Notes on first three chapters
Read the story now
I enjoyed the setting - time and location. the details were good, the fire the car and horses particularly.
I think you're trying to show Conroy's character through him saving the child and get us to root for him. Though his comment 'anything for a pretty face' to a child makes him more paedophile than gallant rescuer. Also the rescue is very dramatic which is generally a good thing but it's making me think the child is significant in the plot not just a device for character building. I also don't quite believe the mother's lack of reaction to her daughter nearly being crushed to death. Might be more believable if the child didn't have parents and you used another character to show the prejudice for Conroy in the first chapter.
Re Conroy's character I'd like to be in his head more - get his feelings - emotional, physical etc to this unfriendly world. If Conroy is your point of view character you need to get inside his skin. At the moment the point of view feels blurred - tending towards Conroy but sometimes wandering to other characters e.g. the mother. I done think this means huge chunks of internal monologue - just get his reactions to the events also get him to do more. The rescue is great because it shows him to be proactive but don't just rely on that. Show him doing stuff that helps us build that sympathetic picture of him that you're aiming for.
I think you can condense chapter 2 and 3 because it's mostly dialogue ( though the dialogue is good and contributes to the period setting). i like the idea of the vicar being a fake ( possibly) and his story. Though I didn't really spot any clues that might help me to come to that conclusion - not saying there weren't any just that they didn't ;come across to me. The cliffhanger for chap 3 is great.
Hope that helps!
Sorry can't leave a review without doing the stars - I hate doing this rating thing it's all very subjective and not terribly helpful