The Ramblers: A Novel

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9780062413314: The Ramblers: A Novel

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. 

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There are times in our lives to travel a straight line. And then there are times to ramble, to explore what might be as we accept what is.

Set over the course of one fateful Thanksgiving week, a time when emotions run high and being with family can be a mixed blessing, Aidan Donnelley Rowley’s exquisite new novel, The Ramblers, introduces us to three friends whose lives change profoundly in just seven days. Part love letter to New York City, part tour through the wilderness of the human heart and mind, the book asks, “Maybe that is the point after all? To be lost?”

Clio Marsh, bright and brimming with promise, lives her life around the edges. Her mother, a vibrant creature, proved to her daughter the pitfalls of flying too close to the sun, so Clio has created a careful, grounded existence, content to leave flight to the birds that she so carefully studies. While her birdwatching walks through Central Park have garnered a plum mention in New York magazine, Clio is only now taking wing, with her first tentative steps toward a relationship with a dazzling and determined older man . . .while also looking back to the secrets of her broken childhood.

Smith Anderson, the privileged daughter of a prominent New York City family, meticulously organizes the lives of others as her own is in shambles. Her broken engagement to a doctor has left her reeling and now she must take part in her younger sister’s larger-than-life society wedding. Smith longs to create order from chaos, to fix life and self, but too often finds herself cleaning up the messes of her late nights and anxious days.

Tate Pennington has made his mark—and his money—in the West Coast tech world, but his once-promising marriage to his college sweetheart has swiftly imploded. He has returned to New York City to lick his wounds and pursue the artistic dreams he left behind. A chance meeting with Smith snaps him from his misery and throws him into a whirlwind of unexpected passion.

Sorting through the confusion of their inter-secting lives, this trio learns to let go of the past to make room for the future, and to embrace the uncertainty and promise that life—at any moment—can hold. The Ramblers is an accomplished, sumptuous novel by an amazing new star; a tale of fate, loss, hope, birds, friendship, and love. But above all, it’s a story about granting yourself permission to sometimes get lost—to ramble through the pathways of life—so that you might ultimately find your way.

“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.”—Dani Shapiro, New York Times bestselling author of Devotion

“Aidan Donnelley Rowley’s finely honed prose creates a New York story that had me enchanted from the first flirtation. It’s not often that a book embeds you so deeply with the characters that you feel as if you are in the story.”—Lee Woodruff, New York Times bestselling author of Those We Love Most

“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.”—Will Schwalbe, New York Times bestselling author of The End of Your Life Book Club

The Ramblers follows a trio of well-hewn characters who find themselves at the complicated crossroads of love and heartache, past and future, loss and renewal. Chock full of the crackling wit, irreverent humor, and raw honesty that readers have come to expect from Aidan Donnelley Rowley, this is a tale of beautiful people in glamorous places when life is anything but beautiful and glamorous. A whirlwind foray into the New York City that Aidan Donnelley Rowley knows and loves—and writes—so well.”—Allison Pataki, New York Times bestselling author of The Accidental Empress

“Amidst the rich beauty of Central Park in fall and Manhattan in its prime, The Ramblers weaves a bewitching, wise tale of how love’s path may take unexpected twists and turns. Aidan Donnelley Rowley has brought us a deeply moving and elegant book about how we find ourselves and each other. It pulled me in with its first pages, and wouldn’t let go until the last.”—Sophie McManus, author of The Unfortunates

“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.”—Mira Jacob, author of The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing

About the Author:

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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