VALENTINE first caught my attention when I saw a review copy on the shelf at Copperfish Books. It was the week before Valentine’s Day. Perfect, I thought. I plucked it off the shelf thinking I would blog about it for the big romantic day. Not so much. You see, VALENTINE is just about the last novel you would want to read to celebrate. But it’s an amazing debut novel written by an author who is going to become very well known.
Gloria Ramirez is looking for trouble. Her mom has gone to work for the evening. Here it is the night before Valentine’s Day, 1976, in Odessa, Texas. Gloria is bored. So she heads out to the Sonic Drive Thru hoping for adventure. Her adventure drives up in a dusty, dinged-up old pick up truck driven by a good looking oil rigger who is also looking for trouble. It doesn’t take long before Gloria climbs into the truck and off they go. Into the dessert where Gloria’s world will forever be left behind.
The morning after the “attack” Gloria turns up on the doorstep of Mary Rose Whitehead’s ranch house which is literally out in the middle of nowhere. Mary Rose is shaken to her core at the condition of the young girl before her. And I will now say Gloria is fourteen. Almost beaten to death and raped. Her spirit as well as her body broken.
Told in alternative points of view, VALENTINE is the story of a young girl wronged in the very worst way, then threatened by the unbelievers and forced from her home. Mary Rose is determined to testify as the prime witness for the prosecution. But half the town believes the act of violence was brought on by the young girl.
This cast of strong women are unforgettable. And I’m sure you will find yourself routing for them just as I did.
Ann Patchett calls VALENTINE a stunning debut. I could not agree with her more.
You might just find yourself rereading the beginning of the story more than once, just like I did. You might ask yourself questions about the assault. I did. But in the end you will want justice to prevail.
Elizabeth Wetmore is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. That alone tells me a lot. Her writing is so darn good. It’s some of the best writing I’ve come across in a long time. She was born in Texas and she truly knows the area she writes about. As well as the people.
This extraordinary novel seared my soul and has me longing for Wetmore’s next one.
VALENTINE is published TODAY by the great publishing company of Harper Collins. I am very thankful for my review copy that came through Copperfish Books.
We will have copies of VALENTINE in our store. And they will also be available to order from our online store. You do NOT want to miss this important novel! Get your copy TODAY. We hope you get it from us: help an Indy Bookstore! We appreciate your business more than you can know.