Small Blessings: A Novel
(OverDrive MP3 Audiobook, OverDrive Listen)

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Published:
Macmillan Audio 2014
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Checked Out
Description

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.

Martha Woodroof's Small Blessings is funny, heart-warming and poignant, with a charmingly imperfect cast of cinema-ready characters. Listeners 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.

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Format:
OverDrive MP3 Audiobook, OverDrive Listen
Edition:
Unabridged
Street Date:
08/12/2014
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781427258496
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LibraryOwnedAvailable
10
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Grouped Work ID:
66c8fda0-7b05-6361-bfe7-ebb1eaee6dcc
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Needs Update?:
No
Date Added:
Jun 12, 2018 18:50:48
Date Updated:
Aug 18, 2019 02:17:07
Last Metadata Check:
Aug 18, 2019 17:32:44
Last Metadata Change:
Aug 07, 2018 03:43:53
Last Availability Check:
Aug 18, 2019 17:32:47
Last Availability Change:
Aug 17, 2019 22:14:43
Last Grouped Work Modification Time:
Aug 20, 2019 01:44:31

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      • bioText: 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.
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publishDate
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title
Small Blessings
fullDescription

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.

Martha Woodroof's Small Blessings is funny, heart-warming and poignant, with a charmingly imperfect cast of cinema-ready characters. Listeners 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.

reviews
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        April 7, 2014
        Woodroof’s charming debut deals with a bizarre paternity case set against the backdrop of a quirky college town. In the span of one week, English professor Tom Putnam’s life is upended twice. His emotionally fragile wife is killed in a car accident, and he learns that he has a son, the product of a brief affair 10 years ago, who’s on his way to visit Tom for a few months according to a letter from Henry’s mother. When young Henry arrives, it’s immediately apparent, considering his age and race, that Tom can’t possibly be his biological father. Even more inexplicable is the fact that Henry’s backpack contains one change of clothes and half a million dollars in cash. Still, Tom’s name is listed on the birth certificate, and he’s more than ready to take responsibility for the boy. With help from his hard-as-nails mother-in-law, Agnes, Tom begins to create a stable life for Henry and adjust to his new role as a single father. He even begins to fall in love with Rose Callahan, the new manager of the college bookstore, who’s initially the only person Henry will open up to. But when possible explanations for Henry’s mysterious origin crop up, Tom, Rose, and Henry face dangers they couldn’t have imagined. Along with dark humor and a confident command of story, strong characters and absurdist twists add to the fun.

      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        October 27, 2014
        Unusual, appealing characters, and a cluster of nonsensical situations mark Woodroof’s sentimental Dixie charmer. Tom, the languid, long-suffering and slack-voiced husband of a mentally ill wife, is a professor of Shakespearean literature at a Virginia university; he learns that he has a 10-year-old son, Henry, from a short affair years before, who is coming for a visit. At the same time, Tom is falling in love with Rose, the intensely private, nomadic, newly hired manager of the college bookstore. As Tom, Rose, and meek-sounding Henry bond, various colleagues become entangled in their lives, culminating in a precarious situation when one of Tom’s friends, a recovering alcoholic with an exaggerated, drawn-out drawl, becomes unstable. Reader King’s attempt at differing Southern dialects—Virginia, Texas, and Mississippi—is mostly weak and distracts from the story’s memorable moments, although her gravelly voice for Tom’s no-nonsense mother-in-law, Agnes, a tough-talking former lawyer with a penchant for unfiltered Camel cigarettes, is perfection. A St. Martin’s hardcover.

      • premium: True
      • source: AudioFile Magazine
      • content: After two new people join an insular and predictable college community, Shakespeare scholar Tom Putnam is surprised to discover it's never too late to get a second chance at happiness. Narrator Lorelei King's thoughtful pacing and varied cadences are just two ways she engages listeners. By employing understated Southern accents, King signals the story's Virginia setting, and her distinct voices flawlessly reflect each character's personality--from a slightly pompous male professor to a tough female lawyer and an insecure young child. Although the novel touches on the issues of mental illness and addiction, this is really a feel-good audiobook. King's perfectly timed pauses give listeners the opportunity to absorb the subtle humor that makes SMALL BLESSINGS a joy to listen to. C.B.L. © AudioFile 2014, Portland, Maine
popularity
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shortDescription

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. Martha Woodroof's Small Blessings is funny...

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