Lately I’ve found myself wanting to read books which are humorous and light but with a literary feel too. When I browse novels tagged as literary humour, they often turn out to be either cosy mysteries or romance, with a formulaic feel. So I was very happy to have Early Morning Riser to review.
Jane has moved to Boyne City to take up a position as an elementary school teacher and has fallen for Duncan, an easy-going charming man. Everyone likes Duncan, so much so that virtually every woman she meets has slept with him – and remained on good terms. He’s charmingly unreliable, and his assistant, Jimmy, spends most of the day fending off clients at his furniture restoration business.
Then a dramatic event draws Jane in deeper to the obligations of small-town life. At the same time she realises that Duncan is only willing to sacrifice his freedom for one person – and it’s not her.
Early Morning Riser is an amusing take on the pleasures and compromises of family and community. There are lots of great set-piece scenes – in the classroom, with Jane’s brilliantly awful mother, with Duncan’s ex-wife and her terrible husband.
It does have a topsy-turvy structure. The key reversals happen at the start of the book. The second half is more a series of set-piece scenes. I kept waiting for the drama to heat up, but the epiphany, when it comes, feels like it’s answering a different question to the one raised by what’s gone before.
Still, that’s a quibble. Early Morning Riser made me laugh out loud several times. Its characters and setting are full of warmth while still having an edge that stop it being sickly sweet.
I received a copy of Early Morning Riser from the publisher via Netgalley.
View Early Morning Riser on Goodreads