Blessings – Anna Quindlen

Having read and thoroughly enjoyed “Every Last One” by Anna Quindlen earlier this year, I was keen to investigate her back catalogue and I began this week with “Blessings”, published in 2003. 

Blessings is the name of the estate where Lydia Blessing, an elderly widow, leads the life of a semi-recluse with occasional interruptions by her curmudgeonly cook, Nadine and ex-con caretaker, Skip Cuddy.  The status quo is broken by the unexpected arrival of an abandoned new-born baby girl, left on the steps of the garage where she is found by Skip. 

Anna Quindlen has a very sedate style of writing, quietly building up  the story, feeding the reader snippets from the past.  Her descriptions of the landscape are truly exquisite, focussing on every detail so you live and breathe the ambiance of Blessings, this once palatial home, now fading like its owner.  Lydia is the archetypal crabbid old woman, brought up with high standards but the hard edges are gradually softened with the arrival of baby Faith.  Likewise, Skip, the young handyman, discovers strengths and emotions he never knew he possessed.

Whilst it’s obvious that Anna Quindlen is a very fine writer, Blessings didn’t quite hit the spot for me – yes, I liked it but at times it didn’t fully engage me.  Lydia’s frequent mulling over past events in the midst of the present narrative was very distracting and it made the storyline clunky in the extreme.   3 stars from me for a quite enjoyable, relatively short read.

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  1. Lindsay says:

    Thanks for the review, I have had this to be read for awhile, and after reading Every Last One I decided to bump it up the pile a bit.

  2. Treez says:

    You’re welcome, Lindsay, she has quite a large back catalogue so it’s interesting seeing how her earlier work has developed.

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