US Giveaway: The Ramblers by Aidan Donnelley Rowley

Now Available in Trade Paperback

You can read my review here.

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About:  Set over the course of one life-changing Thanksgiving week, THE RAMBLERS is a sumptuous, accomplished novel about loss, hope, passion and the strength of the human spirit. Native New Yorker Aidan Donnelley Rowley has written a love letter to New York City—its glittering moments and the magic and wonder that are waiting to be discovered in some of its secret corners.

Clio Marsh, an ornithologist at the American Museum of Natural History, has found solace from her broken childhood by studying the ways in which hummingbirds adapt to harsh environments. The Ramble in Central Park is the only place in Manhattan that has truly ever felt like home in the city, and she’s dedicated to introducing other New Yorkers to the beauties of the natural world on her popular bird-watching walks there. But then Clio meets someone and the solitary world she’s carefully constructed threatens to crumble as she struggles to come to terms with her past.

Smith Anderson has been Clio’s best friend since their first days as undergraduates at Yale, when a painful secret bound them together. As a professional organizer to wealthy Manhattanites, Smith’s career is centered on order and peace, but her own life has been falling apart ever since her fiancé mysteriously called off their engagement and quickly married another woman. Now, with her younger sister’s wedding just days away, Smith is spiraling out of control, grasping for answers from her family and from herself.

Tate Pennington, an aspiring photographer, is going through a bitter divorce. Though the iPhone app he created on a whim made him a millionaire nearly overnight, his failed marriage has left him reeling and he’s returned to New York for a fresh start. But Tate finds himself desperate for a real connection and wonders if he’ll have a sense of truly belonging somewhere, with someone, again.

As the emotional chaos of their lives unfolds, Clio, Smith and Tate must learn to let go of the past in order to make room for the future and the uncertainty and promise that it holds.


Praise for THE RAMBLERS

“Rowley 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.” – Library Journal, starred review

“I can’t recommend The Ramblers more highly: the book is gorgeously written, deeply moving, and stays with you long after you finish it.” – Huffington Post

“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

“A wonderfully woven story of how family can hold us back or set us free. The richly drawn characters in The Ramblers remind the reader that we sometimes fear the things we most want. It’s not often that a book embeds you so deeply with the characters that you feel as if you are in their story. Rowley’s finely drawn story of love, loss, fear and friendship wound me around its little finger…” – Lee Woodruff, New York Times bestselling author of Those We Love Most 


US Giveaway

Please click here and fill out the form

GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED

the-ramblers-trade-pb

Giveaway ends on October 5, 2016

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The Velvet Hours by Alyson Richman

  • the velvet hours (9:6)Title:  The Velvet Hours
  • Author:  Alyson Richman
  • Genre:  Historical Fiction
  • Pages:  384
  • Published:  September 2016 – Berkley
  • Source:  Publisher; Tandem Literary

Description:  As Paris teeters on the edge of the German occupation, a young French woman closes the door to her late grandmother’s treasure-filled apartment, unsure if she’ll ever return. 

An elusive courtesan, Marthe de Florian cultivated a life of art and beauty, casting out all recollections of her impoverished childhood in the dark alleys of Montmartre. With Europe on the brink of war, she shares her story with her granddaughter Solange Beaugiron, using her prized possessions to reveal her innermost secrets. Most striking of all are a beautiful string of pearls and a magnificent portrait of Marthe painted by the Italian artist Giovanni Boldini. As Marthe’s tale unfolds, like velvet itself, stitched with its own shadow and light, it helps to guide Solange on her own path.

Inspired by the true account of an abandoned Parisian apartment, Alyson Richman brings to life Solange, the young woman forced to leave her fabled grandmother’s legacy behind to save all that she loved.

My take:  In 2010 a Paris apartment that had been closed for seventy years was opened to reveal a time capsule of sorts. Found inside were objets d’art from the Belle Epoch and earlier eras as well as many other valuable items. The Velvet Hours is the imagined story of the woman who owned the apartment and her granddaughter.

Alyson Richman’s story of Marthe de Florian and Solange Beaugiron captured me from the start. The descriptions of, well, everything was gorgeous and gave me the feeling I was sitting in the room with the characters.

Solange didn’t know she had a grandmother until she was nineteen and her father took her to meet Marthe. Upon their introduction they met a few days each week and Marthe told Solange about her life. It’s a remarkable story about a remarkable time and involves art, books and romance. I loved it all. Equally intriguing but less developed than Marthe’s story was the story of a book passed down on Solange’s mother’s side of the family. I’d love to read more about it in a separate novel.

Until The Velvet Hours I’d never read one of Alyson Richman’s novels. I was happy to discover she has six other books that are now on my to-be-read list. I can easily recommend The Velvet Hours to fans of the author and historical fiction.

Note:  You can search online for Marthe de Florian and you’ll find photos of her apartment as well as the portrait highlighted in the novel. 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Alyson Richman is the internationally bestselling author of the The Garden of LettersThe Lost Wife, The Last Van GoghThe Rhythm of Memory (previously published as Swedish Tango) and The Mask Carver’s Son. Her novels have been translated into eighteen languages and are known for their rich historical and artistic detail. She lives in Long Island, New York, with her husband and two children.


