The Ramblers is written by fellow New York City mom Aidan Donnelley Rowley who is raising three daughters here in the Big Apple with her husband.
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.
Since I enjoy finding unique angles for my pieces, I have decided to focus on the important role each of the main characters’ moms play in their lives:
Clio’s thought’s on her mom Eloise —“I think being my mom’s child has made me thoughtful and resilient. I don’t take life for granted. I would like very much to study science, to learn more about genetics and evolution, because the topical are of great personal interest to me for reasons that are probably pretty clear.”
Henry talking to Clio —“Now I feel like a bastard for talking about missing my mother, God. I can’t even imagine what it would be like…”
Smith’s mom Bitsy– “‘Don’t worry? Ha. That’s what mothers do. Day and night. Night and day. We worry and then we worry some more and then we worry about our worrying. You’ll see one day.'”
Smith to Tate —“Okay, you will very likely love my mom. Everyone adores Bitsy.”
Tate’s mom, Mrs. Pennington —“”How was yesterday,’ she asks. ‘Like the days before it, Mom.’ ‘Did you get my package?’ she asks. She sends ‘care packages” every few days. Her question jars his memory and he recalls the white package by the door downstairs, his name bold on the front. He brought it up but didn’t open it. ‘You can stop sending me underwear. I’m a grown man, Mom.’ ‘Nonsense. You’re more a boy than ever. Just because you have money in the bank doesn’t mean you’re taking better care of yourself. I bet you’re still living out of a suitcase. I bet there is no food in your fridge. I bet you haven’t done laundry in eons.’ She knows him. She knows him well. And he bristles under the weight of this knowing.”
“…Don’t worry about me, Mom.”
…”This was something his mom was always doing, grooming him, taking care of him.”
“…I do know,” he says,” The whole parental approval thing sounds very familiar. My folks are thousands of miles away and yet I find myself wondering if they will ever approve of this photography thing. I can’t tell you how many conversations I’ve had with my poor mom about it, trying to explain what I do each day, how important it is to me. But she’s just a mom, worried that I’m lonely. Truth is, sometimes I am, but isn’t that just the way it is?”
“…..Disappointment and relief fill him, but everything fades as he talks to his mother. It’s good to hear her voice this morning, the steady cadence of her reasonable thoughts, her chirpy, cheerful tone…”
I don’t want to give away any spoilers so I will leave you with these quotes and I hope they have you yearning to read more. If you’re a New Yorker, have spent any time in this city that never sleeps or have ever drempt of visiting, you must read this. Like Sex & the City, New York City is a prominent figure in this book about love, life, loss, relationships and so much more.
You’ll truly be missing out if you don’t read it. I hope my book club agrees to make this our book for April.