Disclosure: I obtained the Kindle edition of this book when it was offered free on Amazon on 23 October 2017. I do not know the author nor have I ever had any communication with her about this book or any other matter. I am an author of adult romance fiction and general-interest non-fiction.
This book was published on 17 October 2017, six days ago. It currently has no reviews on Amazon. It ranks quite high on Kindle free downloads.
No actual publisher is listed in the limited amount of front matter on the book. There are links to a website aweber dot com that may (or may not) be a publisher of some sort.
Only 14% of this "book" actually consists of the title story The Westward Bride. The balance is other "more hot romance stories."
The Westward Bride is immediately recognizable as unprofessionally prepared because of the lack of publishing information, but also because it is poorly formatted.
Now we get to the writing. There are the obvious punctuation errors. There are the frequent changes of tense. By the second page, many more errors come to light.
American usage limits "dry goods" traditionally to fabrics, notions, and similar merchandise, distinct from groceries, even dry commodities such as flour. Molasses is not even close.
The word "disinterested" is misused; the word wanted here is "uninterested."
The story will soon be seen to be set sometime after the death of Joseph Wilson in 1879. The Panama Canal was not started until 1881, by France. After France abandoned the project, the United States picked it up in 1904 and spent the next ten years completing it.
All of that information is readily available, and there is no excuse whatsoever for any author to have got it wrong. Not in late 2017. Not in the first two pages.
Is this the kind of work Anne Rice would insist readers give four or five stars? Why? To support a small, struggling, indie writer? How do we even know that's the kind of person who wrote it? It's bad writing. It's bad publishing. Even if Rice's objective is to support writers and publishers and the hell with the readers, how would support of this kind of garbage help anyone?
As a writer of romances, I can't give this book a negative review on Amazon, per both Amazon's guidelines and Federal Trade Commission regulations. Even if I were to identify myself as a romance writer, it's still against the rules for me to post a negative review of my competition on a commercial site.
Now, you may be wondering what's in it for the author of this drivel, if the book is free. Here's the listing the day after I downloaded it.
The price is now $3.99, and maybe some people will pay that much for it, netting the author somewhere around $2.50 for each copy sold. It's much more likely, however, that sales will come through Kindle Unlimited, where the author gets paid by the number of pages read. Whether it's one page or 200, the author gets paid for each one on KU.
And there are dozens of these crappy books out there. Some feature a Highlander main story, or a Regency, or a medieval, but the format is the same. All poorly written, all poorly formatted.
Anne Rice would have us say nothing.
I guess she wants to raise up generations of readers who have no appreciation for good writing, who can't tell the difference between what a "real" book looks like and garbage.
But, hey, Anne, just keep calling me a thug reviewer. I'll wear the title as a badge of honor.