SMALL BLESSINGS final coverSmall Blessings (Publisher’s Weekly 4/7/2014)
Martha Woodroof. St. Martin’s, $25.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-250-04052-7

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. (Aug.)

Preorder Small Blessings here! (indiebound) and here! (amazon) and here! (Barnes & Noble)


My husband Charlie’s been out of town for a couple of days. And I’ve missed him.

Mostly I miss our morning dance. I write until quite late on most mornings, sitting in bed, propped up on pillows, like Edith Wharton without the opulent surroundings.

When it’s time to get up, I often turn on Outlaw Country (my daughter and about-to-be son-in-law gave me satellite radio for Christmas). I wait for just the right western swing or boogie  tune to come on, and go get Charlie. He and I then dance around the bedroom. Or rather, I dance around, and he mostly diddy-bops around without moving his feet. It’s a great way to start the day.

With him out of town, I’ve had to dance by myself in the mornings. It’s better than no dancing, but it certainly is not as good as dancing with Charlie.


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