Small Blessings is up for the Library of Virginia People’s Choice Award… please vote early and often
Martha Woodroof. St. Martin’s, $25.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-250-04052-7
“Woodroof nails the debut novel: This warm, wise tale leaves a smile long after the final page is turned.” —People Magazine

This book is a charmer: quirky, clear-hearted and effervescent.” —


Paperback is coming May 5th from Picador!Small Blessings_tp

“A warm, caring and thoroughly entertaining debut that reads remarkably well.” —Library Journal (starred review)

“Along with dark humor and a confident command of story, strong characters and absurdist twists add to the fun.” —Publishers Weekly

“A delightful tale about what happens when good intentions go well.” —Good Housekeeping

“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,  New York Times bestselling author of The Flight of Gemma Hardy

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 the, and I know Rose and Tom are a couple you’ll relish rooting for…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… 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, New York Times bestselling author of A Grown Up Kind of Pretty

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


I started lifting weights back when I worked  at Sweet Briar College. Nothing extreme, no body-sculpting, just lifting to get stronger –  in body, head and heart. I worked out in the college’s rather dank, basement fitness room that has since moved to a spiffy new facility. As it should, as Sweet Briar College obviously graduates strong women. So maybe, you know, I started lifting because I was internalizing the Sweet Briar karma…

A the moment, tiny Sweet Briar is arguably the most famous women’s college in the country. After suffering a long decline, a sort of slow-wasting away at the hands of a thousand consultants, Sweet Briar’s former Board Chairperson Paul G. Rice, B.S. pronounced the college officially dead in March. Former president James Jones agreed. But they  made the mistake of underestimating the strength of Sweet Briar graduates. Thousands of these women rose up and organized themselves  into an ad hoc association to save their college. Their goal was also their name: Saving Sweet Briar.

And hola! hola!,  if they haven’t pulled it off. Messrs Rice and Jones are both gone. Sweet Briar College has a new president, a new board, a new energy, and a year to reinvent its future.

Even though I’m mostly a writer now, I still proudly work part-time  at WMRA Public Radio. As I write this, I am just finishing editing a conversation I had with lawyer Philip Stone, Sweet Briar College’s new president. In it he celebrates the strong women with whom he will be working.

sweet briar women fight

One of the benefits of the turmoil that Sweet Briar as just been through is that the alumnae were so stirred up that they simply took charge of their college. And I wouldn’t have given them 2 cents for their chances of success when they started. Their energy, their commitment, their strength, their courage – I think represents such a model for women in leadership that one of the things we’ll be saying to new students is are you good enough to be part of this group. This is   the new Sweet Briar. These are real leaders.

Most people don’t know this, but while they were raising pledges of 21 million dollars in about a hundred days without any development office, without any staffing, without any directory information, while they were doing that they also divided their very expert group up into groups to say let’s work on strategic planning. Because if this college survives, we want to be ready to move.

uppity women uniteYears and years ago, during my freelancing days, my daughter gave me a bumper sticker that read Uppity Women Unite.




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