A Simple Romance: The January Bride by Deborah Raney

The blurb reads

january brideWho 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.

I got this copy via NetGalley and I was excited to finally get my hands on a series which would finish my Series Challenge. This was the first story I picked up and read in about an hour.

To sum it up, the story is like the month of January. Nothing great, no big deal in terms of the weather, simply pleasant enough for you to notice it but not as pleasant to leave a lasting impression.

The book starts off with Madeline who is in between fixing her sister’s house in the country and writing her novel. After she takes a fall, Maddie’s friend Ginny comes to her rescue and sets up a temporary office with her friend. Maddie has no idea that Ginny has some tricks up her sleeve.

The inn where Maddie now writes her novel happens to be one with its own closet of skeletons. The owner has his own secrets. For the longest time in the book, the two never meet. A chance meeting doesn’t count because each one thinks the other is an oldie.

Somehow somewhere, Arthur’s past connects to Maddie’s present and they fall in love. Now this is where I have an issue. Like I mentioned before, the book was like the month of January (I mean in India!). It barely made any impact. The characters didn’t leave any lasting impression and I didn’t feel any emotions sway with respect to their romance.

I felt the book was very cliche in terms of character development and the author simply did NOT take any effort to make anything work. As if putting an author and a grieving Inn Owner would automatically create a necessary romance.

This book felt old school in that manner. The romance was like the old times. Simple. No Firecrackers. No Spunk. Plain and Simple. That is what contrasted me and my thinking. One part of me wanted to cheer on this simple and unusual country romance while the other wanted some more from the characters.


Ultimately, the title of the book was the decider in the review and in the end, even though this has a simple charm, it WASN’T ENOUGH to carry the book along. Both Maddie and Arthur seemed forced in their own locations and their union seemed much arranged through the series of letters and some clever planning by Ginny. The book was too “white” for me in terms of not bringing anything different on the table. Like a pair of white roses, it was simple and beautiful, yet just not quite there, missing some colour beneath.

My Rating: 2.5/5

2 and a half stars

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