PRAISE FOR THE VELVET HOURS:
“Alyson Richman’s writing sings in her evocative new novel set in Paris at the dawn of World War II. The Velvet Hours is a beautiful and compelling portrait of two women facing their unknown past and an unimaginable future as their world begins to crumble.”
— Kristin Hannah, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Nightingale

“Alyson Richman deftly weaves fact and fiction to create an enthralling tale of love and sacrifice in The Velvet Hours. Richman slips flawlessly between time periods, her sense of place in depicting Paris in the 1880’s and 1940’s spot on. The reader navigates the streets of the City of Light alongside Solange and Marthe, two carefully crafted and worthy heroines. The author does a superb job of creating a Paris apartment full of exquisite treasures and a priceless painting, a world of light and shadow, beauty and darkness. Ultimately, this is a carefully wrought story of love, of what the heart chooses to give up, and what it chooses to keep. Highly recommended to readers who enjoyed Kristen Hannah’s The Nightingale.”
—Karen WhiteNew York Times bestselling author

“A masterful mix of the glamour of the Belle Epoque and the shadows of impending war as the stories of two generations twist and twine together in delightful, heart-wrenching, and sometimes unexpected ways.”
— Lauren WilligNew York Times bestselling author

“Staggeringly evocative, romantic, heartrending, sensual, and beautifully written.”
—John LescroartNew York Times bestselling author

“Tragedy and hope, love and loss, and the strength to endure are examined through Richman’s graceful writing and powerful characters.”
Booklist

“If you love graceful, mellifluous writing, you should read this book.”
—Jenna BlumNew York Times bestselling author

The Secret Ingredient of Wishes by Susan Bishop Crispell

  • the secret ingredient of wishesTitle:  The Secret Ingredient of Wishes: A Novel
  • Author:  Susan Bishop Crispell
  • Genre:  Women’s Fiction; Magical Realism
  • Pages:  304
  • Published:  September 2016 – Thomas Dunne Books
  • Source:  Publisher

Description:  26-year-old Rachel Monroe has spent her whole life trying to keep a very unusual secret: she can make wishes come true. And sometimes the consequences are disastrous. So when Rachel accidentally grants an outlandish wish for the first time in years, she decides it’s time to leave her hometown—and her past—behind for good. 

Blog Tour: The Life She Wants by Robyn Carr

  • the life she wants (9:27)Title:  The Life She Wants: A Novel
  • Author:  Robyn Carr
  • Genre:  Women’s Fiction
  • Pages:  368
  • Published:  September 27, 2016 – Mira
  • Source:  Publisher; Little Bird Publicity

My take:  Emma Shay’s wealthy husband committed suicide after being found guilty of running a Ponzi scheme leaving Emma to deal with the fallout alone in New York City. She decided to try to start over by going home to California where she at least had a friend who knew that none of what happened was her fault. She found a place to live and eventually a job that would get her on her feet, just barely. When the job didn’t work out she swallowed her pride and asked a former friend for a job in her housecleaning business.

The Life She Wants is about second chances – in life and in relationships. Emma learned a lot from her former life in New York, most importantly that money can’t buy happiness. Going back to where she’d started in life made her realize what she valued most and gave her courage to make things right with the people she cared about. Emma’s friend Riley had lessons to learn as well. She’d been angry about how her life changed fifteen years earlier and needed to lighten up and let people into her life.

Robyn Carr’s story pulled me in from page one. I rooted for Emma and eventually Riley to turn their lives around and find the life each yearned for. The secondary characters and storylines added interesting layers to the novel. I’m wondering if a certain detective from this book will turn up in another someday. His story seemed a bit unfinished. Regardless, I enjoyed The Life She Wants very much.


About the author:

Carr_Robyn_11_Col“I’m frequently asked what it is about my stories that make them so popular. I think it’s the sense of community and that combination of romance and women’s fiction,” says author Robyn Carr. “I’m naturally drawn to strong, capable female characters, and when I begin a story, I ask myself, ‘What is she up against?’ It’s very empowering to read about women like ourselves as they resolve the issues that threaten their happiness and peace of mind. It’s also empowering to watch smart women choosing and falling in love with men of honor and integrity.”

The author of more than 40 novels, Robyn reaches a wide audience with her writing. In addition to her touching novels, she’s written historical and contemporary romance, as well as a gripping thriller. “This is the best job I’m ever going to get wearing pajamas,” she says of her writing career.

Originally from Minnesota, Robyn and her family have seen much of the country, thanks to her husband, Jim, and his career in aviation. After the two high school sweethearts married, Jim joined the air force. They’ve lived in Texas—all four corners—Alabama, Florida, California, Utah, Arizona and Nevada.

The couple moved to Henderson, Nevada, so Jim could explore a new business opportunity. “At first, being a Midwest girl at heart, I said, ‘Oh, no, not another desert!’ It didn’t take me long to fall in love with the beauty of Nevada—and the unrivaled spectacle of Las Vegas!”

Robyn well remembers how she began her career as an author more than 25 years ago. “I was trained as a nurse but found it impossible to get work because my husband was constantly being transferred. At the time, I was reading a lot of genre fiction for the sheer entertainment value, and I thought to myself, ‘I can write this!’”

And how was her first foray into the world of literature received? “It was universally panned. I thought I had written Gone with the Wind, but in actuality it was complete trash.” In fact, it was on her third try that Robyn finally succeeded in becoming a published author.

Now that Robyn’s two children are grown—and finally out of the house—she has the luxury of a little free time. “Until my kids grew up, I didn’t realize that a person could have hobbies other than laundry,” she jokes. But it turns out not to be hobbies that keep Robyn busy when she isn’t writing— she has found her niche in community service.

She has mentored a seniors’ memoir-writing group, attends book club chats in and out of state whenever possible and is working with her local library on the Carr Chat Series, a program centered on fund-raising and visiting-author events that bring writers, their books and the community together. “It is the people in my life that fill the well,” she says. “Especially the people who share my love for books and writing.”