Synopses & Reviews
The Brighton to London line. The 7:44 am train. Cars packed with commuters. One woman occupies her time observing the people around her. Opposite, a girl puts on her make-up. Across the aisle, a husband strokes his wifes hand. Further along, another woman flicks through a glossy magazine. Then, abruptly, everything changes: a man collapses, the train is stopped, and an ambulance is called.
For at least three passengers on the 7:44 on that particular morning, life will never be the same again. Theres Lou, in an adjacent seat, who witnesses events first hand. Anna, whos sitting further up the train, impatient to get to work. And Karen, the mans wife. Telling the story of the week following that fateful train journey, One Moment, One Morning is a stunning novel by Sarah Rayner about love and loss, about family and - above all- friendship. A stark reminder that, sometimes, one moment is all it takes to shatter everything. Yet it also reminds us that somehow, despite it all, life can and does go on.
"A man's sudden death touches off seismic shifts in the lives of three women, wife-turned-widow Karen, neighbor Anna, and teacher and closeted lesbian Lou, in this affecting weeper about friendship and family. Rayner (Getting Even) takes a random tragedy on a morning commuter train from Brighton to London and parses it over the hours of six days plucked from half a year, dissecting the women's emotional unraveling and eventual rebirth as stronger mothers, lovers, friends. The aching loss heaped swiftly upon Karen and her two young children, Molly and Luke, is reason enough to cry, but their search for solace turns from maudlin and mundane to insightful and fresh thanks in part to the pleasing retrospective flashbacks of this family's life. 'It's his failings that made him who he was,' Karen confesses in her plaintive eulogy. And while Karen rebuilds her fractured family, best friend Anna contemplates the end of an abusive relationship with a charming drunk, and Lou finally trusts her heart enough to come out to a family she vastly underestimates. Rayner sets up a tricky emotional minefield for these vulnerable women, but deftly guides them to a place of power and truth." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Sarah Rayner, author of One Moment, One Morning, was born in London and now lives in Brighton with her partner. She worked for many years as an advertising copywriter, and now writes fiction full time.
Reading Group Guide
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS for ONE MOMENT, ONE MORNING 1. For the person who chose One Moment, One Morning: What made you want to read this particular novel and suggest it to the group for discussion?
2. Do the characters Lou, Anna and Karen seem real and believable? How do they change or evolve throughout the course of the story? Who was your favourite, and why? To what extent do they remind you of yourself or someone you know?
3. Talk about the secondary characters - Simon, Steve and Lous mother, and Karens children, Molly and Luke. Were they important to the story? Did any stand out for you? Were there any who you didnt like, and why?
4. What did you think about the structure of the book? All the events take place in a week in time. What did you think of the use of flashbacks and multiple perspectives?
5. Talk about the plot: what was more important, the characters or the plot? Was the plot moved forward by decisions of the characters, or were the characters at the mercy of the plot?
6. The title of One Moment, One Morning suggests that there are pivotal moments when our lives can change course forever. Have you had any such pivotal experiences?
7. What did you think about setting the book in Brighton, England? How did it enhance or take away from the story? Was the author's description of the city and local community a good one?
8. What about Sarah Rayners use of language/writing style? Was the language appropriate to the story? Was it more poetic or vernacular? (You might like to have each member read a favourite passage out loud. Its best to warn them ahead of time that they'll be doing this so they'll be prepared.)
9. What specific themes did you notice throughout the novel? Did you think there was anything particular Sarah Rayner is trying to get across to the reader overall? In what ways do the events in the book reveal evidence of Sarah Rayners world view?
10. Did certain parts of the book make you uncomfortable? If so, why did you feel that way? Did this lead to a new understanding or awareness of some aspect of your life you might not have thought about before?
11. What do you think will be your lasting impression of One Moment, One Morning a year from now?