Curl up with Book Beginnings/Friday 56: “Small Blessings”

Welcome to some bookish fun today as we share Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and as we showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists!

If you have been wanting to participate, but haven’t yet tried, now is the time!

What better way to spend a Friday?

Today I’m happy to share an ARC from next week’s list:  Small Blessings, by Martha Woodroof, 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.


Beginning:  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 was 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.


56:  Agnes hesitated, then shook her head decidedly.  “No, I’m teetering on the edge of maudlin as it is.  I hate maudlin drunks.”

“It beats argumentative ones.”


Blurb:  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.
I have been eagerly awaiting this book, so now I am ready to totally engage with it.  What do you think?  Are you intrigued?

38 thoughts on “Curl up with Book Beginnings/Friday 56: “Small Blessings”

  1. This does sounds like a really nice read, I can see why you were excited for it! I love the description of Agnes in the beginning! I hope you enjoy it! Thanks for sharing 🙂 Hope you have a great weekend!
    My Friday post
    Juli @ Universe in Words


  2. Love the cover art! I think self pity is better than argumentative but still a bit sad. The affair doesn’t help either. This would hold my attention. Sounds like a good one. Happy summer!


  3. Oh, I definitely agree. I’m not a fan of argumentative characters either. The drama they bring to the table is often over the top.

    This sounds like an interesting read. I’ll have to add it to my TBR so I can see how Tom will handle his new-found situation!

    Thanks for sharing, Laurel!


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