Wetmore’s debut novel is set in Odessa, Texas, in 1976, and follows the aftermath of a horrific attack on fourteen-year-Gloria Ramírez in an oil field. 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.
“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,” said Hager of the novel. “Elizabeth really developed these characters that I felt like I knew…I found myself missing them when the story was over. The women are complicated. They are a lot of things at once.”
Valentine, which Ann Patchett called “the very definition of a stunning debut,” has already received glowing reviews from The Boston Globe, Entertainment Weekly, and The Texas Observer, but Hager’s TODAY Show endorsement will surely be the most welcome of all for Wetmore and her team, especially considering the difficult moment publishing is having right now. TODAY averages 4 million viewers a morning (a number you’d have to assume has only risen over the past couple of weeks), which makes Hager’s book club segment perhaps the most coveted platform available right now, so don’t be surprised if you see Valentine rising to the top of bestseller lists around the country in the days ahead.