by Anna Quindlen

Overview: Blessings, the bestselling novel by the author of Black and Blue, One True Thing, Object Lessons, and A Short Guide to a Happy Life, begins when, late at night, a teenage couple drives up to the estate owned by Lydia Blessing and leaves a box.

In this instant, the world of the estate called Blessings is changed forever. The story of Skip Cuddy, the Blessings caretaker, who finds a baby asleep in that box and decides he wants to keep her, and of matriarch Lydia Blessing, who, for her own reasons, decides to help him, Blessings explores how the secrets of the past affect decisions and lives in the present; what makes a person, a life, legitimate or illegitimate, and who decides; the unique resources people find in themselves and in a community. This is a powerful novel of love, redemption, and personal change by the Pulitzer Prize–winning writer about whom The Washington Post Book World said, “Quindlen knows that all the things we ever will be can be found in some forgotten fragment of family.”

Deanna Boe (04/15/18): Every so often it is fine to reach back to a book that was published several years ago, for instance this one was published in 2002. I came across it at the Sr. Center here in Atlanta. Quindlen’s books are easy to read and usually leave you feeling in a positive mood. Not everything is perfect, but the character you have come to appreciate the most, in this book anyway, appears to have his life in order.

The story begins with a car pulling into the large estate, better known as “Blessings,” in the middle of the night. It is a young girl and her young boyfriend. They have a mission, namely to leave a newborn baby at this grand mansion in hopes the baby will be given a better life then they can provide. Ironically, when the boy takes the box out of the car he becomes frightened and instead leaves it on the stairs leading to the garage apartment. Early in the morning it is discovered by the young man who is hired to take care of this very large and beautiful property. What a shock it is when he discovers it contains a baby, a newborn baby girl at that. What should he do? He has not been in the employ of Lydia Blessing for very long and he does not want to lose his job. He has just been released from a 10 months stay in the county jail for stupidly letting himself get involved as the get-away-driver for a friend he didn’t realize was going to rob a bank, so a good job is hard to find.

Somehow Skip doesn’t feel he should give the baby to Mrs. Blessing, who is a quarrelsome old lady of 80. She also has a very difficult fulltime woman who cooks and cleans for her. She is formally of Korea, where she had a very difficult life. She now lives in the U.S. with her American husband and her extremely bright and caring daughter. Skip tries to conceal the appearance of the baby in his life, but obviously this cannot go on indefinitely.

You will see how the owner of “Blessings” comes to be involved in the care of the baby girl, now named Faith. You worry about Skip and what will happen to him since obviously life cannot continue with his raising of Faith. The ending is bitter sweet, but satisfactory.
Rating: ****

Robin Mann (06/27/19): Great book! Easy to read, the storyline holds you and makes you want to read more. Read it in a few days, worth the time.
Rating: *****

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