The Black Book of Secrets by F.E. Higgins
Ludlow runs away from his abusive drunken parents in 19th-century London, climbs onto the back of a cart, ends up in a small mountainside town with a corrupt mayor, and takes up with a pawnbroker named Joe...but not just any pawnbroker--the Secret Pawnbroker, who acts as a confessional for all the skeletons in the closets of the townspeople. Ludlow's job is to write these confessions down in the Black Book of Secrets, where they are kept forever.
This is kind of a fun little read, but the narration, alternating between first-person told by Ludlow, third-person bits of story about life in the town, and first-person confessions from various townspeople (the butcher, the baker, the bookseller...I kept waiting for a chapter on the confessions of the candle-stick-maker) got confusing. Not a bad book to be snowed in with, but not an award-winner either. Having read much better, NAY.