"For anybody looking for a great escape, this is a wonderful book where you will find yourself really engrossed in the stories of these women," Jenna said.
Set in Odessa, Texas in 1976, the book follows the aftermath of a horrific act of violence: the attack of a 14-year-old girl named Gloria Ramirez. Told through different characters' perspectives, the story explores how race and class intersect in a small, secluded community on the cusp of an oil boom.
"Elizabeth really developed these characters that I felt like I knew," Jenna gushed about Wetmore's debut novel. "I found myself missing them when the story was over. The women are complicated. They are a lot of things at once."
One of Wetmore's goals with the book was to capture the essence of where she grew up. In Jenna's eyes, she was successful.
"I was born in Midland, Texas, and I really think she got the place right," Jenna said. For reference, Midland is about 20 miles from Odessa.
The complicated nature of the book makes it especially relevant in this day and age.
As Wetmore explained it, "It’s not an easy book, and in a lot of ways, it’s not a happy book, but ultimately I see it as a novel of hope in the midst of a terrible crisis and about the ferocity of these women’s spirits."
If you've already read and loved "Valentine" by Elizabeth Wetmore, be sure to check out this list of 21 questions to consider about the story.
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