Late one night, a teenage couple drives up to the big white clapboard home on the Blessing estate and leaves a box. In that instant, the lives of those who live and work there are changed forever. Skip Cuddy, the caretaker, finds a baby girl asleep in that box and decides he wants to keep the child . . . while Lydia Blessing, the matriarch of the estate, for her own reasons, agrees to help him.
Blessings explores how the secrets of the past affect decisions and lives in the present; what makes a person or a life legitimate or illegitimate and who decides; and 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.”
My take: 3 looks
A nice tale of what happens to a number of settled lives when a baby arrives unexpectedly.
Lydia Blessings Carton is the matriarch of the Blessings Estate and, at 80 years old, she has experienced much. I liked the way her exterior was peeled away little by little in the story, much like an onion, until you finally get to the center which is described in one word: fidelity.
Skip is the groundskeeper at Blessings, and has made his share of wrong choices; but when he finds a baby in a box on the doorstep, he must make a decision that will affect more than just himself.
The supporting cast of Nadine, Meredith and Jennifer round out a pleasant and wide-ranging cast of characters. While there is not a nice and tidy ending to this story, it is very real and life-like. I think that’s what made me like it so much. It is not a Disney fairytale, but a struggle to do the best you can do, regardless of the obvious, desired, or easy path.
The reason for not giving this more than 3 looks is that I often became confused in the back-in-time parts, merging them with the present and jumbling the story a bit. I don’t know if this is reader-error or if it could have been written more tightly, but it impacted my overall impression of it.