I've read this book many times before, and it's always stuck out in my mind as one of Julie Garwood's finest. The cover depicted is not actually the newest edition, as it has a white cover with a graceful castle on it. Not that it makes a difference on anything, but just FYI.
The Prize is set in 1066, at the time of the Norman Invasion (One of my favorite time periods for romances). Lady Nicholaa is a Saxon already legendary for the lengths that she goes to keep her castle safe from the invaders. When it does finally fall to Royce, a Baron in the king's employ, Nicholaa is taken to court, and instead of being the King's Prize to give out to a Baron, she is actually allowed to choose her *own* husband. She chooses Royce for revenge, and things snowball from there.
This is a very sweet, fairly predictable romance (aren't they all?) but the characters are what make it truly exceptional. Julie Garwood makes her heroines so naive and forthright that they're utterly hilarious to read about. Nicholaa is not a strong spitfire of a heroine, but there's no doubt in your mind that she knows how to get what she wants! I like that her heroines are very ordinary with a touch of the extraordinary.
Julie Garwood combines a mix of warm humor, storytelling, and romance in 'The Prize'. It's not a groundbreaking, unique novel, but it's more like a warm, fuzzy blanket that you can pull up over yourself and relax with. 'The Prize' is everything a romance should be! Which suits me just fine, and I suspect that if you pick up this book, you definitely will not be disappointed.