With her father's death and absolute poverty staring her in the face Charlotte discovers her true identity going through her father's papers. Charlotte is a very wealthy woman and a Countess in her own right and also part of the huge Morland clan. Going to London to meet her mother and extended family Charlotte is thrown into a world of aristocracy and high living far beyond her understanding and for a world which she feels that she is far removed from. Although she enjoys the balls and pleasure that this immense fortune brings her, Charlotte feels that she ought to do something more with her life and moves on to the rookeries and the slums of London hoping to do something which will benefit Londoners.
Flouting convention and only able to do this because of her position and wealth Charlotte pursues her work of helping the poor much to the disgust of several members of her family. Fast forward to Charlotte almost getting married and then being forced to accept that she is being married only for her money and position - she does the unthinkable and gives up on the very handsome Fleetwood. At the same time we have the story of Fanny - also very rich, pretty and looking for love and failing miserably.
The stories of Fanny and Charlotte separate and intertwined are the focus of this book. Both are not the average girl of the times - in different ways both are courageous and different. It would not have been easy to be different during this period of time - where convention and submitting to the norm was of paramount importance. The fact that Charlotte specially was able to do what she did was most commendable.
As usual a very good book and one I thoroughly enjoyed.