After receiving the same feedback on the story from several different people, I’ve decided to give in and produce a revised edition. The main thing people have said is ‘I like the historical parts but the modern ones aren’t so interesting’, so they’ll have to go. I was trying to be too clever when I wrote the story and it seems that didn’t really work.
Normally I would just say it is what it is and leave it alone, but I’m intending to write at least a couple of prequels with Uncle Howard and at least one sequel, so revising this one to fit better with those books makes sense. It probably won’t take more than a couple of weeks as most of the work is to remove the present-day sections and turn the journal sections into a narrative form. I’ll also be expanding some sections and adding a few odds and ends.
I’m not unpublishing the current version, so if you buy it today it might be a valuable and rare first edition some time in the future :).
The main thing I’ve learned from this is to trust your beta readers. I should have removed the present-day sections when they said to do so, and should have known it was the right thing to do because I could never quite get the opening to work.