4 out of 5 Hearts
Laiden’s Daughter is a historical romance about a young woman who after losing her mother must endure the abuse of her stepfather and brothers. Her brothers sell her to a tyrannical earl. This man is quite sadistic and Aishlinn experiences his evil nature when he calls her to his chamber, but puts an end to her torture when the earl becomes distracted. She uses his own weapon against him and flees to avoid being caught. A guard helps her to escape. As she runs toward the Highlands, she encounters a band of men. Startled, she falls off her horse and the Highlanders take her under their wing.
Duncan, the eventual laird of Clan MacDougall, accepts the responsibility of caring for Aislinn. When he takes her to his home giving her time to heal, a relationship develops between the two. But with Aishlinn’s poor self-esteem due to years of mental abuse, coupled with Duncan’s conscience, the two have many obstacles to overcome in order to find the love and acceptance for which they both long.
Tisdale paints a vivid portrait of the earl and his guard as horrific, evil abusers. Therefore, when Aishlinn has any dealings with these men, the reader has much sympathy for the young woman. The compassion that Tisdale builds in the reader for her main character, Aishlinn, drives the story. Duncan’s character, as the noble protector and ever-patient suitor, creates great romantic scenes between Aishlinn and him. The chemistry is sustained throughout the novel, however, Aishlinn’s poor self-image and lack of confidence did make me cringe towards the end. I wanted her to get over it. Perhaps her self-talk distracted me. Aishlinn doubts her beauty, her worth, her station in life, her intelligence, and even her love for Duncan, which is understandable considering her past. Her uncertainty seemed reasonable through half the book, but somewhere towards the end it grated on me.
Yet, by the end of the book, she makes a remarkable transition to a confident, if not a bit overly so, woman.
Duncan, the book’s male protagonist, is a lovable man, albeit he sometimes is a bit too altruistic. His intentions remain outwardly honorable towards Aishlinn even though his thoughts about her are not. You can’t help but love him. He’s the strong, alpha male, with a great deal of patience, kindness, and compassion for those around him. I wish he’d had a few flaws to give him more depth. He felt a bit too good to be true sometimes, but I think this is a reader preference. I like my characters to be human, with good and bad traits. As far as attractive, lovable, and desirable men go, though, he fits the bill!
I enjoyed the plot and a few minor twists here and there, but most were predictable; that is the way of romance novels. That’s why we read them. We want the boy to get the girl and live happily-ever-after.
Several stylistic issues and grammar issues popped up but nothing as bad as to ruin the story. It’s very hard for Indie writers to find and pay for editors, so with a sympathetic heart, I tend to overlook minor mistakes. After all, I have found so many similar errors in the big publishers’ books; I don’t blink anymore when I find them in the self-publishers’. We seem as readers eager to overlook the Nora Roberts, Stephen King, and J.K. Rowling’s errors, so I think I can give the same courtesy to the self-publishers, providing there are not so many it disrupts my reading.
Overall, I enjoyed the plot, the characters, and the ending. I will pick up the next in the series, as I am a fan of historic romance, especially ones with Highlanders or Irishmen in them! Plus, at .99, it was a great bang for less than a buck!