A kindly look at human fallibility


Early Morning Riser Katherine Heiny

Engrossing, moving and original. – Highly readable, once you sink into it. – Well written – Small-town life without the small-town mentality.

Early Morning Riser | Katherine Heiny

Early Morning Riser is an absolute gem! It’s rather a slow burner but once you sink into it, you start to savor every word.

It’s the story of Jane, who relocates to take up a job as schoolteacher in a small American town and almost immediately falls in love with the town’s lothario, Duncan. At first, I was a bit apprehensive that it would turn into a rather saccharine or judgmental and cliché-ridden small-town love story. Not at all! That’s really not it at all!

Early Morning Riser is a delight. You find yourself reading slowly to enjoy every word and thought, because it’s full of warmth and tender, insightful observations, but also because it continually surprises you.

Careful! This excerpt contains spoilers!

Sometimes Jane thought her marriage was less like the divine union of two souls and more like when Mr. Gaska and Mr. Bagley combined the feedstore and the pet-supply shop into one business so they could lower operating costs. Really, wasn’t that what she and Duncan had done? They had knocked down the wall dividing their lives and converted them into one bigger life so they could care for Jimmy.
[…] It was a practical arrangement, only faintly tinged with romance.

— Early Morning Riser | Katherine Heiny

It’s a rich and deep story with fully rounded characters. Rather than the black-and-white cut-out characters I feared, the novel was all about the shades of grey that make up real people and their relationships.

The story unfolds slowly and the gradual small reveals are wonderful in the telling. So it’s hard to review this book without spoilers. Suffice to say that we follow Jane and Duncan and their friends and family over many years. It’s a wonderful journey peppered with all the ordinariness and disorderliness of life.

It’s funny – even hilarious in parts – wry, tender, warm, touching, quirky…. Other reviewers have found a vast range of adjectives to describe it and they are all apt.

If you enjoy novels at all you won’t regret reading this one. I cannot imagine anyone not liking it. It’s about being human and fallible in a world where things don’t always work out the way we expect. Highly recommended.

My thanks to Netgalley for giving me a free copy of this book. All my reviews are 100% honest and unbiased, regardless of how I acquire the book.

Early Morning Riser is available from all major booksellers.

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