It was a small town June wedding, and the bride was seventy eight. 

from Commuters, by Emily Gray Tedrowe

I was hooked by this first line of Commuters, Tedrowe’s debut novel.   The first chapter is an introduction to that seventy eight year old bride, Winifred Easton McClelland. as she stands alone in the church balcony taking a few moments to observe the guests and collect her thoughts before she marries Jerry Trevis, a very wealthy businessman from Chicago whom she met only three months before.  The novel proceeds to cover the events in the next year of Winnie’s life, and is told from the alternating perspectives of Winnie, her daughter Rachel, and her step-grandson, Avery.  

Each character is facing major changes in their lives, commuting if you will between one way of life and another.  For Rachel, it’s adjusting to life with a brain injured husband, learning to live with less money, less space, less attention from her mother.  For Avery, it’s coming to terms with being drug-free, and trying to decide how to use the rest of his life.  Of course, for Winnie, it’s becoming a wife again, and learning some very vital and heartbreaking things about her new husband and his family. The couple’s decision to purchase one of the town’s largest, and most historic homes sends members of each family to their respective corners, jockeying for position and attempting to secure their futures, both materially and emotionally. 

I was impressed with Tedrowe’s ability to get inside the mind of each of her characters and really understand and portray the impact this pivotal event has on their lives.  In an afterword to the book, she writes that she’s “always been curious about what runs underneath the surface of the way we speak to each other, the things that aren’t said.”  She deftly explores each of her characters  inner lives, immediately involving the reader in their thoughts and emotions, and clearly demonstrates the ripple effect one event can have on the life of a family.

Commuters is a well written, poignant domestic drama, an intimate look at one family’s response to love, wealth, and committment.

Emily Gray Tedrowe will be on Blog Talk Radio with Book Club Girl (actually, Book Club Girl’s co-worker, Erica) on August 3rd at 7pm ET. Listen here! 

This book was reviewed for TLC Book Tours.

Buy Commuters from Amazon.

Visit the author’s website here.

Video of the author talking about and reading from her book is here.


15 thoughts on “Commuters

  1. Great review. Another book (and author) I have never even heard of before. It’s great surfing these book blogs and to come across reviews that are so inviting to get hold of the book. Just the mention of a 73 year old bride is enough to make you think that this must be riveting!

  2. This sounds right up my alley! It’s good to see that although there are 3 different perspectives, it doesn’t get confusing — so often a story becomes overwhelming if there are more than 2 perspectives, unfortunately. Sounds refreshing, and you had me hooked the other day when you posted the first line of the novel, too!

  3. I like that first line too! One of my few regrets about my work is that I wish I had put more 78-year-old women in it. Seriously. Those ladies know stuff.

  4. That is a great opening! Sounds like an interesting read. At first, I thought we were headed straight into “Our Town,” but the author seems wiser than that. Nice choice, Becca!

  5. I think I must read this one! First of all, how many times is the bride someone that age? And then, to read about the complexities of the other characters, too. It sounds absolutely intriguing.

    Thanks for sharing….

  6. This sounds really interesting and well-written. I like domestic dramas and I like the idea of a book that revolves around the effect one event can have on a whole family – how each person reacts differently. Great review.

  7. I love the idea behind the book – the marriage of two established senior citizens. It’s a common situation in today’s world and can lead to tension within each family. I’m really looking forward to reading how the author handles this story.

    Thanks for being a part of the tour – I’m glad you enjoyed the book.

  8. Hi everyone – I just wanted to thank Becca for this kind review of my book. (I especially loved your phrase “commuting, if you will, between one way of life and another” – that’s exactly how I imagined these characters, but I don’t believe I ever thought or said it that succinctly!

    And thanks as well for all the nice and welcoming comments here! I so appreciate your friendly interest in Commuters.

    all best,

  9. Pingback: Emily Gray Tedrowe, author of Commuters, on tour July 2010 | TLC Book Tours

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