02 September 2014

Today's Read: Small Blessings by Martha Woodroof

Are you observant enough to see a chance for true happiness when it crosses your path? Can nice guys finish first? Tom Putnam, Shakespeare scholar at a small women's college in the south, is undoubtedly a nice guy and has always put others' needs before his own. When a tragedy opens the door to a brighter future, will he be brave enough to step over the threshold?

There she was, as welcome in this insular community as fresh air in a multiplex, a woman who, rumor had it, risked being happy. Tom had heard the most about her from Russell Jacobs, his colleague in the English Department, and now he has looking at her in the flesh, at this tall, slender, dark-haired creature, oddly stylish in her ill-fitting, baggy trousers and white T-shirt.
Small Blessings by Martha Woodroof (St. Martin's Press, 2014, p. 3)

Quick Facts
  • Setting: Virginia, modern times
  • Circumstances: After two new people invade an insular, quiet, and predictable college community, life will never be the same.
  • Characters: Tom Putnam, professor; Rose Callahan, book store employee; Agnes, Tom's tough-as-nails mother-in-law; various professors, staff, and students; one surprise visitor
  • Genre: contemporary fiction, women's fiction
  • Themes: family, duty, love, second chances, addiction, mental health issues, parenting
  • What I liked: Small Blessings is a sweet book (and I mean this as a positive assessment). I loved the way the close-knit community reacted to the unexpected, to something new and different. Tom is so nice, loyal, and steadfast that it's easy to root for his happiness. Although there are some heavier themes, this is really a feel-good book that will leave you with hope and a smile on your face. Despite some crazy plot twists that should have had me rolling my eyes, the solid writing and sympathetic characters kept me fully invested.
  • Recommendations: If you liked Major Pettigrew's Last Stand, you'll like this debut novel. A fun, light read about second chances and finding the courage to expose your weaknesses to others.
  • Audiobook: I listened to the unabridged audiobook (Macmillan Audio; 11 hr, 43 min) read by the wonderful Lorelei King. My full audiobook review will be available from AudioFile magazine, but in the meantime, let me put it this way: Seriously, would you miss a book read by King? For a sample of the audiobook, click the play button (below).


Karen and Gerard 9/2/14, 6:32 AM  

Good teaser, sounds like this might be good.

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea 9/2/14, 6:43 AM  

I do like college settings for novels so I would keep reading. Hope you enjoy this one.

bermudaonion 9/2/14, 7:45 AM  

This sounds like a winner to me!

rhapsodyinbooks 9/2/14, 7:46 AM  

This does sound good. Always room for sweet books!

Unknown 9/2/14, 8:03 AM  

Sounds like a romance in bloom. This would be a sweet summer read. Here is mine - http://fuonlyknew.com/2014/09/02/teaser-tuesdays-79-an-apex-predator-novel-shark-station-nyet-by-carolyn-mccray/

Tea 9/2/14, 8:21 AM  

Tom Putnam seems likable. I would like to know how the situation works out or doesn't work out.

Katherine P 9/2/14, 8:59 AM  

This sounds like a nice read. I've just started listening to audiobooks so I'm still figuring my way around. I'll definitely have to keep an eye out for Lorelei King narrated books!

JoAnn 9/2/14, 10:13 AM  

I like college settings, too. Sounds like this needs to be added to my audio wish list!

Laurel-Rain Snow 9/2/14, 10:41 AM  

I loved this book...it has been one of my favorites this year, and you'll see it in my sidebar (linked to my review) at the blog I'm using today.

Thanks for sharing...and here's mine: “THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU”

Sandra Nachlinger 9/2/14, 11:59 AM  

This sounds like a delightful book. I love the southern setting, and the characters sound interesting. Thanks for introducing me to this author.
Sandy @ Texas Twang.

Daryl 9/2/14, 12:46 PM  

sounds very appealing .. thanks

Kim@Time2Read 9/2/14, 12:48 PM  

This one hasn't grabbed me yet. I'd probably move on. Hope you enjoy, though!
Today I'm featuring The Girl Who Came Home.

Alice Audrey 9/2/14, 1:11 PM  

It must be quite the place if happiness is risky.

Juli Rahel 9/2/14, 2:00 PM  

I'd seen posts about this book on other blogs and I was really interested but then I somehow forgot about it. But now you've brought it back and I want it! Thanks for sharing :) hope you have a great week!
My Tuesday post
Juli @ Universe in Words

Sarah (Sarah's Book Shelves) 9/2/14, 2:42 PM  

I really liked the writing in the intro...and am a sucker for novels set in schools. I'm also a native Virginian, so I might need to check this one out.

Here's Mine: http://www.sarahsbookshelves.com/fiction/first-chapter-first-paragraph-tuesday-intros-back-channel-stephen-l-carter/

Margot 9/2/14, 9:12 PM  

New author and new book to me. It sounds like one I'd enjoy. I'm glad you shared it.

Nise' 9/2/14, 9:54 PM  

I love to read debut novels and this one sounds like my kind of book.

kayerj 9/2/14, 10:46 PM  

Sounds like a good book. I'd keep reading. Thanks for the tip. kelley—the road goes ever ever on

Sandy Nawrot 9/3/14, 5:35 AM  

Major Pettigrew didn't do much for me (I know I am in the minority). It was just a tad too gentle for me I think. But King as narrator? Hmmm...

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