost love, clutched in your hands, heart in your throat. You’ll carry it with you forever.” -- Bryn Chancellor, author of Sycamore
"In outstanding prose, Wetmore has created a handful of extraordinary women out of the dust of West Texas, 1976. They are all so real, with their hard lives lived with absolute humanity. Valentine is both heartbreaking and thrilling, I loved it." -- Claire Fuller, author of Our Endless Numbered Days
- Publisher : Harper (March 31, 2020)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 320 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0062913263
- ISBN-13 : 978-0062913265
- Item Weight : 1.05 pounds
- Dimensions : 6 x 1.05 x 9 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #26,066 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Reviews with images
Top reviews from the United States
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
The story is told in revolving POV’s between the main female characters. Wetmore begins the story directly after the rape of 14 year old Gloria/Glory and then proceeds to fill in the gaps and characters by allowing them to speak and narrate individual chapters. There’s much more narrative than dialogue which is unusual in contemporary fiction. It reminds me of the writings of authors like Larry McMurtry or older Barbara Kingsolver (“BeanTree Wars”) and even Pat Conroy. She’s going to be on my watch list.
Women in this story are strong, courageous, flawed and resilient. Most of the men are portrayed in a negative or absent light. There are a few that are “ok” but by and far, the testosterone fails in this one. The bad guys are heinous and the guys that are supposed to be good aren’t so great. It’s a tough story for the males of our species. For characterizations, the author has done a spectacular job.
Altho’ the topic of the book is rape, the sexual content of the book is handled well. There’s nothing that’s overly descriptive sexually nor is there any violent excess. I’d rate both of these 3.5/10 or PG-13. There are a few expletives, including f-bombs, but they are minimal and used in an appropriate literary manner - not flagrant display, shock value or lazy writing. These uses are emotional utterances by accurately motivated characters; 2/10
“Valentine” is a rare book of exceptional quality that revisits a time gone bye with unfortunate events that continue to plague our contemporary society. Highly recommended 📚
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 rapes her repeatedly. "If the young roughneck hadn't passed out before he sobered up enough to find his gun or get his hands around her throat, she would already be dead". Gloria, who will never use her given name from this day, manages to walk/crawl through the desert, cactus, drought ridden terrain until she gets to a farm house where a pregnant Mary Rose opens the door and lets Glory inside.
This novel is brilliant. Each sentence contains a world. There are no rabbit trails and no fillers. This is a book of essence, poetic and literary, yet spot on with its narrative, storytelling and characterization. The novel is told primarily through four voices. Mary Rose is pregnant and already has one daughter. The impact of letting Glory into her home and believing the story of what happened to her will change her life forever. Debra Ann is a precocious child who has her ear to the ground and knows the ups and downs of Odessa. Her mother has run off and in many ways she is a feral child, but one with spunk, empathy, and intelligence to spare. Corrine is a curmudgeonly widow who is about as close to being a misanthrope as one can get. Sometimes she will let Debra Ann get to her but mostly she drinks to stave off her grief and anger at the world. Gloria has decided that she will forevermore be called Glory, that she must leave Odessa in order to survive. This will have ramifications she never dreamed of.
As many of the women in the United States glory in their newfound freedom by burning their bras, joining NOW, and reading Ms. Magazine, this is not what it's like in Odessa. Here the women are second class citizens, bred to obey their husbands, go to church, not make waves, and raise their children. If they get out of line, they are called out or even shunned. Odessa is not on the mailing list for a feminist wake-up call. Additionally, being hispanic in Odessa is a triple whammy. The racism is thick and evil like just-fried molasses on your tongue, burning up those who question the righteousness of this hate.
As the four women's lives intersect in many ways, a narrative is created that will shake the reader's core. If this book was an earthquake, its magnitude would shake the book right out of your hands and into the next world. Do I believe that this is Ms. Wetmore's first novel? Yes. Do I think it's miraculous? Also, yes. A book like this comes around just a few times in your lifetime, if you're lucky. I feel privileged and blessed to have read this amazing novel.
Top reviews from other countries
Despite the grim setting being vividly painted and the characters well-crafted this is only an average story. The lack of speech punctuation means the text can be difficult to read for long periods and I feel this spoils the reading of the novel
They are tough, courageous, angry women, often driven near to despair by their lives and sometimes by their menfolk. These men are largely shadows on the periphery, looming large but never quite coming into focus - with the exception of the dead husband of one of the women. To some extent the men are more part of the background of danger and obstacles in the womens' lives than real characters. Part of a landscape of oil, dust, storms and heat which is vividly and powerfully written. The author has a fabulous gift with words and she doesn't waste a single one in sentimentality or cliche; every sentence drives home her point mercilessly.
It's not for the fainthearted, this book, but I recommend it.
A 14 years old Mexican girl is badly set upon by a drug/drink addled man. What follows are various slants as related by members of the small time community where the assault took place. It’s difficult to believe that people had such warped characteristics and ideas regarding fellow humans but it is set in different times. Only a few of the characters redeem themselves. The point, I think!, is whether a 14 years old girl is responsible for what happened to her.
This is the second book in a week where I’ve read where racism and bigotry rear their ugly heads (the other book being The Good Neighbourhood - worth a read) and the believable attitudes of people do not reflect well on the areas of USA where the plots are set. That’s life though and if you’re a rational, fair minded person this will have you squirming.
Certainly better than many books I’ve read recently and as a debut I feel this author is one to look out for in the future.