As much as I love Victorian literature I was having difficulty with this book throughout the first section. After discussing the matter with another reader, I approached the book as though it was written by a French author such as Victor Hugo, instead of an English author. After that mental adjustment on my part, the book was much easier to flow through -- until near the end, when I thought my brain was full and I wouldn't be able to continue. Luckily, I pushed on to the end and then, I didn't want it to be over! So yes, I had a couple of rough patches, stops and starts, however, I highly recommend this book. Particularly if you have any interest in the history of Judaism pre-1900.