I expected I would like this better than "War & Peace" because it is about personal relationships rather than the broad sweep of history. In this I was right. I also picked it up because a friend was interested in reading it as well.
Reading this has been like swimming in a lake. As you swim you feel your legs kicking through patches of water, some warmer, some colder. The book is so big that some of the patches inevitably are colder or dull, while some are warmer or more interesting.
I thought there was indeed a lot of great writing in this book. I mean particularly the descriptions of people's psychological states. On the other hand, I found the discussions of 1800's Russian farm policy and practice less engaging, although I will admit I thought it was used to in part continue the characterization of Levin.
As far as the ending goes, I didn't feel the necessity of her suicide or of Levin's conversion. I think on the whole I'm just not a Tolstoy kind of guy. Sorry if that's not terribly interesting review reading.