July 13, 2024

About the Book:

After adolescent sisters Juni and Tilde Becker wake up one morning to find their mother dead, their grandmothers appear the very next day to scoop up the girls and their inconsolable father, Nick, and take them home to small-town Oregon. The women are full of loving resolve, but good intentions are small guns against the waves of adolescence and the young family’s shocking history. Besides, the women, at ages sixty and seventy, are at their own crossroads. Across the months of spring, Nick reels from heartbreak and guilt; the sisters drift apart in the shoals of middle school; three marriages are tested; and the grandmothers seek new footing–in their own lives and with each other. There’s no best way forward, but making-do offers the girls–who need it most–a path to the future; and the women discover they have surprising futures of their own yet to live.



“Grief has an illuminating effect in Sandra Scofield’s affecting multigenerational novel Little Ships.

This is an introspective story that handles domestic conflicts in a subtle, languid manner. Amid the practical challenges of realigning households and acclimating to new circumstances, the cast’s emotional interiors are prioritized. Their personal histories are shown to inform their present reactions. Still, their individual growth is incremental—in part because they are all numbed by grief, and in part because they are slow to realize how little they truly know about one another. Even Karin is shrouded in mysteries, having made inexplicable, expensive jewelry purchases that are used to imply secret impulses and debts. And as harsh facts about Nick and Karin’s marriage are disclosed, Eleanor gains fresh perspective on her son’s shortcomings. In time, boundaries are reestablished and new beginnings are approached, resulting in realistic closure.”

– Karen Rigby, Forward Reviews

“I enjoyed this novel’s representation of the lives of older women, especially their roles within family dynamics. Scofield’s novel demonstrates the rich lives of these two grandmothers—of the wishes, wants, and worries they have. They are the glue that holds their families together, and, even when faced with indifference or outright scorn from others, they remain steady. It isn’t about strength; it’s about continuing forward, even when it feels insurmountable. As Eleanor would say, they are truly one-step-in-front-of-the-next kind of people.

This book makes me glad it’s not a debut. Now, it just means there’s more Scofield to read.”

– Elizabeth Zender, Independent Book Review

About the Author: 

Sandra lived in Ashland for 30 years, teaching in both the college and the public schools. She also worked at Bloomsbury Books, where she will be giving a reading June 27.  Her book Beyond Deserving, with the same setting, was a finalist for the National Book Award in 1991.

About The Author