manndrake says: "... as she establishes herself with the man people want her to marry ..."
Who, exactly, wants her to marry Cecil? No one in particular. Her mother is willing to accept Lucy's choice though she likes Cecil less the better she knows him. Freddy doesn't like Cecil. Mr. Beebe doesn't want her to marry at all. Charlotte -- well, there's no evidence that Charlotte is in favor.
You don't have to like the book, but you are condemning it on the basis of your own faulty reading.
manndrake also says: " ... When someone sits down with a novel he is looking for a deep emotional experience, whether it is a romance or a thriller. ..."
Oh, speak for yourself. You don't get to pronounce on the motives of every person who ever sits down with a novel.