A January Bride by Deborah Raney Review

Posted March 12, 2014 by Asheley in Uncategorized / 2 Comments

A January Bride by Deborah Raney
Series: A Year of Weddings #2
Published by 
Publish Date: December 24, 2013

99 Pages
Find it here:  Goodreads / Amazon / B&N

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. (from Goodreads) 

A January Bride by Deborah Raney 

My Thoughts:  Not too long ago I began reading the A Year of Weddings Series novellas, which began with A December Bride by Denise Hunter – which I loved. (Check out my thoughts on that one HERE – so much fun!) Continuing with this series of romantic shorts, we meet Maddie and Art, and we get to fall in love with their romance which ends with a January wedding. 


A January Bride by Deborah Raney opens as Maddie Houser has moved from her comfy New York loft into her newly-vacant sister’s home as it is being refurbished to sell, which is not so comfy NOR is it an ideal place for Maddie to write her next big novel. One day Maddie hears a drip in the basement and decides to go down to inspect, where she ends of falling down the stairs and hurting herself. Adding insult to injury, the electricity ends up shutting down. Feeling down on her luck, Maddie crawls upstairs and calls her sweet older neighbor Ginny. Ginny has the perfect solution for Maddie:  she can go to her friend Art Tyler’s Bed and Breakfast, which doubles as his home, to write in comfort so she is able to meet the deadline set by her publishing company. She just knows he won’t mind! 

Maddie agrees because it certainly HAS to be better than a messy house-under-construction without electricity. She packs up the things she needs for work and heads over to Art’s B&B. 

NOTEArt lives alone in the B&B, in an attached apartment on the lower level. His wife Annabeth died a little over two years ago. He rarely has guests and works as a University Professor. 

So, Maddie comes in and makes herself at home. She is able to get plenty of work accomplished, so peaceful is the environment. At the end of her day there, she leaves a little note for Art. WELL WELL WELL, the next time Maddie comes to work, she finds that Art has replied on the back of her note – so very charming of him to do so! The two begin corresponding daily and both find that they look forward to the little back-and-forth notes – neither have very much interaction with anyone else and before long, the two are sort of like pen pals. 

ANOTHER NOTE: Maddie believes that since Ginny and Art are friends – well, that must mean that Art is Ginny’s age (much older than she is). Interestingly, Art believes that Maddie is much older than he is because he finds that she is walking with a cane (remember when she fell down those pesky stairs?). It is a LONG TIME before they meet in person and find out they’re both wrong so they both believe that they are pen pal-ing with someone much older which is SO CUTE, you guys. Very humorous. 


A January Bride by Deborah Raney is one of those great little feel-good stories – it is not very long but there is definitely a happy ending. Maddie is one of those gals that is of the organized type, so when she is displaced to her sister’s home and finds it in a mess, and then it becomes an even bigger mess, it throws her organized, life-with-deadlines off balance in a big way. Thankfully friend Ginny comes to the rescue with her suggestion of Art’s B&B. What Maddie doesn’t realize is that Ginny is playing Cupid…Ginny just fails to disclose Art’s AGE. She gives plenty of information about him, but nothing that would indicate that he is someone that is a potential romantic prospect for Maddie. And Ginny does the same thing with Art! 

Art has been living a relatively lonely life since his Annabeth died – he misses her but knows he needs to move on. Ginny knew this and this may have been one of the reasons she was quick to suggest Art’s place for Maddie to work. The privacy of Art’s lower level apartment made it very easy for the two to miss one another in passing for so long UNTIL a chance meeting one day when Art just happened to be home…he couldn’t believe his eyes when he found out Maddie was so YOUNG! And Maddie felt the same way! 

The two first laugh over their mutual ‘age’ mistake. They also pretty quickly realize that they’ve seen one another around town and have noticed one another, so they both feel the physical attraction present looming over their heads. As the two form a friendship that is face-to-face rather than on paper, they decide that they should try out a date. Okay, see, this is difficult for Art because of his lingering love for his now-deceased wife, Annabeth. So there are feelings that he has to work through leading up to the date AND there are fears about Art’s lingering love that Maddie has to work through. Then there is the date itself. Oh, the nerves. 

Bless their hearts, you guys. Sometimes taking that step just isn’t easy. Sometimes friendships are much easier on paper. 


I loved A January Bride by Deborah Raney. I love stories in which pen pals end up falling in love, and this was a nice, comforting, charming example of just that. The novella-length worked well for the story, the pacing was great, and the main characters were easy to love. Ginny, the meddling older mutual friend, gave some comic relief (in my opinion) as she played matchmaker but failed to disclose all of the details necessary for the romance to really take off. And there is a resident cat that lives at the B&B that both Maddie and Art love – the cat is a neat member of the cast!

A January Bride is a nice, easy, quick read – a great one to grab when you’re looking for a happily-ever-after to throw between heavy reads or long reads or maybe because the cover just grabs you (because IT IS BEATIFUL). I recommend this story to readers who enjoy romance, inspirational fiction, novellas, and stories with cats in them. I am LOVING this series of novellas. LOVING. 


A January Bride will appeal to fans of:

Adult Contemporary Romance/ChickLit
Romance: No Triangle. Slowly Developing. 
Novellas/Short Stories

A January Bride by Deborah Raney
is currently available for purchase.

**I received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest opinion and review. I received no compensation for my thoughts and they are my own! Thank you Zondervan! 


Have you considered this series?

I loved this novella! 

It was so sweet and cute with a 
dash of humor and a cat!
Highly recommend!




About Asheley

Asheley is a Southern girl. She loves Carolina blue skies, Ben & Jerry's ice cream, and NC craft beer. She loves all things history but prefers books over everything.

You can find her somewhere in North Carolina, daydreaming about the ocean.

Find Asheley on Litsy @intothehallofbooks!


2 responses to “A January Bride by Deborah Raney Review

  1. Aw, this sounds kind of sweet! I like that they're pen-paling (palling?) each other and that they both think the other is older than they are. Might have to check this series out.

Leave a Reply

Want to include a link to one of your blog posts below your comment? Enter your URL in the website field, then click the button below to get started.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.