Small Blessings: A Novel (Hardcover)
From debut novelist Martha Woodroof comes an inspiring tale of a small-town college professor, a remarkable new woman at the bookshop, and the ten-year old son he never knew he had.
Tom Putnam has resigned himself to a quiet and half-fulfilled life. An English professor in a sleepy college town, he spends his days browsing the Shakespeare shelves at the campus bookstore, managing the oddball faculty in his department and caring, alongside his formidable mother-in-law, for his wife Marjory, a fragile shut-in with unrelenting neuroses, a condition exacerbated by her discovery of Tom's brief and misguided affair with a visiting poetess a decade earlier.
Then, one evening at the bookstore, Tom and Marjory meet Rose Callahan, the shop's charming new hire, and Marjory invites Rose to their home for dinner, out of the blue, her first social interaction since her breakdown. Tom wonders if it's a sign that change is on the horizon, a feeling confirmed upon his return home, where he opens a letter from his former paramour, informing him he'd fathered a son who is heading Tom's way on a train. His mind races at the possibility of having a family after so many years of loneliness. And it becomes clear change is coming whether Tom's ready or not.
A heartwarming story with a charmingly imperfect cast of characters to cheer for, Small Blessings's wonderfully optimistic heart that reminds us that sometimes, when it feels like life has veered irrevocably off track, the track shifts in ways we never can have imagined.
About the Author
MARTHA WOODROOF was born in the South, went to boarding school and college in New England, ran away to Texas for a while, then fetched up in Virginia. She has written for NPR, npr.org, Marketplace and Weekend America, and for the Virginia Foundation for Humanities Radio Feature Bureau. Her print essays have appeared in such newspapers as the New York Times, The Washington Post, and the San Francisco Chronicle. Small Blessings is her debut novel. She lives with her husband in the Shenandoah Valley. Their closest neighbors are cows.
“Woodroof nails the debut novel: This warm, wise tale leaves a smile long after the final page is turned.” —People Magazine
“This book is a charmer: quirky, clear-hearted and effervescent.” —Oprah.com
“A warm, caring and thoroughly entertaining debut that reads remarkably well.” —Library Journal (starred review)
“Along with dark humor and a confident command of story, strong characters and absurdist twists add to the fun.” —Publishers Weekly
“A delightful tale about what happens when good intentions go well.” —Good Housekeeping
“In Small Blessings, Woodroof displays a lovely gift for inventive plot turns and glittering moments. The novel brims with life and complexity and characters who never stop surprising themselves, and each other. This is a delightful and splendidly intelligent comedy.” —Margot Livesey, New York Times bestselling author of The Flight of Gemma Hardy
“Small Blessings is a comedy of manners that will capture your heart. Woodroof's prose is tart and sweet -- smart enough to make you laugh, but with an aching soul that will make you cry. I loved these characters even as I was chuckling at the, and I know Rose and Tom are a couple you'll relish rooting for...Get ready for pure pleasure shot through with moments of illumination: maybe this is how love really is.” —Lydia Netzer, author of Shine Shine Shine
“In the world of Small Blessings, to choose happiness is to take a risk... Optimistic, wise, and beautifully written, this book about love in all its colors, hope, and the glory of third chances will stay with you long after you close the cover.” —Joshilyn Jackson, New York Times bestselling author of A Grown Up Kind of Pretty