I'm immediately feeling an infinity with the main characters. I too got lost along that coastline several years ago when an incident at home meant that instead of being the passenger of the car driving us down to the south coast, I ended up being the driver. Let's not go into details but just say that my husband will never, ever be allowed to try and 'fix the roof of the shed' singlehanded on the day before a family weekend away. One emergency paramedic visit later and dosed up on painkillers and anti spasmodic medicine to try and relieve the muscles in his back, I was unexpectedly promoted from co-driver to 'person responsible for getting us to the south coast and back'. With no sense of direction, no Sat Nav (they weren't available to your average family back then!) two squabbling kids in the back seat and a husband who had fallen asleep due to all the medication in his system, it was hardly surprising that I drove all the way, parked up in a sea front car park in a wonderfully triumphant manner, woke up husband with a 'ta dah! we're here!' comment only to be told we weren't in Eastbourne, but Hastings.
So, you see, after just a few pages, I'm already sympathetic to them. I love the way that all these years since it was written, the circumstances behind their initial misfortune is still being played out nowadays. So many stories of people typing the wrong name into a sat-nav and ending up at the wrong end of the country without realising it - technology may be here but the same old mistakes are still being made!
It's been a while since I've read a book from this era, I've been avidly reading mysteries and psychological thrillers recently so this is a huge culture shock but it's good to shake things up a bit and it's really obvious how much styles have changed over the years. Jane Austen certainly did love her commas and long sentences!
So, even though it's given me flashbacks and stirred up the whole family joke of my awful sense of direction, I think I'm going to enjoy it.