A classic, but I read this in 2013, and so the contemporary (mid-'80s) part reads like history to me (blue eyeshadow? Curlers? Skinny jeans?). I preferred the medieval parts, especially the many careful details contrasting both the physical aspects--mud, blackened teeth, danger to women--and social expectations--i.e., everyone should know how to play a musical instrument, how exactly women should value themselves. This last was a good debate: Dougless "lives with" her boyfriend in the present, a boyfriend who treads all over her, and Nicholas points out that by doing that she devalues herself in the traditional-morality way and also emotionally. She doesn't have a good comeback, and neither did I, a position I found myself in more than once in this book.
Storywise, don't analyse it--it's a book you have to just ride along with. The power of Dougless's tears--and man, is she a mighty crier--is what pulls Nicholas to her time and again. That could be seen as romantic but it felt manipulative to me, like rewarding childish behavior. Also I don't favor the conceit of her appealing to God again and again, and getting an answer every time, and still insisting to herself that she has no value. Um, God apparently doesn't think so.
I loved the two lovers together, though, and watching the joy and confusion and eventual success as they crossed times. Dougless learns and grows, and Nicholas decides what is important to him. It's a very romantic book, though in modern taxonomy it might not be classified a romance, based on the ending. I would definitely call it a romance.
I'm glad I read it, and I'll go back to those historical settings again to see how she so successfully layered in all that great historical detail, using it in action or dialogue, making it part of the story.