"Prisoner of My Desire" was pretty shocking to me the first time I read it about 10 years ago. I was a teenager then, and a HUGE fan of Johanna Lindsey, so I couldn't understand why she would write a romance about a man and woman raping each other. Needless to say, this book went on my list of "never to read again" obscurity. Luckily, I threw away that list!!!
I just reread "Prisoner" and, to my absolute surprise, enjoyed it immensely. It is a provocative book, but the rape scenes weren't as outrageous as I remembered (actually, they're pretty hot). The heroine Rowena is the one who starts raping Warrick, after all. Not because she wants to, of course, but because she is the victim of her scheming brother's greed and either has to straddle manly Warrick or watch her mother die. What would you do?
To say the least, Prisoner is one of JL's more steamy romances. I think half the book takes place in bed somewhere. Rowena and Warrick are fun characters, too, both with strong, likable personalities. It's hard not to like everyone in this book. Even Gilbert, the bad guy, has redeemable traits.
My biggest criticism of "Prisoner" is how closely related plot- and character-wise it is to JL's earlier work, "So Speaks the Heart." Both are medieval romances, both have blond lovers, both revolve around the knight treating the lady like a slave because of something bad involving the lady's brother, and both deal with pregnancies. However, "Prisoner" is the better book of the two, with stronger characters and a more intriguing storyline.
I personally would recommend "Prisoner" any day as a great medieval romance. However, if it sounds like too violent a book for you, read "So Speaks the Heart" or Lindsey's other medieval novels "When Love Awaits," "Defy Not the Heart," or "Joining." If you're in the mood for time travel to the medieval period, read JL's "Until Forever," about a gorgeous Viking with a cursed sword.