Tom Putnam, an English professor at a Virginia women's college, has resigned himself to a quiet and half-fulfilled life. For more than ten years, his wife Marjory has been a shut-in, a fragile and frigid woman whose neuroses have left her fully dependent on Tom and his formidable mother-in-law, Agnes Tattle.
Tom considers his unhappy condition self-inflicted, since Marjory's condition was exacerbated by her discovery of Tom's brief and misguided affair with a visiting poetess. But when Tom and Marjory meet Rose Callahan, the campus bookstore's charming new hire, and Marjory invites Rose to dinner, her first social interaction in a decade, Tom wonders if it's a sign that change is on the horizon. And when Tom returns home that evening to a letter from the poetess telling him that he'd fathered her son, Henry, and that Henry, now ten, will arrive by train in a few days, it's clear change is coming whether Tom's ready or not.
For readers of Helen Simonson and Anna Quindlen, Martha Woodroof's Small Blessings is funny, heart-warming and poignant, with a charmingly imperfect cast of cinema-ready characters. Readers will fall in love with the novel's wonderfully optimistic heart that reminds us that sometimes, when it feels like life is veering irrevocably off track, the track changes in ways we never could 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, 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.
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"Starred Review. A warm, caring, and thoroughly entertaining debut that reads remarkably well." - Library Journal
"A pleasant read about ordinary people dealing with extraordinary circumstances and the optimism that guides them." - Kirkus
"A sweet exploration of the way unexpected twists in life can bring surprising rewards." - Booklist
"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." - Lydia Netzer, author of Shine Shine Shine
"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
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