A January Bride: A Year of Weddings Novella by Deborah Raney
Madeleine Houser was a writer with a looming deadline. To add to her stress, she has recently moved from her comfy New York condo to her sister’s house in Kansas to be near her mom, who is in a nursing home with Alzheimer’s disease. Her sister and husband needed to move with his job, and their home was being renovated for resale. What with all the repairmen coming and going, the noisy repairs were driving Maddie insane. She needed peace and quiet to write. When she talked with her sweet 84-year-old neighbor, Ginny Ross, her neighbor had an idea.
Ginny’s friend, Arthur Tyler, owned a Bed and Breakfast Inn out in the country that was not being used at the moment. Mr. Tyler lived in the basement apartment, driving to the nearby city university where he taught English. Ginny got permission from him for Maddie to set up her computer upstairs where she could write in peace. She would arrive in the mornings after he left for work, and leave in the afternoons before he returned home. Neither would disturb the other. Maddie just may meet her deadline after all.
In gratitude to Mr. Tyler for the use of his home, Maddie took regular cleaning breaks to polish some furniture or dust here and there. She also wrote daily notes to let him know how her novel was progressing. Arthur began to look forward to these missives and often penned a reply.
Maddie and Arthur could have continued this way indefinitely except that Art came down with a bad cold one day. Ginny decided to send the reluctant Maddie to the Inn with some of her homemade chicken noodle soup. A couple of days later, Art and Maddie met for the first time. It was a moment where the dynamics of their relationship shifted dramatically.
The author, Deborah Raney, had skillfully built up expectations of both parties, based on impressions and misunderstandings ably abetted by the romantically inclined Ginny. However, Ms. Raney keeps the reader knowledgeable about those impressions which makes so many moments such fun to read. Anticipation of the final “meet and greet” keeps this story moving along at a brisk clip.
For me, this is a novella I would enjoy reading several times. Art must suddenly deal with matters of the heart only three years after his wife died of cancer. Maddie must decide whether this is a relationship she wants to allow to grow into something more than friendship or keep at a distance where she is safe from heartbreak. It only took me a day to read the book. It’s perfect for a quick weekend getaway read or mini-break. It’s light-hearted, often humorous, somewhat predictable, but completely charming. I recommend this book if you enjoy these elements.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from NetGalley on behalf of Zondervan Fiction. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. 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.”