The Ramblers by Aidan Donnelley Rowley

Title:  The Ramblers
Author: Aidan Donnelley Rowley
Publisher:  HarperCollins
Release Date:  February 9, 2016
Genre: Contemporary Literary Fiction

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. 

First off, I picked up this book to review based on both the title and the cover (the hardcover version shown here). Why? I believe any New York won't want to past this by. It's set in New York City (mostly) and the title is The Ramblers. I know it references The Rambles of Central Park, but if you scroll up and see what is written under my blog title, you'll get it. Do you get it? LOL. Yes, I tend to ramble a lot (like now), and technically, you can call me a rambler (officially someone who likes to take long walks) and lyrically (someone who just likes to go on and go...) Yes. The title and the beautiful cover of Central Park enticed me to pick The Ramblers by Aidan Donnelley Rowley up. 

I have to admit, I have no idea what I was getting into. I mean, you know I don't read the back description. So as I start off this book, the little news article about a romance that happened on one of those bird watching tours in Central Park.  I'm like, "O, this is a urban fairy tale type." No, don't think so. As I read on, I'm immediately drawn into Clio's thoughts. There are books that focus on the emotions of the characters, especially those narrated through the use of point of views, and then there are those that heavily focuses on imagery. The visual aspect of the story, blaring out the scene and the facial expression, giving readers a play by play of what the story would be like if it was real. Then there are those books that does both. With The Ramblers, it's more about the emotions, the struggles of life changes and the reactions. Though there are visual elements in the story, it was more of a piece by piece situation, and  it doesn't flow. The characters', mainly Clio, Smith and Tate's internal thoughts from expectations to impressions to reflections were very well emanated. 

In all, a story I enjoyed. It's about successful and somewhat privileged people, yet, it's also about working hard and not knowing how life's curve-balls can change you. What to do about it, and when happiness is there, do you have the courage to leave behind the darkness that clouds you, and embrace it.

For my clean readers, there is profanity & intimacy in this book.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the author/publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, and have not been compensated for this. This is my honest opinion.

For my review policy, please see my Disclosure page.



Born and raised in New York City, Aidan Donnelley Rowley graduated from Yale University and received her law degree from Columbia University. She is the author of a previous novel, Life After Yes, and the creator of the Happier Hours Literary Salons. She lives in Manhattan with her husband and three daughters.

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Check out the full tour schedule for more information! Click on the image below to take you there.



  1. I'd love to explore Central Park on a long ramble one day ... the idea of such a green oasis in the midst of a major city fascinates me.

    Thanks for being a part of the tour!


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