REVIEW: The Novice Bride by Carol TownendMonday, June 16, 2008 1:00
I rarely comment on covers, but I hate this cover. I’m glad I didn’t pay too much attention to the cover when I ordered this online. The people are not particularly attractive, the heads don’t quite match the bodies, and they look stiff and awkward. Disregard the cover, because the book contained within is good, and this is coming from someone who rarely enjoys Medievals.
Not that I don’t enjoy the period. Before I decided the Ivory Tower wasn’t for me, I did enough coursework for a Medieval Studies major. I was going to be a Medieval History Professor. The Medieval romances I’ve tried just didn’t feel right. They didn’t have enough of what I like about the period, and the attempts at Medieval language made me giggle. I picked this one up because it focused on one of my favorite eras: Medieval Britain after The Battle of Hastings (circa 1066). The Novice Bride has just enough dirt, violence, and nuns to appeal to me, and straight forward language and dialogue that sounded neither too modern nor like Middle English lite.
The conflict here is very juicy — the conquerors and the conquered. William of Normandy and his men have conquered the Saxons. To cement their presence, his men are given Saxon lands and Saxon wives. When Emma of Fulford is to be given in marriage to the Breton knight Adam Wymark, she takes a powder, leaving her sister Cecily, in the convent these past four years, to take her place. Cecily agrees to marry Adam in order to protect her people and lands as much as possible. She is increasingly intrigued and attracted to Adam and vice versa, but both are very loyal to their own, and unsure if they can trust one another.
Adam and Cecily have good chemistry and I liked the way their romance developed. Both are younger than I normally like in my romance (she’s 16, he’s 22) but it makes sense given the much lower life expectancy of the time. Cecily was innocent, but not naïve, and seemed smart and practical. She took to the marriage bed very quickly, which was a little silly, but otherwise I liked her. Adam was a good man, and I could see how he attracted Cecily.
The Novice Bride captured the flavor of the times without being too depressing or violent. I thought it wrapped up a bit too neatly, with everyone changing their minds about Adam very fast. Up until then, the Saxons really hated them! Overall this was a solid romance set in a fascinating period. Give it a try if you like Medievals. I’ll definitely read Carol Townend again.
INNOCENT BRIDE, CONQUERING HUSBAND!
As a novice, Lady Cecily of Fulford’s knowledge of men is nonexistent. But when tragic news bids her home immediately, her only means of escape from the convent is to brazenly offer herself to the enemy…as a bride!
With her fate now in the hands of her husband, Sir Adam Wymark, she battles to protect her family. Suspicions and betrayal are rife, yet their convenient marriage offers Cecily much more than comfort in her knight’s arms…
Normans and Saxons, conflict and desire!
Read an excerpt here.