Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Showcase-Review The Ramblers by Aidan Donnelley Rowley blog tour

Welcome to my stop on The Ramblers by Aidan Donnelley Rowley blog tour. Enjoy the showcase plus my review!

ISBN-13: 9780062413314
Publisher: Harper Collins
Release Date: 02/09/2106
Length: 400pp
Buy It: B&N/Amazon/Kobo/IndieBound/Audible


For fans of J. Courtney Sullivan, Meg Wolitzer, Claire Messud, and Emma Straub, a gorgeous and absorbing novel of a trio of confused souls struggling to find themselves and the way forward in their lives, set against the spectacular backdrop of contemporary New York City.
Set in the most magical parts of Manhattan—the Upper West Side, Central Park, Greenwich Village—The Ramblers explores the lives of three lost souls, bound together by friendship and family. During the course of one fateful Thanksgiving week, a time when emotions run high and being with family can be a mixed blessing, Rowley’s sharply defined characters explore the moments when decisions are deliberately made, choices accepted, and pasts reconciled.
Clio Marsh, whose bird-watching walks through Central Park are mentioned in New York Magazine, is taking her first tentative steps towards a relationship while also looking back to the secrets of her broken childhood. Her best friend, Smith Anderson, the seemingly-perfect daughter of one of New York’s wealthiest families, organizes the lives of others as her own has fallen apart. And Tate Pennington has returned to the city, heartbroken but determined to move ahead with his artistic dreams.
Rambling through the emotional chaos of their lives, this trio learns to let go of the past, to make room for the future and the uncertainty and promise that it holds. The Ramblers is a love letter to New York City—an accomplished, sumptuous novel about fate, loss, hope, birds, friendship, love, the wonders of the natural world and the mysteries of the human spirit. 

Praise for The Ramblers:

Publishers Weekly
A trio of New Yorkers leading charmed lives must overcome everyday complications in order to move forward in Rowley’s sophomore outing (after Life After Yes). Ornithologist Clio Marsh has her dream job at the Museum of Natural History and the love of the winning, much-older hotel magnate Henry Kildare, who’s ready to commit. But Clio’s having reservations about the relationship: she’s never been up front with Henry about her mother’s bipolar disorder and suicide, and she’s constantly worried that her mother’s demons may eventually catch her as well. Meanwhile, Clio’s best friend and longtime roommate Smith Anderson is trying to keep it together while Smith’s younger sister’s impending marriage provides constant reminders of Smith’s own broken engagement. A chance reconnection with an old college acquaintance of Smith, Tate Pennington, is a temporary respite from Smith’s heartbreak, but Tate, a newly single Internet mogul who’s just sold his company to Twitter, feels unmoored with no job, too much money, and the sudden dissolution of his marriage. Propelled by the kinds of rote sitcom-style misunderstandings that seem like they could be more easily resolved, this tale is light on plot, but Rowley’s Manhattan provides a vivid and charming setting for her nuanced (if not always sympathetic) characters to evolve. (Feb.)
Allison Pataki
“Chock full of the crackling wit, irreverent humor and raw honesty [...] A whirlwind foray into the New York City that Aidan Donnelley Rowley knows and loves -- and writes-- so well.”
Dani Shapiro
“In this spirited, compulsively-readable, sophisticated tale of entangled urban lives, Aidan Donnelley Rowley has written a love letter to New York, full of sparkling innocence and its ensuing heartache. THE RAMBLERS is a pure delight.”
Lee Woodruff
“A wonderfully woven story of how family can hold us back or set us free. Rowley’s finely drawn story of love, loss, fear and friendship wound me around its little finger...”
Will Schwalbe
“THE RAMBLERS is an engrossing, meticulously observed novel of New York. Aidan Donnelley Rowley explores the lives of characters navigating the challenges of friendship, jealousy, love and the need to confront their past before they can create a future.”
Mira Jacob
Witty and engaging, The Ramblers takes us deep into the cloistered world of three New Yorkers, where privilege does not necessarily lead to happiness. Aidan Donnelley Rowley is an expert at revealing her characters with depth and care.”
Library Journal
★ 01/01/2016
Clio Marsh is a beautiful, brilliant bird professor, curator, and guide to all things avian on tours of the Ramble, a natural sanctuary in Manhattan's Central Park. She's in love with the much older Henry Kildare, a successful Irishman who reveals a big surprise hard on the heels of Clio's return from overseas, throwing her for an emotional loop. Smith Anderson, Clio's best friend since their Yale days and a professional organizer from a one-percent family, is suffering her own inner freefall, having been dumped by the love of her life while now preparing for the opulent wedding of her younger sister. Tate, another Yale friend, newly filthy rich from the sale of his high-tech company, is in the middle of a divorce that threatens half his assets when he bumps into Smith, and sparks flash, flicker, and flash again. VERDICT Rowley (Life After Yes) once again captures the bright dialog, urban and romantic insecurities, and stylish lifestyle of a group of appealing upper-echelon mid-30s Manhattanites who defy the jaded stereotypes and will have readers rooting for them as they stumble their way to happiness. Irresistible.—Beth Andersen, formerly with Ann Arbor Dist. Lib., MI
Kirkus Reviews
A week of soul-searching and lovemaking among Yale alumni in New York. "Tate, meet my mother and father, Bitsy and Thatcher. Mom and Dad, this is Tate Pennington." Still recovering from a recently broken engagement, Smith Anderson has brought her new boyfriend home for Thanksgiving at her parents' estate in the Hamptons, a spread that includes a helipad, twin tennis courts, and a bakery. With characters whose names are straight out of The Official Preppy Handbook; a cast that includes a life coach, a personal organizer, a bird-watching guide, and a guy who made millions on an app called PhotoPoet; two couples in the precarious process of finding love; and a big family wedding involving all of them on deck, Rowley's debut novel seems set to be a comedy of manners among the fancier young New Yorkers. But it's quite serious, actually. The narrative is loaded with literary and ornithological information, includes epigraphs from folks like Darwin, Kierkegaard, and Robert Lowell, and features characters who worship E.B. White and Henri Cartier-Bresson. Clio Marsh's mother committed suicide less than a year earlier after a long struggle with bipolar disease, a truth she's having trouble confronting and sharing with her boyfriend. Clearly, the novel wants to be a lot more than a lighthearted love story. Yet it's most successful in its less serious or pedantic moments. Particularly clever are the artifacts from the characters' lives: a New York magazine review of Clio's bird-watching walks in Central Park, a list of Smith's life-coaching goals, an interview with Tate about his app from the Yale Alumni Review, a few college application essays, and a letter found at the bottom of a box of keepsakes. Enjoyable if at times overly earnest.

