Rowan Saybrook is one of the main characters in "The Heiresses". Successful in her own right, perpetually-single Rowan looks for true love, but the only man she wants is the one Poppy already has.
Growing up, she was always up for a game of hockey or freeze tag at the end of their cul-de-sac in Chappaqua, and she beat up on Michael and Palmer as much as they beat up on her. As she got older, she and some of her cute guy friends did more than just play touch football. Despite nearly ten years older than Natasha, she’d happily played bit parts in Natasha’s one-act plays and cheered when Natasha put on karaoke concerts on the back porch at Meriweather. But at the time of Steven Barnett's funeral, twenty-seven-year-old Rowan Saybrook matured enough to become the family company's newest in-house lawyer. She had graduated first in her class at Columbia Law and would later become senior counsel at Saybrook's Diamonds.
Five years later, a bored Rowan watches the very young partygoers of Poppy's daughter Skyler's 3rd birthday party begin to fight, and goes to the kitchen where the other Saybrook cousins, along with their respective mothers and the partygoers' mothers are to pour herself a drink.
Rowan is described as having an oval face, bow-shaped lips, a long forehead, a sloping nose, and the signature Saybrook pale blue eyes. Her tall frame was lithe and toned from long runs and hours on the tennis court.
Growing up, Rowan was a free-spirited tomboy, noted for her competitive nature with her brothers. But as she matured, girls around her began talking about love, boyfriends, and relationships while Rowan preferred to hook up and hang out with her men without a care. But now thirty-two and as successful as Poppy, she realizes she is missing something in her life - true love. And she wants the one thing Poppy has that she doesn't.
At first, in an effort to find love, Rowan turned into of the whiny, high-pitched girls she was around. However, she soon accepted the role of a guy's "wing girl" - certain ones, though. Above all, Rowan craved one thing - to be a mother. She often felt insecure when someone pointed out that she wasn't a mother, and felt too angular or tall, very insecure about her looks and self.
|“||Just slow down for a minute, and maybe you’ll see how right this is. It will be messy, yeah, but you are my closest friend. You know me better than everyone. I love you. This should have happened years ago.||”|
— James to Rowan
James became friends with Rowan at Columbia when they lived on the same floor freshman year. She'd spent most of the time in James' dorm room, playing video games and chatting about the people in their building, especially the girls. They'd stayed on for graduate programs at Columbia, James for business school — he had always wanted to be an entrepreneur — and Rowan headed there for law school. They had a standing Monday night dinner date at a Mexican dive on Broadway with spicy guacamole. On weekends, they played pool at SoHa, the dingy bar on Amsterdam whose bartenders made potent Long Island iced teas. As usual, Rowan had fallen into her role as the perennial guy’s girl, James’s wingwoman. Plenty of times, Rowan had consoled James' date at the end of the evening when she caught James making out with someone new in the unisex bathroom. It was during a party that Rowan hosted for James at Meriweather that he met Poppy - he gave her the same look he gave the other girls he hooked up with, much to Rowan's horror. As James happily dated and eventually married Poppy, Rowan watched from the sidelines. It wasn't until he was married that Rowan realized her strong romantic feelings for him.
It wasn't until years later when James Kenwood started having marital issues with Poppy (whom he thought was having an affair), that he started flirting with Rowan again. This time, in the bathroom of the Saybrook Estate, after she felt overwhelmed at the dinner table for not having kids or being in love. Later, he went to her apartment and that started drinking a lot. The drinking, plus the unexplored chemistry between the pair, lead them to have an affair together. The next morning, James admits that he's decided that he wants to end things with Poppy and be with Rowan. However, Poppy is murdered that day and James becomes a widow, with both mourning Poppy's death. This didn't stop their affair, however, and they continued to flirt and grow closer - James called her to help him handle his two daughters, confided in each other, and helped one another. They also had sex a few times after that, and their feelings for one another continued to grow.
As they got more involved, Rowan noticed a shift in James and saw him distancing himself more and more. He took longer to reply to her texts, but she always believed her was where he said he was. Until one afternoon, when she saw James across the street meeting up with a woman - when he was allegedly at Skylar's school. She ran out of the restaurant she was in and followed him, and was shocked to see him with Evan Pierce, Poppy's friend and Corinne's wedding planner. They were holding hands and when she confronted them, James didn't deny the affair nor did he try to apologize. He cursed and felt bad that he and Evan's relationship was exposed and tried to talk to Rowan. However, she was upset and ran away from him. He bellowed after her to stop and come back to him so they could talk, but she continued to run. She knew that he had cheated on other girls before, she just didn't think he would ever do it to her.
- From a young age, Rowan loved to climb the highest trees, beating out her brothers many times.
- She beat her brother in a rope course.
- In middle school, she’d spent several summers on Poppy's parents' farm, shearing the sheep with Poppy and exploring the cavernous attic in their refurbished farmhouse.
- She owns a 100-pound Bernese mountain dog named Jackson, and a chihuahua named Bert.