Hello. A friend of mine has been going though my novel and converting everything to the simple past. I think she's wrong. By doing this, she makes me lose a layer of time. Here's one example:

My version, with the past perfect:
Merrimond looked about. How different this was from Harlan’s first wedding, celebrated in late autumn in a makeshift chapel aboard his private yacht, the yacht that he now used for manufacturing of some kind. There had been few guests, most of them business associates of his from Philadelphia. Eva Morrow, poor thing, had slipped in unaccompanied, shy and hesitant as if she were trespassing. Having led such a sheltered life, Eva must have felt overwhelmed. And now Eugenia. Tears ached in Merrimond’s eyes as Harlan’s second bride moved down the petal-strewn aisle.
Her version, with the simple past:
Merrimond looked about. How different this was from Harlan’s first wedding, celebrated in late autumn in a makeshift chapel aboard his private yacht, the yacht he now used for manufacturing of some kind. There were few guests, most of them business associates of his from Philadelphia. Eva Morrow, poor thing, slipped in unaccompanied, shy and hesitant as if she were trespassing. Having led such a sheltered life, Eva must have felt overwhelmed. And now Eugenia. Tears ached in Merrimond’s eyes as Harlan’s second bride moved down the petal-strewn aisle.

I realize that compound tenses in English may sound awkward, but there's a place for them. Today's novels want to leave them out. Am I wrong?