First off, it helps to have some Darkover knowledge and it helps to be a fan of the Darkover world (which I am) but you can still read this and really enjoy it. (Think watching an historical Kdrama without knowing anything about the Joseon Era) Marion Zimmer Bradley books are hot and cold. Some are good, but a lot of them are mediocre. Stormqueen is one of the best books she ever wrote. Great love story. I am not a fan of the book cover but the book itself is very good fantasy read. And let's face it, good fantasy is tough to find.
Note - women's rights are going to progress markedly towards the positive as you progress through Darkover books. Stormqueen is very early Darkover and you may be turned off by Bradley's portrayal of women in this book but it is going to get better as you read books later in the series.