Title: One Moment, One Morning
Author: Sarah Rayner
Release Date: December 20, 2011
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5
Three women are on the train from Brighton to London, enduring their morning commutes. It’s a day like any other, until a man named Simon collapses on the train and dies. For Karen, Simon’s widow, the world stopped at that moment. How will she go on living without her beloved husband? For Anna, Karen’s best friend, Simon’s death throws into sharp relief the shortcomings in her own relationship with her alcoholic boyfriend, Steve. And for Lou, a passerby who happens to be sitting in the same car as Simon and Karen, Simon’s death makes her think of all that she has left unfinished, including admitting the truth about her sexuality to her mother. For these three women, one moment changes everything and helps them each to find a new beginning.
One Moment, One Morning is a tribute to the power of friendship during the most difficult times. Karen doesn’t know how to get through each day after Simon’s death, though she must for the sake of their two young children. She ends up leaning on Anna, who is happy to support her friend in her time of need. However, Simon’s death is also affecting Anna personally; she can’t help but wonder if it is time for a change in her own life. She turns to Lou, whom she barely knows, for advice. As a result, the three of these women come together to support and help one another and demonstrate what a force friendship can be.
Rayner developed her characters very well. Each of these women is three dimensional and realistic. I didn’t always love the choices they made, but these decisions were the ones of any real, flawed person. Rayner brought each of these women to life for me; I became emotionally involved with them and invested in their eventual happiness. Even the secondary characters are well thought out and engaging.
The plot is definitely predictable, but somehow that didn’t take away from the novel. It’s about the journey to finding contentment, and Rayner writes that very well. Each character must make some hard realizations in order to grow and change. It’s a quiet, character-driven novel; if you’re looking for something packed with action, this is not it. It’s contemplative and will certainly make you reflect on your own circumstances, but a fast-paced book it is not.
This novel would make a perfect book club pick, as readers will enjoy picking apart the characters and questioning their decisions. One Moment, One Morning is an enjoyable novel while simultaneously being a portrait of grief. Rayner manages to keep the book from being too soporific through Anna and Lou, while never taking away from Karen’s distress at her husband’s death. It’s a delicate balance, and one the author achieves well. I look forward to seeing what she will do next.