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June 25, 2020

Valentine begins with violence*, and ends with resilient hope. What happens in between has kept me thinking about this novel so often I can hardly wait for y'all to read it too.

It's February, Valentine's Day 1976 actually, in Odessa, Texas, on the west side of the Lone Star State, and fourteen year old Gloria, soon to be known as Glory, gets into the truck of Dale Strickland.

Mary Rose Whitehead, mother of Aimee and seven months pregnant, answers the knock at her ranch house door, her life changed forever.

Always wondering when her mom Ginny is coming home, Debra Ann makes a friend who's living in the drainage pipe near the local strip club.

"Stories can save your life." Corrine used to tell her students. But Corrine is so consumed with grief for her late husband she can't read anymore...(I would very much like to know Corrine and hang out on her porch drinking Salty Dogs.)

In Valentine, Wetmore beautifully writes about the struggles of women, of immigrants, I'd even add the environment, through the stories of her characters. This is a stunning literary thriller especially for readers who love a character-driven novel. Book clubs, add this one to your discussion list!

I predict Elizabeth Wetmore's extraordinary debut novel will make everyone's 2020 top ten best list. I know it's on mine.

*tw: brief depiction of sexual assault

Crystal with large racoon


Crystal Deane is a librarian in the Popular Materials Department. She likes mysteries, cookbooks, and cats. She dislikes spoilers, and won't include any in her reviews.

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