Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Fresh Ink: Spotlight on Debut Books of All Kinds


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.

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.

Read an excerpt HERE.

Praise for the book:

“In Small Blessings Woodroof displays a lovely gift for inventive plot turns and glittering moments. 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, author of  Banishing Verona and The House on Fortune Street.

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. I loved these characters even as I was chuckling at them, and I know Rose and Tom are a couple you’ll relish rooting for. If Jane Austen and Evelyn Waugh collaborated on a story about a small academic community in the South, and Woody Allen directed, Small Blessings might be the result. Get ready for pure pleasure shot through with moments of illumination: maybe this is how love really is.” ~Lydia Netzer, author of Shine Shine Shine

“In the world of Small Blessings, to choose happiness is to take a risk, and Woodroof’s multi-layered characters have all settled neatly into their ruts. For Tom, a genuinely kind-hearted man stagnating in a hopeless marriage, happiness has been thoroughly unchosen. When clever, broken, unbeautiful Rose sweeps like a spring wind into the musty world of the women’s college where Tom works, the whole community tumbles headlong into risk—and headlong into happiness. 

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, author of Someone Else's Love Story

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