Now, the goods news: L has emailed me, and he liked it!! I thought I'd post the email here for you, because, hey, I'm happy!
Just to let you know that I have read your Chapter 1 and am very impressed with the verve and vitality of the writing. You have a voice, which is the absolutely essential component of writing talent - the rest can be learned. I liked your story because it appeals so strongly to the heart, and does not let up in that respect. I imagine the ongoing story will reveal the domestic and family environment history that Imogen and Abby have lost, as well as showing how the two evolve in their relationship with Ella's new adoptive family [with all its crossflows and undercurrents]. I have the impression of a book which tells of a tragedy and explores the courage and spirit of a teenage girl/young woman who has yet to come to terms with what has happened. A see-sawing perhaps between two family environments - the one lost, the other found, and the search for a point of balance. There is bags of room here for development, and there seems to be a strong gestalt. You should definitely have faith in your writing.
With best wishes
He also put a PS saying he'd be happy to read some more, so I'm planning on printing off the next couple of chapters for him when I go back to school after study leave.
Right, off to edit some more now - 15 chapters to go!