I heard quite a bit of buzz about this series being very similar to some of Julie Garwood's early medieval novels. Since those are some of my favorite books, of course I had to read these. While I would agree there's much about this book that's reminiscent of early Garwood, there are also many differences. I felt like a lot of the humor from Garwood was missing. About halfway through the novel I stopped comparing the two and took this book on it's own merits. Once I did that I really fell into the story.Both Mairin and Ewan were very well written. Mairin is young and innocent, but she isn't stupid. She knows she must marry a strong man with a large fighting force, because he'll forever be defending her land and dowry. She'd been working with the abbess to find an acceptable husband, but hadn't settled on one when she was abducted. I liked that she wasn't silly or naive, thinking she'd hold out for love. She just wanted a place she could call her own, with a man who would protect her, her future children and offer her respect. Her practicality appealed to me. I think too often romance novels focus too much on the word love. The angst the couple goes through over one or the other of them not saying that four letter word can be kind of over the top. Banks did an excellent job of showing us that they were falling in love, instead of just having them obsess over the other not saying it.