Aidan Donnelley Rowley
Published: William Morrow/Harper Collins
Date: 9th February 2016
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss and Little Bird Publicity.
I began reading this book with a little trepidation. Would I like it? There is always a little anxiety for me when I begin reading an author that is new to me, and a book that I did not necessarily seek out.
However as I settled into this novel, spaced over little more than a week around Thanksgiving, I knew it was going to work for me. It is set in New York, and while I am not familiar with the city, never having been there, it was an interesting exploration of the city itself. Lots of landmarks and interesting little snippets of facts about them.
It is the story of three main characters and their families. We are first introduced to Clio, a gifted ornithologist, but a rather brittle, fragile woman. She is prone to anxiety attacks and she has this gnawing feeling that she will not be able to commit to a relationship like marriage. She is with Henry a wonderful man somewhat older than her, and he seems right for her. However Clio has never shared with him what really is at the very heart of her. And we need to go back to childhood for that.
Smith is a good friend of Clios, she is wealthy, lives near parents, outwardly an organiser of others lives. Inside her being she is a mess. She was about to marry a man she loved when he backed out and she has been severely affected by it. Her sister Sally is about to marry and while she loves her sister and has a very good relationship with her, it hurts her to see Sally so happy and herself so lost.
Tate is a young man who was at college at the same time as Clio and Smith and has made a fortune in an app he and another friend designed. He too is stalled in life, his wife has been unfaithful to him and divorce proceedings are about to be wrapped up. He loves to photograph New York city and perhaps that is the way his life will journey on. He and Smith seem to hit it off on meeting up again and their is promise in it.
I enjoyed the strong friendships, the difficulties in parent/child relationships, the exploration of illness and its effects on all involved. I loved how the story was told and changed to each of the three characters in turn. I loved learning little facts about birds I never knew, for example the humble pigeon. And while I have never had the pleasure of seeing a humming bird, I feel they must be one of the best birds going.