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Valentine Reviews

Valentine by Elizabeth Wetmore


Elizabeth Wetmore

3.71 out of 5

4 reviews

Imprint: Fourth Estate Ltd
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 11 Jun 2020
ISBN: 9780008331924

A top ten New York Times bestseller. 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.

4 stars out of 5
Allan Massie
20 Jun 2020

"Elizabeth Wetmore takes a multi-faceted look at a serious assault set against the hardscrabble world of 1970s West Texas"

There is also a recognition of the strength given by the habit of understatement in an unforgiving world. “You might surprise yourself,” a husband near death says, “after I’m gone.” “I doubt that very seriously,” his wife replies. The same woman, when bereaved , says flatly that she doesn’t care for any company. This, like much in the novel, rings true.

This is a novel that gives the impression of having been lived with for a long time – too long perhaps. There is extravagance here. Wetmore’s second novel will be interesting.


5 stars out of 5
11 Jun 2020

"great skill and sensitivity"

Focusing on several very different women and the repercussions of a horrific crime upom a amasll Texas oil town community, Elizabeth Wetmoee delves into the questios of justice and prejudice with great skill and sensitivity. 

4 stars out of 5
4 Jun 2020

"It’s like a grimmer, newer version of To Kill A Mockingbird."

It’s like a grimmer, newer version of To Kill A Mockingbird. Many of the same elements feature: the offbeat neighbour, the puzzled child, the racists, the trial that goes wrong.

The characters’ stories are told in turn but the main narrator is Mary Rose Whitehead, to whom the injured girl first came for help. 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.

3 stars out of 5
Francesca Angelini
31 May 2020

"What begins in the vein of a grizzly thriller soon transforms into a visceral portrait of a swathe of Texas riven with toxic masculinity"

Wetmore’s writing is intense. Sometimes too much so. For all the desire to build an emotive atmosphere, we don’t need to be told that the Texan sky is the colour of an “old bruise” on three occasions. Nor do we really need to hear about the sky 53 times. The author’s compassion, too, can overwhelm the narrative. But the material is powerful and resonates. In a recent interview Wetmore said that what has pleased her most about the novel’s reception is a letter from a woman from Texas that read: “I live here, you nailed it.” Quite.