Author(s): Elizabeth Wetmore
With the haunting emotional power of Elizabeth Strout and Barbara Kingsolver, and the atmospheric suspense of The Girls: a compulsive debut novel about 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 . . .
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, fourteen-year-old Gloria Ramírez appears on the front porch of Mary Rose Whitehead's ranch house, broken and barely alive. The teenager has 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.
Corinne Shepard spent years pushing against the limits of her town as they closed in on the girls in her classroom. Now, world-weary and unmoored by the loss of her husband, she has had enough of trying to save people. But her young neighbour, Debra-Ann - wild, motherless and lonely - has other ideas.
When justice for Glory is evasive and one of the town's women decides to take matters into her own hands, the stage is set for a showdown with potentially devastating consequences.
Narrated by a cast of indelible characters who burrow deep in the reader's heart, Valentine is a fiercely gripping, darkly funny and surprisingly tender novel about hope, and fear, and justice - and the many different forms that courage can take.