There's something to be said for extremely long novels. All that work to get into the characters pays off when you have another 900+ pages to follow their exploits. All 1,184 pages of "And Ladies of the Club" is one lovely example.
I'm about halfway through the first movement of A Dance to the Music of Time now. There are 12 novels in 4 movements, a whopping 3,000 pages in total. Voted by Time as one of the best novels of the decade, it is a detailed look at British society between the 20's and 70's. The section I'm in is all about parties, dressing for dinner and taking tea by the fire...pretty great!