Monday, February 17, 2014

"a january bride" by deborah raney

About the book (from the publisher): What will happen when novelist Madeleine Houser's 'pen pal' friendship with a lonely widower takes an unexpected turn?

Who can work in a house that's overrun by contractors and carpenters? Not Madeleine Houser, a successful novelist who gladly accepts the help of her octogenarian friend, Ginny, to arrange for a temporary office in the charming bed and breakfast owned by Ginny's friend, Arthur. Maddie's never met the innkeeper - but a friendship grows between them as Maddie and Arthur leave messages for each other each day. To Maddie's alternate delight and chagrin, she seems to be falling for the inn's owner - a man who's likely many years her senior - and who she's never even met.

Arthur Tyler is a college professor who lost his young wife to cancer. Together they ran the bed and breakfast where Art lives, but without his wife, the house is missing warmth and cheer. He jumps at the chance to have author Madeleine Houser use the space that was once filled with guests. He, too, begins to enjoy the daily exchanges with Maddie, but a series of misunderstandings lead him to believe she's far from being a prospective date—even if he were ready to date again, which he's not.

When Maddie and Art finally meet and discover one another's identity, sparks fly. Even so, they each have obstacles to overcome in order for this winter romance to blossom.

My take: "A January Bride" is a fun, quick read. While it's a novella, it doesn't feel like one. What I mean is, even though the book is short, the characters are well developed, and the relationship moves at a reasonable pace.

I especially enjoyed the lead-up to Art and Maddie discovering the other's true identity, and I laughed aloud a few times as each figured out the mistake.

I am glad that "A January Bride" is a novella, as the mistaken identity plot could quickly grow tiresome if stretched out through a full-length novel. As a novella, though, it's just about perfect.

This is the second installment in Zondervan's A Year of Weddings series, and if the first two novellas are any indication, this is going to be an enjoyable year!

My rating: 4-1/2 stars

Buy the book.
Read my reviews of "A December Bride" and Raney's Forever After, After All, and The Face of the Earth.

About the author: Deborah Raney is the award-winning author of several novels, including A Nest of Sparrows and the RITA award winning Beneath a Southern Sky and its sequel, After the Rains. Deborah's first novel, A Vow to Cherish, was the inspiration for World Wide Pictures' highly acclaimed film of the same title, which in December 2004 aired on primetime network TV for the second time. Deb's novella, "Playing by Heart," was a National Readers Choice Award winner and a 2004 Christy Award finalist. Her novel for Howard/Simon & Schuster, Yesterday's Embers, appeared on the ECPA Christian fiction bestseller list. Known for her sensitive portrayal of family struggles and relationships, Deb has also written nonfiction books and articles and often speaks at women's retreats and writers' conferences around the country. She and her husband, illustrator/author Ken Raney, have four children and make their home in Kansas. Find out more at

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook blogger program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Also, some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase an item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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