Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
Outside Valentine

Outside Valentine

A Novel

Liza Ward

Henry Holt and Co.




A debut novelist interweaves a trio of voices--haunting, dangerous, full of longing--mysteriously linked by a shocking crime and the search to heal the past

Many long years have passed since the winter of blinding white when Charles Starkweather and Caril Ann Fugate drove across the hushed midwestern landscape and left a trail of blood and pain. So why does Lowell, a Manhattan collector of antiquities, still dream of what happened, despite his wife's best attempts to draw him back and offer comfort? And who is Susan, the teenager who appoints herself a detective, piecing together the story of the murders while wondering if she'll ever be loved like Starkweather loved his girl?

And then there's Caril Ann herself, who takes us back to relive the ride she swears she could not control. It began on the day Charlie first saw her, dangling her bare legs off the edge of a tree house. It ended outside Valentine, Nebraska, on that night when she still believed that life could somehow go back to being normal . . . '

Every so often a novel comes along that is capable of redeeming the losses it so devastatingly conveys. Disturbing, bittersweet, and lyrical, Liza Ward's Outside Valentine is a story of people torn apart by tragedy and yet, finally, transformed by love.


From Outside Valentine:
She was a fine lady with sad soft eyes and fancy things. But she did not so much as take off her shoes when she sat down on the edge of the bed. I had the knife, but I did not know how I would ever use it. The lady...


Praise for Outside Valentine

“An intricate and challenging novel that examines the inner lives of men and women swept up in a devastating American crime. Ward's portraits are harrowing, heartfelt and unforgettable.” —Anita Shreve, author of The Pilot's Wife and other books

“Written with confidence and grace, Outside Valentine tells an astounding story about how violence can propel us apart, yes, but how it can also bring us together in unexpected ways. Liza Ward has written an utterly gripping book.” —Vendela Vida, author of And Now You Can Go

“Blunt, beautiful, and very scary, Outside Valentine proves that a murder doesn't end with death--it just goes on and on, staining generations, tolling across decades. It's a first novel with the weight of a tenth. Liza Ward has the ears of a wolf, the eyes of an owl, and a tongue as sharp as broken glass.” —J. Robert Lennon, author of On the Night Plain

“A swift and beautifully written first novel about the lingering effects of violence and the power of love, to heal and to destroy. With extraordinary emotional accuracy, Liza Ward tracks the echoes of a murder across three generations and several lives, bringing them together in an ending both mysterious and musical. Outside Valentine seems to know all the secrets, and to be willing to tell them. Simply an amazing debut.” —Kevin Canty, author of Honeymoon and other Stories and Into the Great Wide Open

“Liza Ward runs a tight, thrumming line through her narrative, punching up scenes with a sharp practiced touch and bringing wise compassion to bear on the tragic events that unfold with such dark inevitability.” —Sven Birkerts, author of The Gutenberg Elegies and My Sky Blue Trades, a memoir

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Liza Ward

Liza Ward was born in New York City and holds degrees from Middlebury College and the University of Montana. Her stories have been published in The Atlantic Monthly, The Georgia Review, The Antioch Review, and Agni Review. They have also been selected for the 2004 O. Henry Prize Stories and Harcourt's 2004 Best New American Voices collection. She lives in Massachusetts.

Liza Ward

Liza Ward