Raised by a tyrannical stepfather and harassed by her cruel half-brothers, Aishlinn has grown up believing men are scoundrels. Her opinion is only confirmed when she is attacked by her employer, the Earl of Penrith, and must fight him off - and, subsequently, leaves him for dead. Fearing for her life, Aishlinn flees to the Scottish Highlands in search of safety.
Injured, starved, and alone, Aishlinn is unexpectedly rescued by a group of warriors led by a man named Duncan McEwan, future leader of the Clan MacDougall. They vow to help her and protect her from retribution from the Earl of Penrith (for they have no fondness for him), and Aishlinn must learn that there are indeed good men in the world.
I enjoyed the development of Laiden's Daughter. The first few chapters were fairly engrossing, fast-paced with a heroine who was willing to protect herself at all costs. Aishlinn endures a terrible childhood (her current situation isn't much better at the beginning of the book), but she has the potential to mature into a strong, thoughtful, self-sufficient individual.
I'll be honest, I really disliked this book. I was intrigued by the first few chapters, even if they were punctuated by grammatical mistakes and substandard storytelling, but I quickly lost interest as circumstances started to fall into place (conveniently and messily) and slogged through the rest of the book for closure.
Starting out, I rather liked Aishlinn. She had the groundwork to become a strong, dynamic heroine, which I like in my historical-romance, but Tisdale really let me down with her character development. After a while, her protests that she was no beauty felt like she was fishing for compliments and her decision-making skills were sorely lacking by the end of the book.
Furthermore, she seemed to waver between a headstrong, self-sufficient woman who learned how to farm, fight, and otherwise fend for herself and a demure, timid kitchen girl. Considering the abuse she endures at the hands of her stepfather, half-brothers, and her employer, I couldn't understand why she was so naive.
I mean, she stabs a man within the very first chapter, flees from the castle in the dead of night (even with extensive injuries), and manages to escape the country; moreover, she understands hard work, she knows how to ride a horse, and she can string a bow. She has the makings to be something great - and yet she becomes a damsel in distress waiting for her white knight to ride in on his horse and rescue her from certain danger.
I am unimpressed.
Besides which, I feel like I should point out that the story is set in 1343 in England (and Scotland, too). Historically speaking, the English and the Scottish haven't had the most stable relationship. If it wasn't Scotland inciting riots in a bid for independence, then it was England invading in an attempt to place a new monarch on the Scottish throne.
Not exactly the most peaceful relationship, right?
Right. So, one would think this chaotic political and social climate might influence Laiden's Daughter, correct? Wrong. There are no major reprisals, no political ramifications after Aishlinn stabs one of the gentry and flees to Scotland. I mean, even if no one actually liked the Earl of Penrith, wouldn't someone in significant power have decided it was a breach of political etiquette and reacted, even if for self-serving reasons?
Maybe, I'm nit-picking; maybe, I'm right. Either way, I would never read Laiden's Daughter again and I would hesitate to recommend it to anyone else.
Don't even get me started.