All right, guys, let's bang this out (pun intended but failing, since there is not even a romantic lead in this book yet, never mind any chicka-chicka-pow action).
Up all night riding a horse through the dark forest, not tired at all. Madeline's running on adrenaline. I'm trying to remember being that young so I can believe that, and I'm almost there. She is surprisingly cool with being in the woods in the middle of the night, though, for someone who has never been camping.
She's heading for the sea--I think that's telling. I think she's going to meet a visitor from America, a dashing, white-haired Colonel....seriously, what's gonna happen with the age thing? Remains to be seen.
But also, on the subject of the sea, if you live a two days ride from the sea, how have you only seen it once? Did your family not go on vacation like proper rich folks? HAVEN'T YOU BEEN TO BATH, MADELINE, WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOU?
Speaking of all caps when she considers going back, "her heart answered with a resounding NO." Sic. Her heart is shouty.
She's on the road "when dawn hits," as any good "simple woman" (ie no particular status, because that exists) would be.
She looks out at the sea. Would she ever have seen such a sight if she'd married Reginald? You know, if the Duke had kept her locked up in his mansion instead of traveling, because everyone knows that Dukes don't go to Bath every year to take the waters.
"Madeline had never been in love, she was too practical for that." Practical, just the word I would not use for her. Her sister "relied too heavily on the world of servants and fancy dinners." The only people who didn't have servants were servants (and some of them even did), and fancy dinners were just called dinners. I am more and more convinced that the only way this book even begins to make sense is if time travel comes into it at some point. This is Lianna's theory, and I am rooting for it so hard!
A normal town looks pretty run down to her eyes, but hey, destiny awaits! On to chapter five!
Not shabby, in fact, but charming and quaint! I really hope she sees someone without teeth or missing a limb soon before she drinks the water or she'll romanticize her way into some sort of dysentery.
Oh, here's the opportunity she's been looking for--a run down tavern! She's never been in a tavern before, but serving wench down by the docks just "feels right." Paris Hilton has just found the dive bar in which to support herself on tips, just like she's always dreamed!
Most beautiful woman she's ever seen working behind the bar. The sea air hasn't roughened her features. Also she's a redhead, and "the woman smiled with kindness" and hired her on the spot, so that's all right, then.
OMG, it's gonna be like Cheers! That would be amazing--she's the Diane character who comes in all eager to help and with her weird, upper-crust ways and....yeah, no.
But hey, it turns out that being a waitress is super easy, and the redheaded hottie is named Caoimhe, which is pronounced Keeva (Kweeva, actually, according to Wikipedia). She has a pat response about not asking her to spell it, which is interesting considering the literacy rates of barmaids in the countryside a few hundred years ago.
Do not worry, sailors on shore leave are not actually troublemakers!
The Irish don't use contractions, either, I guess.
I can't even with this writing. Boss asks, do you mind if the new girl shares a room with you? The answer, direct quote, is "I figured you'd ask me to do that, so I did not have much of a choice." Those words don't make any sense.
I am at 45% of the way into the book, and I believe we have a hero! "Madeline turned to answer the man, not quite caring for his tone, only to come face to face with the most handsome man she had ever seen." Aaaaaand chapter.
Ooh, he's tall and crusted with salt. Like a delicious margarita. And his hair is both light and fair, which must be very pale indeed.
Run on sentences, and his eyes "hid behind glasses with dark frames," which "somehow made him seem all the more handsome." I'm gonna dwell on this; I don't know when this book takes place, but when were thick black glasses invented? I'm doing a little internet research, and it really doesn't look like there were non-wire glasses before the 20th century. Certainly not big thick black ones. What would they have been made out of? Tortoiseshell would have been brown. Ebony, I guess?
Her mouth is dry, he likes what he sees, she can't figure out why this conversation is happening....
You know what? Me neither. This is AWFUL. Even posterity isn't worth this. I'm sorry, internet, I love you, but I can't do this to myself. I'm deleting this book; it is all my self restraint not to burn my poor kindle to prevent contamination.
I'm sorry I did this to you, and to me. God help us all.