Small Blessings by Martha Woodroof
English profession Thomas Putnam is resigned to his life. He loves his work and devotes a great deal of energy to making each class fresh and exciting. He lives with his wife and mother-in-law; his mother-in-law is the bright spot in his family arrangement. His wife is extremely delicate, suffering from crippling mental illness. But Tom has comes to terms with his existence, even though he knows he could be out enjoying his life, and his mother-in-law wouldn’t blame him one bit, he stays put. Then tragedy strikes. His wife Marjory dies suddenly. Thomas must deal with her death, his new life, and a myriad of other things: like the son he never knew he had who arrives on a train the night before the funeral, the book store employee he may have a crush on, and friends and colleagues having breakdowns and epiphanies.
This book really does make Thomas and the people in his life take pause and reflect on all that is wonderful in their lives: blessings both large and small. While there are some pretty intense issues like alcoholism, suicide and infidelity, the book is humorous and light and just feels like a hug. These people are so darn nice you want to go work at this small college down south as well.
For fans of Maeve Binchy, for the quirky characters and the goodness in people, and books like The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, which has odd turns of events happening to regular people.