After losing her husband of many years, seventy-eight-year-old Winnie Easton has found love again with Jerry Trevis, a wealthy, elderly Chicago businessman; their decision, however, to buy one of the biggest houses in the small, upstate town of Hartfield, New York, ignites anger and skepticism in their families. Jerry’s daughter, Annette, fearing for her inheritance, takes drastic action to freeze Jerry’s assets; Winnie’s daughter, Rachel, struggling with her own finances, accepts Jerry’s offer of a loan; and Avery, Jerry’s twenty-year-old grandson, a hotshot chef with a cocaine-fueled past, scouts out Manhattan venues in which to start his own restaurant–with Jerry’s money to back him up.

With so much riding on Jerry’s wealth, a rapid decline in his physical health forces hard decisions on the family, renewing old loyalties while creating surprising alliances. Commuters traces the interwoven stories of Winnie, Rachel, and Avery as each is changed by the repercussions of one marriage, and by the complex intertwining of love, family, and money.


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Entertainment Weekly

“Tedrowe evinces a heartfelt, intelligent understanding that romance is not just the province of the young . . . [Commuters has] the tenderness, imagination and perspicacity of the best fiction.”
Chicago Tribune

“In her wonderfully cohesive debut novel, short story writer Tedrowe graduates to elegant novelist with a winding, convincing familial drama about the ties that bind and the bonds that bend to the breaking point . . . The author’s deft handling of a large and distinctive cast should win raves from those who revel in this sort of ensemble crazy quilt. A lovely and literate family drama that wins bonus points for its sincerity and open-hearted delivery.”

“Tedrowe is an exceptionally adept first-time novelist, creating a thoroughly engrossing plot, redolent settings, and intriguing characters coping valiantly with fear, terrible decisions, and the bewitchment of money. Tedrowe’s tale of family conflict, shelter, love, and loss is suspenseful, funny, and tender.”

” [Tedrowe] shows great promise in her compassionate, nuanced depiction of love–among the old and young alike–and her confident handling of alternating, multigenerational narrators.”
Publishers Weekly

“This impressive debut novel concerns the change in family dynamics when an elderly parent remarries.”
Chicago Sun-Times

“Change is at the heart of Emily Gray Tedrowe’s sparkling debut novel, Commuters.”

“In her wonderful and original novel Commuters, Emily Gray Tedrowe explores the reconfigurations of a family and the strange alliances that can occur between young and old, love and work. And she writes brilliantly about money. Reading these absorbing pages, I couldn’t help longing for each of her richly imagined characters to get his or her heart’s desire. A deeply satisfying debut.”
— Margot Livesey, author of The House on Fortune Street

“So fantastic. This is the kind of book you would imagine Virginia Woolf might write were she with us in the twenty-first century: relevant and contemporary, relentlessly funny, deeply insightful, and fearless in its exploration of people’s private lives.”
— Patrick Somerville, author of The Cradle

“A poignant meditation on desire, heartrending loss, and dreams deferred. . . With pitch-perfect clarity, Tedrowe’s story will stay with you long after you turn the final page.”
— Robin Antalek, author of The Summer We Fell Apart