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Publisher's Summary

A Read with Jenna Today Show Book Club pick!

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....

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, 14-year-old Gloria Ramírez appears on the front porch of Mary Rose Whitehead’s ranch house, broken and barely alive. The teenager had been viciously attacked in a nearby oil field - an act of brutality that is tried in the churches and barrooms of Odessa before it can reach a court of law. When justice is evasive, the stage is set for a showdown with potentially devastating consequences. 

Valentine is a haunting exploration of the intersections of violence and race, class, and region in a story that plumbs the depths of darkness and fear, yet offers a window into beauty and hope. Told through the alternating points of view of indelible characters who burrow deep in the listener’s heart, this fierce, unflinching, and surprisingly tender novel illuminates women’s strength and vulnerability, and reminds us that it is the stories we tell ourselves that keep us alive.

©2020 Elizabeth Wetmore (P)2020 HarperAudio

What listeners say about Valentine

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Texas girls don’t say PEE - can

I love this book. The stories the women tell are so familiar since I grew up in Midland in the late 60s to early 70s. The descriptions of the countryside are great. The only complaint I have is the the narrators didn’t bother to check Texas pronunciation. We call the nuts pah-CAHNS! The city is PAY-cus not PEE-cos. And the cattle are HER-ferd not HAIR-a-ford. It is jarring to hear these mistakes for a story so very much a West Texas story!!

47 people found this helpful

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Would not recommend

The story of valentine is a good one and realistic. The language is abominable and unrealistic. Women and children did not talk that way. I know because I come from an oil field family and I’m married to a geologist. I will not recommend it.

25 people found this helpful

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powerful portrait of being a woman

I wanted to cry, laugh, drink, smoke and become a better shot. beautiful story in a relatable time period for me.

10 people found this helpful

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A book for every woman

I will buy this in hardback. I will read the stories of their lives and see a shadow of my own story among the pages. This is a book not to be missed.

10 people found this helpful

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WEST TEXAS WOMEN

Amazing description of the raw reality of small town life of Western Texas. Women's voices recount a revealing story of injustice, prejudice and ultimate intervening Karma grace. Author pens detailed images that hold a frame for the action. What a picture, not always softened by bluebonnets!

8 people found this helpful

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not what I expected; and an outstanding read

it took a while for my experience of this book to override my expectations that were set as I began. That, in itself, was a pleasure.
The West Texas stage is wide and pale and clear. I want to have coffee, or a bourbon iced tea, with Corrinne, "real bad." I want to talk to my own family about what social norms were, really, then.
The vocal performances are perfect. Tone, pitch, and accent are beautifully matched to the text and respectful of the characters, culture, and time.

Thank you, Audible, for making this available for free. I might've overlooked it, otherwise.

8 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Dreary and Depressing

This story is well written and the author does a good job of developing the characters and it must have been captivating enough for me to have listened to the whole book. My problem was that it was so depressing and I kept wondering WHY I was listening to it. Also the narrator obviously had never stepped foot into Texas. Many words were mispronounced (such as the word pecan and it was used a couple dozen times). I won’t recommend it.

6 people found this helpful

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Well......

The writing was amazingly descriptive! I felt like I could be in any small town USA where all the woman talk, and men get away with anything! Her metaphors were sad,beautiful, and accurate. She painted pictures so real I felt like I was part of the story. But the story itself was slow and missing a strong plot. I understood the meaning; the betrayal of the little girl and racism, but a lot of character development that lacked an actual story.
But what I I take a way is that this story and how she tells it is a character in itself. And for that it’s pretty genius!

6 people found this helpful

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Valentine

The story seemed disjointed somehow. The narrators pronunciation of several words was decidedly not Texan. I wish she had been more familiar with the vernacular and accent of West Texas. It would have made for a more authentic and enjoyable listen.

6 people found this helpful

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Gripping Story

Having multiple narrators added to the authors format of having each chapter be a different woman's voice. She was adept at character description and weaving the characters together going into the past. I have never been to west Texas but pictured it completely. I loved it!

5 people found this helpful