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Publisher's Summary

A top 10 New York Times best seller. 

With the haunting emotional power of American Dirt and the atmospheric suspense of Where the Crawdads Sing: a compulsive debut novel that explores the aftershock of a brutal crime on the women of a small Texas oil town.    

Mercy is hard in a place like this. I wished him dead before I ever saw his face....

In a place like Odessa, Texas choosing who to trust can be a dangerous game.

Mary Rose Whitehead isn’t looking for trouble – but when it shows up at her front door, she finds she can’t turn away.

Corinne Shepherd, newly widowed, wants nothing more than to mind her own business, and for everyone else to mind theirs. But when the town she has spent years rebelling against closes ranks she realises she is going to have to take a side.

Gloria Ramírez, 14 years old and out of her depth, survives the brutality of one man only to face the indifference and prejudices of many.

When justice is as slippery as oil, and kindness becomes a hazardous act, sometimes the courage to choose is all we have to keep us alive.

©2020 Elizabeth Wetmore (P)2020 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic Reviews

"Fierce and complex, Valentine is a novel of moral urgency and breathtaking prose. This is the very definition of a stunning debut." (Anne Patchett)

"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 Bitter Orange)

"It’s like a grimmer, newer version of To Kill A Mockingbird...It sounds bleak, and it is, but there is beauty, too; in the landscape, in the spirit of some of the people and most of all in Wetmore’s wonderful writing." (Daily Mail)

What listeners say about Valentine

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Profile Image for Penny G.
  • Penny G.
  • 08-13-20

Absolutely wonderful!

I can’t praise this novel - and the way it was narrated - highly enough! Beautiful, heartbreaking, shocking and inspirational - as a first novel it is astonishing, and the beautiful performances brought it to life.

The description of places, weather, landscape, friendships and histories all woven together seamlessly. I will listen to this novel many times as there will always be something new to find in it. Moving and wonderful - thank you!



6 people found this helpful

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  • Mauve dreamer
  • 02-12-21

Magnificent Book

Absolutely fell in love with this book. It's narrated beautifully and it's a gentle but powerful narrative. Raw and brutal but also wonderfully written in it's description of the place . I came across it by chance..Will definitely read again.

3 people found this helpful

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  • eleniki
  • 06-28-21

A rare jewel of a book

This is a beautiful book. The writing is exquisitely detailed and fine, with every word carefully chosen and perfectly placed. The subject matter, and the place it is set in, are not beautiful. They are brutal and harsh and ugly. The event that is central to the story is shocking, but this is a culture that engenders such events, and this is just one more. But to Gloria, to Mary Rose, to Corinne, it is life-changing. The mechanisms set in motion in the lives of these three are subtly and powerfully described. The peripheral story lines are key to the novel, as they allow the reader in to the world of post Vietnam Texas, its people, how they survive and what they dream of.
Elizabeth Wetmore is a stunningly gifted writer. I will read this book again and again, to appreciate in more depth the magnificent prose and subtle observations.
Cassandra Campbell and Jenna Lamia are two of my favourite narrators, and lived up to their superb reputations in reading Valentine. I note that there may be a film made of the book and look forward to it, though it will be upsetting. I hope the descriptions can somehow be translated into the cinematographic equivalent.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Kiki
  • 02-18-21

Too many characters

Although this book started off really great it was a struggle to finish. Too many characters and I personally was not able to connect with most of them except Gloria and Corine. Too many unnecessary chapters. This book had the potential to be a great story but I do not recommend.

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  • Ispendtoomuch
  • 07-07-22

I'm struggling to understand the point?

First of all, the narration was perfect in this book and the writing is beautiful. But my issue with the story is that it really never built up to anything. I was waiting for it to "get to the point" and it just never did. So for me it was quite anticlimatic.

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  • Em
  • 04-27-22

Wonderful

Beautifully narrated. It's one of those stories you can get completely wrapped up in. Strong, believable characters.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-09-22

Brilliant, Eye-opening tale

A book unlike any other I've read in a bit. Seen through the eyes of many different women at a unjust time in small town, West Texas. Fabulous, strong female characters. Loved it and adored almost every character in it.

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  • Marie
  • 03-23-22

Worth a listen and maybe more than one..

I enjoyed this book overall and the narration is a key strength. There rich descriptions that transport the listener vividly into the landscape and offer insight into the characters and their culture. However, I felt the underlying story lacked the momentum that I need to hold my attention in audio form. I found myself regularly drifting away during the protracted descriptions. The range of characters are fascinating and compelling. However, I felt that I just got into one character's story before feeling too abruptly pulled away into another's. I admire the author's ambition and feel it would merit more than one listen.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-25-21

A beautiful evocative book... narration superb.

This was a most enjoyable book, the women, whose resilience, determination and strength of character inhabited my mind . The land was described in a most evocative way and despite its bleakness, both location and subject matter, this was a brilliant listening experience.