I loved the Effie character too. It was sad to read about her for much of the book but she came around to the self realization you mention in the end though the last page indicates a less than perfect ending for her. Earlier...
Effie drew her hand away from his suddenly and when he lifted his eyebrows
"I don't like my hand held just because somebody's thrilled over music or a sunset," she whispered.
"You want it to be sheer lust, eh?" he accused her, shocked.
Some favorite quotes, here some wonderful prose and a bit of self reflection for the Readers too I think, "...in the reading rooms of the Forty-second street library countless persons absorbed in books (why absorbed? What do they read? Why do they read it?) look up and away; what sentence stirred what memories so that interlacing thoughts float through glass and steel to faraway, to places you will never know, dwell familiarly on faces you will never see." I felt that way by the end about 1930's NYC and the characters who became quite familiar.