After learning her father is ruined, Caroline takes a position as companion to the horrible Mrs Catling. Caroline's job is comfortable - spacious accommodations, generous clothing allowance, delicious food, the opportunity to go out in society - but Mrs Catling is a vindictive, difficult and mean spirited woman and Caroline more than earns her keep. When visiting Brighton with Mrs Catling, Caroline meets Mrs Catling's niece and nephew, Matthew and Maria, who (in her opinion) are solely after her fortune, and their newly made companion, Mr Leabrook. Caroline likes Matthew (who is somewhat foolish and egotistical but not a bad sort) and the languorous Maria, but she grows particularly fond of the handsome Mr Leabrook, who is witty and charming. However, poor Caroline soon learns Mr Leabrook's true character when he propositions her to run off to become his mistress, then coldly dismisses her as conventional when she refuses. In a second blow, Caroline learns that her father has died in Bath; her estranged maternal aunt has written to inform her of their reconciliation and of his death. Caroline is dismissed from employment (without a reference!) when she declares her intention to attend her father's funeral against Mrs Catling's wishes. Caroline travels and is reconciled with her serious but kind and loving aunt and uncle, who eventually ask her to move in with them. Caroline moves to the country, meets her cousins, the Milners, and adjusts to the quiet life. She spars openly with eldest son Stephen Milner, develops an extremely close friendship with gentle Isabella and is admired by the plucky teenage Fanny for her perceived life of daring and excitement. Unfortunately, Caroline's happiness is shattered when she discovers her dearest friend Bella is engaged to no other than the awful Mr Leabrook.
I had some other stuff written but then goodreads deleted it all. Blah.