Fanny Price, a precociously intelligent young woman, is sent by her impoverished parents to live with her mother's wealthy sisters and family in order to benefit from the intellectual and social education, as well as material comforts, that their status affords. Fanny, of native wit, budding writing talents and a late-blooming audacity, responds well to the new environment, despite being treated as a second-class citizen by her aunts, uncle, and cousins -- with the notable exception of cousin Edmund, with whom Fanny forms a fast and close bond, and which later blossoms into love. When the smooth con-artist brother and sister act of Henry and Mary Crawford arrive and attempt to infiltrate the Betram social circle with eyes on marital connections and thereby, inheritance, Henry begins to appreciate Fanny's understated charms, and determines that she is the woman for him. Her luster, however, is due in part to her unspoken love for Edmund, and she flatly rejects Henry's advances, which she also regards as insincere. This causes great dismay to her uncle, who subjects her to heavy interrogation and pressure to submit. In the end, Fanny cannot betray her heart, and chooses to return to the veritable slums where her family still resides by the docks of Portsmouth. It's up to Edmund to realize, for himself, his love for Fanny, and hopefully provide a happy ending to the proceedings.