My Review 

The Ramblers is touted as a “love letter to New York city”, and it is, it’s also a tribute to The Central Park Ramble. As a tried and true Midwesterner I can tell you that the New York she unwraps for readers is exciting and intimidating, feral and sophisticated and I personally love how she in vivid detail reveals the hidden jewels as well as the well-known touristy parts. As a lover of literary fiction I can tell you it's a fantastic, quirky, intelligent, serious and at times humorous look at life in the 21st century be it NYC, St. Louis or Tallahassee. It centers round a trio of protagonists trying to come to grips with life in the big city after each has experienced some personal life trauma. But it's the way the author deals with the aftermath of those traumas that keeps pages turning, how intimate she makes her characters how she bares them good and bad, body and soul to her audience and how life-like and genuine they seem. I also love that these are not teen or twenty something’s but true adults with true adult uncensored problems.
I suggest any literary lover will relish this and take it out for a re-read often. This is my first experience with Aidan Donnelley Rowley but it won’t be my last.

NYC ornithologist Clio Marsh carries big time baggage from her childhood leaving her unable to commit to a forever relationship. When she started dating older, handsome, workaholic, hotelier Henry Kildare she thought she was safe seeing he was married to his work. But then he went and changed the rules and she doesn't know if she should go running from or to him, or if after he learns all her secrets he’ll even still want her.
Smith Mae Anderson is living the perfect NYC, Central Park West, Ivory Towered dysfunctional life. Still trying to move on from her devastating break up with her fiancée, owning an apartment merely feet from her parents where she grew up and owning a business that she loves but that her parents are convinced is “a whim of disobedience” against what they’d ultimately planned for her. Then she reconnects an old classmate from Yale who suddenly has her looking forward to life and just maybe love again.
Tate Robert Pennington is back in NYC to start over and climb out of the downward spiral his life has become since the split with his wife. He’s wealthy, single and lonely but he wants more than the empty NY single scene. When he crosses paths with a girl from his college days whose become a beautiful, interesting woman he thinks maybe he’s found his way out of his doldrums dilemma.

Other works by Aidan Donnelley Rowley

Connect with Aidan - Website - Facebook - Twitter

Born and raised in New York City, Aidan Donnelley Rowley is a graduate of Yale University and Columbia Law School, but her dream (long unconscious) was always to write. She is the author of a novel, Life After Yes; blogs at IvyLeagueInsecurities.com; contributes to The Huffington Post; and is the founder and curator of the popular Happier Hours Literary Salons. The middle of five sisters, she lives in New York with her husband and three young daughters.

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  1. Pretty cover! Thanks for the great showcase and review Debbie!

  2. Hmm I am 10% into this one and just got to where Clio is taking a group to the Ramble. It is a little different but so far I am intrigued and want to know all about Clio's background. And never heard a girl be called Smith before!

  3. Oh how I wish I can go to NY in the next couple of years. Actually, if I have the resources, I'd love to explore the entire East, NE, coast.

  4. This sounds delightful I am from NJ originally and love New York and all it offers.

    1. Wow I didn't know that Kim, here I thought you were a born and bread Nebraskan, thanks for sharing!

  5. Sounds like a fabulous first experience! I do like when you really have adult characters and issues. So easy to relate to. Thanks for the intro!

    1. I know after all the NA angst its fun to have some real adult troubles.
      Thanks Anna!