THE NOVICE BRIDE is solidly, even creatively written -- I especially liked that the author allowed the hero to be as doubtful, wary, and finally as emotionally involved with the heroine, as the heroine was with him, almost from their first meeting. I think on a whole, the author's research into the time period (Saxon England, post-Battle of Hastings) was right on target, which added to the story.
(Although I don't think people said to each other: "Get a grip" as the heroine says to a servant. Just a little historical accuracy quibble there!)
But the emotional tone of the story was excellent - the main characters were well written, and the story was blessedly free of a by-the-numbers, 'reluctant to wed heroine being overtaken and forced into marriage by an alpha-male hero', storyline. Adam, the hero, is genuinely a nice person, a gentleman, but no pushover; he is just very good to Cecily when all is said and done. The heroine, Cecily, just wants to be married and get out of the convent her father stuck her in -- good for her! The nicest thing is, although they both have doubts about each other inwardly, they never deny to themselves their attraction to each other. They act on it, and the author ties in the physical relationship with the growth of their emotional one. And it's Adam, the hero, who takes the final leap of faith to prove his feelings to Cecily, without knowing if she'll respond the way he hopes she will.
Nice touches like that which are outside the romance novel "box" make this historical romance a pleasure to read. The drawbacks are that THE NOVICE BRIDE is a little too slow moving, although it gains speed by the end (and it ends beautifully). Also, the heroine does make a TSTL (too stupid to live) gesture toward the end, but, the author does make it work, and it does resolve the story. Despite the rough patches, I would probably read another romance by this author since the majority of the plot and character development are much better than average.