I had mostly eschewed reading fantasy novels before this one, unless it was written for younger readers, such as The Chronicles of Narnia
or Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising
series. About the only exception I made for fantasy written for adults was Roger Zelazny's stuff because he didn't use the stock fantasy characters such as mages, elves, etc.
I can't recall what it was that made me pick up this book. I think it was that I had a good friend who loved fantasy and I wanted to understand what it was all about, so I bought this at the campus bookstore. And I loved it.
On the surface, it's a mostly conventional pseudo-Medieval fantasy with humans, elves and other standard fantasy races. But then Kerr threw reincarnation and destiny into the mix and captured this reader's heart. The story of Nevyn, Jill and Rhodry and how their fates intertwined across several lifetimes was good stuff. I devoured the next few books as fast as I could buy them.