The Ramblers: A Novel by Aidan Donnelley Rowley
Fiction – Contemporary
Published February 9th 2016 by William Morrow
I feel like every fiction book I’ve been picking up lately has been about New York. Between Sunday’s On the Phone to Monday, Tuesday Nights in 1980 plus Why We Came to the City is sitting on my night stand ready to be started I’m on NYC overload. Luckily, this is the first book that I truly enjoyed and got me out of rut I’ve been with adult fiction. Long story short I did not have high hopes going into this but came out loving it.
Clio Marsh, a renowned bird-watcher and ornithologist is finally entering a new relationship. However with family secrets and a broken childhood hanging over her head she has to finally decide if she is going to let her new man-friend Henry into her life.
Smith Anderson, Clio’s best friend and the perfect older daughter of one of New York’s wealthiest families struggles to create a niche for herself. Still getting over the pain of her failed engagement, she spends her week planning her younger sister’s wedding.
Tate Pennington went to Yale with Clio and Smith and is returning to New York after all of these years to put himself together again after his failed marriage. Pursuing his photography passion after he sold his software company app thing he finds himself drawn to Smith just as much as he was in college.
The Ramblers is all about these friends as they narrate one week of their lives in alternating chapters. As we follow them along as they reexamine their lives and the emotional chaos it causes we get to see the city as they see it, as an oasis.
I’ll preface this by the saying the book was very slow-moving but definitely worth it. The story starts in Clio’s POV and when it moves on to Smith’s POV is just about the time I got hooked ,so I was bummed but then I was immediately engulfed in Smith’s story and everything else fell into place. Poor Poor Smith, She felt the most “real” to me if you can believe that. All of these people were living a life of extreme wealth and privilege, yet their problems were small and felt very human. All Smith wanted was a damn man so her family would get off of her back. However, I loved her choice at the end for herself and what that meant for her to finally be okay again.
That ending man, a little over ¾ through the book a “conflict” arose that I thought for sure was going to be the big climax at the end that led to our resolution and growth and blah blah blah. Then out of nowhere our characters acted their age and forgave pretty quickly because it didn’t matter. That acting your age with conflict was incredibly refreshing and made me love the book even more, especially because what I thought was going to happen is an overused trope that would have been hella boring.
Overall, the writing was fantastic and made me feel like I actually knew these people and what they were going through. I enjoyed their developments and I thought their endings were expected yet conclusive without tying everything up in a perfect little bow.
“Is that what you think? Passion begets passion?” “Yes,” she says. “It is. I think when you take steps to do what you want to do and be who you want to be, then the rest starts falling into place.”
“That’s what happens when you skip family dinner, love. Practically written into boilerplate of the Anderson Contract. We all talk about each other, always lovingly – well, mostly lovingly – and particularly behind backs.”
Probably not because it was slower but this is one I’m telling everyone to read this summer when they’re in the mood for a contemporary book that still manages to be smart.