Well, we’re at the finale of a book that, for some reason, has left us with the following batshit insane questions:
- In what capacity can you actually include Kentucky Fried Chicken, the fast food chain, in a romance novel?
- Does Colonel Sanders, as in the KFC Colonel Sanders, fuck?
Seriously, please pause and reflect on how there is a really real book published by a fast food chain that makes us ask these questions about its product and mascot.
Tender Wings of Desire: Chapter 8
In the harsh light of morning, Madeline expected to feel mortified, but instead she felt rather pleasant. […] She half expected Harland to be gone [and] as she opened her eyes and realized that she was alone in her bed, it seemed as though her expectations were coming true […] She had expected, in a way, to be spoiled, but she did not feel that way at all. She simply felt like a woman who had lived through an experience, an enjoyable one.
…so I guess, canonically, KFC wants us to know that Colonel Sanders fucks.
I mean, of course it’s merely implied, but when the end result is as ridiculous as this…
Her lips were chapped, but it was merely a delightful reminder of his kisses the night before.
…who among us can complain? “Kisses.” Uh huh. Sure.
Madeline reflects on how the only sense of regret she feels is instead that she wished she’d gotten to know him better. But then it turns out he didn’t really leave! Harland was just sitting in a chair in the corner of the room, waiting for her to wake up. That’s not weird at all?
He grinned. […] “I just want to be seeing more of you, every day, for the foreseeable future.”
Madeline blushed brightly but turned to meet his gaze. As much as she believed that she was some liberated woman who could take a lover and then leave him without caring, she was happy to hear that this one was going to stay.
This is what happens when a corporate fast food chain writes a period piece romance novel as a PR stunt but also has to seem vaguely progressive about it.
Madeline sneaks Harland out of the house, sharing a final kiss and promising to see each other again before he departs. Madeline totally isn’t getting ahead of herself.
She wished that she could write and tell Victoria that she finally understood her younger sister’s preoccupation with love.
I mean, I figured that KFC wasn’t gonna make Colonel Sanders a fuckboy (there’s a sentence I actually had to fucking write) for the sake of a steamy romance goof, but can we pause to reflect that “woman writes to her younger sister about how in love she is with a dude she hooked up with once” isn’t really a less weird option?
Oh, if only Victoria could have the luxury of finding it for herself! It did not need to be with some high-ranking member of the gentry. Love wasn’t supposed to trap a woman into a life of dully planning parties and wearing beautiful dresses all the time. Love could be anything.
“Love could be anything” as is evidenced by this book where the KFC mascot is an old-timey sailor who fucks.
However, Caoimhe isn’t fooled for a second and catches Madeline on her way back to her room. Thankfully, she isn’t judgmental about it, they just have a cup of tea and a heart to heart, where we learn more about Caoimhe’s backstory. I guess I applaud KFC for kinda trying to write an actual story, but it’s a little underwhelming to 1) get a minor character’s backstory, 2) that’s so cliche you already know what it is without me summarizing it, 3) in the penultimate chapter of the novella, 4) after the main character has finally gotten together with the romantic lead, 5) who is Colonel Sanders from KFC.
Things continue to go well for Madeline and Harland, and a month and a half later, Madeline even grows accustomed to her new life working at the pub with Caoimhe and Carson. Then, one day, Liam admits to Madeline that he got a letter that he’s been hiding from her. Madeline sports a seal and panics, but notices that it’s not her family’s seal.
The book does not explain why Liam assumed this was Madeline’s mail, but this is a romance novella written by KFC so maybe even that’s just too high a bar.
Madeline’s curiosity is too much and she reads the mail anyway.
I do hope that this finds you well. After all these years I never believed that I would actually be able to find you. How long has it been? I know that you still write to Mother […] I write to you with a request […] I need you to come home, Harland.
AT LAST, SOME ANSWERS ABOUT WHY COLONEL FUCKING SANDERS IS IN THIS PERIOD ROMANCE.
How often does a man build an empire with his bare hands only to abandon it?
Wait. Empire? Does the Kentucky Fried Chicken fast food chain exist in this novella… as “an empire”?
The hills of Kentucky miss you
I think it’s time for you to put aside your childish sailing and come back to take up the mantle of Colonel Sanders.
Madeline finds this all quite a lot to take in too.
Harland. Her Harland was the owner of an empire?
Albeit for different reasons than I’m finding this quite a lot to take in.
A member of the American gentry?
Ok, calm down, KFC.
Harland was the very thing she had been running from, wasn’t he? She had told him everything. Why hadn’t he told her? He had kept such a huge secret from her […] Was she just a lark to him?
Or worse, was he grooming her to be a wife?
Madeline confronts Harland.
“Madeline,” he said again to her softly.
“Colonel,” she replied, her voice touched with ice
There really isn’t anything I can say that would make this any funnier than it already is.
The wind had whipped Harland’s fair hair around his face, blowing against his beautifully sculpted cheekbones and glasses.
Harland insists he was going to tell her when the time was right.
“Yes, I’m a Colonel. Yes, I’m fabulously rich. I am a magnate of the restaurant industry, my dear, the king of an empire”
Seriously, calm down, KFC. You sell salty chicken. Get over yourselves.
Harland explains that he took a break from his duties “in order to see the world, see what else could possibly be out there, and on the course of my journey I found what I was looking for.” Madeline finds herself touched by the sentiment, but points out that lying to her wasn’t the solution. He admits she’s right, but also tells her that he’d give it all up for her. Madeline goes back and forth a bit on whether she can go along with it, because we’re at the dramatic climax here.
Moments stretched between them like years, like decades, until with a final cry she began to run into his waiting arms.
So, uh, that’s how KFC totally naturally worked its way into the plot of this romance novel, apparently.
We learn that Madeline did indeed get back in touch with her family, and that Victoria did indeed end up with Reginald. You probably figured out that was the ending during the first post about this book. It’s not rocket science.