This is well on its way to being a DNF. I've just reached the point where Cassandra is going to read the fairy tale on the airplane, and I'm like WTF?
(Shades of Marguerite Henry's Born to Trot.)
There are two things bothering me to the point of wanting to quit.
First, Cassandra is almost 40 years old, but she acts like a lovelorn teenager. Something happened to her marriage, so she went back to live with her grandmother and sell antiques, and she forgot all about art history, yada yada. Um, no. Not believable.
Second, and far more important -- I can't stand Nell. I know she's already dead at this point, other than in the incessant flashbacks, but I still can't stand her.
I have several people in my real life who have had experiences somewhat similar to Nell's, in that they were raised by people not their natural birth parents. With only one exception, they are grateful to have been raised with love. They acknowledge what sacrifices were made by all parties, and they know that whether they know who their birth parents are or not, they are still complete and whole individuals.
The one who is an exception remains bitter and resentful and not a very nice person. I don't like him, and I don't like Nell, for the same reasons.
And when it comes to HEA endings, yes, damn it, I DO expect that the characters who have earned happiness get it. I have enough "life's a bitch" in real life, and I'm not going to pay good money and spend hours of my time to get more of the same.
I'm skipping to the end of this book, and if it's another Thorn Birds, that's it. I'm done. DNF, no stars.