Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

valentine by elizabeth wetmore

literary fiction, 321 PP

I didn’t select my recent books with the intention of learning more about Mexico and Mexican immigrants, but somehow ended up with three in three months. In addition to Murmur of Bees (3-stars for me, hence no recommendation) and American Dirt, one of the main characters in Valentine, Gloria (Glory), is the daughter of an illegal immigrant. Her mother is deported back to Mexico leaving 15-year-old Gloria alone with an uncle to navigate the aftermath of her vicious rape by a oil worker drifter. Set in 1970s Odessa Texas, the story alternates POV between Glory, Mary Rose, Debra Ann, and Cora, along with a  few other women – who didn’t deserve their own POV IMHO – whose lives intersect after Gloria’s rape. The ending is a bit muddied, but overall I enjoyed this deeply moving story of women’s relationships and the support networks they weave.

Check out my other top picks for Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, Mystery/Thriller, Non-Fiction and Simple Pleasure Reading.

That’s the thing about books. They let you travel without moving your feet.

Jhumpa Lahiri

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