Thank you very much for your comments. The last thing I want to do is to keep the reader at arm's length. Identification or sympathy with the main character is what I want to achieve, and hope that there will be enough readers who feel these things for them to want to read on.
I have to say, though, I don't like the label "women's fiction" or "men's fiction", if it comes to that. I'd like to think that both male and female readers would read what I write and the only thing stopping them would be that it wasn't in one of the strict genres they may prefer - i.e. detective fiction, fantasy, Y.A., or whatever. Is this too idealistic?
This exercise has shown that I do have some work to do but I'm confident that I can fix the problems. I'm glad to have posted a piece of my fiction for comment, which I've never done before.