I rarely read romances because most of them are, well, so awful: poorly written, implausible, formulaic, and the literary equivalent of eating a whole box of Twinkies. Old Twinkies!
In a weak moment, I took a leap of faith with this one--especially since it's a Harlequin, which conjured up scary images of my best friend's camphor-scented nylon-and-roller-clad grandma reading them in the 70's--and fully expected to be disappointed. To my surprise (and relief), this was one satisfying read. The author has successfully created characters and an atmosphere that the reader can get wholly invested in, and I appreciated the fact that the heroine isn't simply a mere vessel or an accessory for the hero. While things in the 1100's were probably a good deal more brutish than described in the book, and I really doubt heroes as thoughtful, kind and sensitive (never mind hot) as this one existed, I appreciated this book more than enough to seek out the others in this series.
As an aside...nice cover art, too--the closely-cropped and not overly-steroidal model is a welcome departure from the norm.