I'm back reading again, but with a wary eye. Will she do something unbelievable again? In a strange way, I now distrust the author, and the wonderful suspension of disbelief has vanished.
It's a funny thing, the contract between author and reader. We give them our time, and they give us another world for a few hours. Seems a good swap to me, and it's what I certainly want from a book, that sense of being absorbed into somewhere else, someone else.
But the relationship is fragile. A clumsy phrase can break it, a thoughtless shift in point of view, an improbability. The writer in me knows why she's done it - on a practical level she needed to shift the story to the next phase and didn't want to spend more time on the build up - but without the build-up it's improbable, and - there - she's lost me.
That's why your first three chapters need to be as perfect as possible. There must be no impediments along the way of getting the reader absorbed into your world. You want the reader to be reluctantly dragged away from the world of your book. Typos fret us. Grammatical errors do it too. The relationship is at its most fragile at the beginning.
I'll be carrying on with Esme Lennox because the improbability has come in the middle. I've already invested quite a lot of time in this relationship; I'll see it out to the end. But earlier on? That's when books get discarded.