If it hadn't been for the CollegeStudent's 2009 Challenge, I probably would not have read this book for another 10+ years, when I might have chanced upon it in a small used bookstore in a no-name town and bought it because of the title. Having the same obscure name as the main character was a little disconcerting at first, though finally nice to know the feeling of reading one's own name as a character, and more so when it seemed as though our personalities were the same.
Thankfully, that is where the similarities end. Shelved under fiction, since I wouldn't call it literature and wasn't light in subject enough to be diverting, it is a story that seems to slowly drag you under it's spell of middle-class families in northern England's industrial towns at the turn of the Victorian era, while at the same time never really saying or doing anything (much like this review). An easy read that leaves you nearly as distempered as Joel Barforth: needing to know what will happen to them.
Up to the last 10 pages, I thought I would be left wondering about the characters that I would need to read the other two books in the series to find out...much to my pocketbook's delight, I am contempt to let them remain as they ended.