Review of Small Blessings by Martha Woodroof


Tom Putnam is a pleasant and quiet English professor in a small college town. Tom’s wife Marjory’s mental illness is a drain on everyone around her and causes a great deal of gossip in the community. Yet, through it all, Tom remains the devoted and (almost) faithful husband. Aside from one brief affair with a colleague several years prior, Tom stands by Marjory despite her trying behavior.

When tragedy strikes, Tom’s life changes almost overnight – particularly when free-spirited Rose Callahan arrives to manage the college bookstore, then even more so when Tom learns he has a six-year-old son, who’s on his way for a sudden visit. Can things get even more complicated for Tom and those around him? Yes, they can…

When I spotted this book on the bargain table at my local bookstore, I was first drawn to the book cover. Then I read the inside cover and was intrigued enough to make the purchase. Yet, as I began to read, I admit that I had some trouble getting into the story. I felt as though the author meandered a bit too much and I began growing bored quickly. In fact, I almost gave up a few times, but I stayed with it. Actually, I’m glad that I did.

There are several very touching moments in Small Blessings. Several subplots are at work here and they do come together in the end. The characters are charmingly flawed and that’s what makes this such a lovely read. On the surface, many of the characters seem to be almost gruff and unfeeling, but the author does a wonderful job of opening them up so readers can see the complex emotions underneath – and after all, isn’t that how people really are? Tom is probably the one constant in the book – good natured, kind and consistent almost to a fault, but not quite. I found his character to be the anchor that holds the story together.

The ending was somewhat predictable, but I didn’t care one bit. It was exactly the way I’d hoped it would work out. Small Blessings is well worth sticking with through to the end. It’s a charming story about life, loss and love!

5 of 5 Stars, Review by Susan Barton