Set in the 1970s in Odessa, Texas, a small town on the cusp of the next big oil boom, Valentine explores the lingering effects of a brutal crime perpetrated against a young girl.
On the morning of February 15, 1976, Mary Rose Whitehead hears a knock on her front door. She opens it to discover a badly beaten young girl named Gloria "Glory" Ramírez. Before Mary Rose can figure out what to do, the man who attacked Glory comes driving down the road to her house. What follows is a tension filled confrontation that shakes Mary Rose to her core, along with several other women in Odessa. What seems like it would be a cut and dry case is complicated when the crime is tried in the churches and barrooms of Odessa before it can reach a court of law. The case tears the town apart and makes its female residents question if they will ever receive justice or be safe in their own homes again.
Valentine is a remarkable and devastating debut that explores the intersections of violence and race, class and region and seeks to find hope in even the darkest of places. ~ reviewed by Siobhan Egan, Barrington Public Library staff