A January Bride by Deborah Raney ~ A Book Review

A Year of Weddings, Book 2
Deborah Raney
Contemporary Fiction

About the book:

A year's worth of novellas from twelve inspirational romance authors. Happily ever after guaranteed.

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 thoughts:

Novellas can be a bit tricky. Often they feel rushed or incomplete, but so far this series has had none of that. Deborah Raney is a talented author and she has once again put her skills to good use by allowing us to peek into the lives of some very adorable characters. While this is an updated version of her 2003 release Playing By Heart, I think it is a wonderful fit for this series and worthy of another read.

I really enjoyed getting to know the two main characters through the notes that they left for each other every day. It was fun to see the relationship grow from both sides. The assumptions that were made by Maddie and Arthur made for a fun reveal when they finally met in person. I absolutely loved that Ginny knew both people, yet she let them continue on a natural course without being the busybody friend.

The relationships besides that of Maddie and Arthur are endearing. Maddie's sacrifice to be able to care for her mother is very heart warming. Arthur's feelings for his deceased wife felt real, especially when he began to have feelings for Maddie. I thought that Deborah Rainey did a marvelous job in showing the very real struggle of moving on.

This is a perfect Saturday afternoon read! Each novella is a stand-alone with the wedding theme running through each. I'm eagerly looking forward to the rest of the series.

A Year of Weddings Series

A September Bride by Kathryn Springer
An October Bride by Katie Ganshert
A November Bride by Beth K. Vogt

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