Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 8/12/2014
Edition description: First Edition
Middle-aged Tom Putman had resigned himself to a life of teaching, caring for his emotionally absent wife Marjorie and living a rather passionless life. All that changes when Rose Callahan an intriguing wallflower of a woman begins work at the university bookstore. She revives a complacent Tom at first sight. The very instant that I saw you, did my heart fly to your service. Yet, it was not only Professor Tom Putman that felt an immediate connection toward Rose but also his wife Marjorie. Up to the moment Rose Callahan came into their lives, Marjory lived a painful existence, complete with weekly visits to a therapist and cutting and pasting an array of photographs from magazines to help deal with her issues. Tom’s infidelity nearly ten years prior only added more tragedy to the already mentally and emotionally frail Marjory. With this realization the character of Tom is made; he is loyal, longsuffering, a man with integrity and convictions, committed to stand by his wife for better or worse and this natural disposition of Tom’s being is what initially draws Rose to him.
First time novelist Martha Woodroof writes a compelling intelligent tale of life in academia, complete with characters so real they at times irked me, intrigued me and made me smile with their real-life character flaws. Russell Jacobs a fellow professor and friend of Tom Putman is the least likable character. Russell is conniving, entitled and has no saving grace about him other than the fact that he is Tom’s friend. Tom the ever kind tolerant man is only lifted more into sainthood as he continually stands by his friend as he unravels and then slowly helps him regain his dignity.
There is another train wreck of a woman by the name of Iris. I loved her. Her character in all her pushy glory, and messing demeanor made me smile. She was so flawed and destructive yet her quirkiness carried redeeming qualities. Again, as with Tom and Russ, Rose’s blossoming friendship with Iris during Iris’s battle with alcoholism highlights the great soul that Rose Callahan is. Woodroof really shocked me in some areas. Just when I figured, okay, I see where this is going- kaboom, change of scenery, a death occurs, then the appearance of Tom Putman’s son from his affair, and we are off on a new path. Woodroof’s unpredictable scenes kept me in deep anticipation at the turning of each page. It is just a delightful read, it is heartwarming, it creates real life scenarios, I am sure of it, of addiction and illness and then delicately woven in the seams of academic life is an emerging love between Tom, Rose and ten-year old Henry that makes one appreciate life’s Small Blessings.
Note: I received an advance copy of this book, for my honest review!