She could be mistress of Mansfield Park. But is that what she wants?
An unwanted child—conceived in circumstances her mother would rather forget—Dorothea Henrietta Rose grows up solitary and neglected with her dissatisfied mother and unpleasant great-aunt Norris. Raised without the knowledge that her mother is her mother or that their occasional visitor, Sir Thomas Bertram, is her grandfather, she is forbidden ever to set foot in Mansfield Park.
Dorothea hopes for a happier life when sent away to school, but her difficulties are not over. She is obliged to make her way in the world as a governess and, thus, encounters human frailty, hypocrisy, good, and evil in her travels throughout England.
She meets the Crawfords—Henry and Mary (now Lady Drumroth)—and inevitably does the one thing she must not do: unwillingly makes herself known to the inhabitants of Mansfield Park.