I've finished editing the Beta 4 section. Total word count is down to 254,500. On to Beta 5.... and then we'll do this all over again.
Aside from needing to bring the word count down, preferably to under 200,000, there are other issues I need to address concerning my characters and their 18th century society; getting their mindsets, actions and reactions closer to how an 18th century person's would be, rather than a 21st century person's, is a process that takes time, a lot of thought based research, some intuition, and many (many) editing passes.
And several extra pairs of discerning eyes. I've lately had the fascinating, amusing, enlightening and utterly beneficial experience of having my characters described back to me by one of my beta readers, Lauri. In some ways they are coming across just as I'd intended, in other ways they aren't. Aside from the issues of craft that I need to polish and edit, there are areas of character development that need rethinking, recasting, or just slightly slanting in a more believable direction.
But it's getting there. "It takes a village to write a book," Lauri said to me today. Yes. Yes it does. And that makes me feel a whole lot less stuuuupid.