The Legend of Lady Ilena
Ilena's father dies in a village far from the one he brought his wife and daughter from years ago, his last words the only clue to her past: "Go to Dun Alyn. Find Ryaman." And so Ilena, a gifted warrior, leaves her home (the only one she has ever known)to the north of King Arthur's court and embarking on a perilous journey east to find her first home, the one she was born in.
I found this book when I was at the bookstore one day and I had just enough money to buy another relatively cheap paperback (books are expensive, you know!). I had passed over this book several times because it was in bad condition, but the heroic figure on the cover kept calling me back and eventually I bought it, read it through twice, and fell in love.
The author spent a lot of time researching the time period the book was set it, and it shows, but even more vivid are the characters, who seem to jump right off the page.