Kitty Talbot needs to find a rich husband, and fast, since her impractical parents have left her with very little money,and a mountain of debt-in the tradition of several Regency romances ( ‘Frederica’, ‘A convenient marriage’ and ‘Arabella’ by Georgette Heyer have similar circumstances for the heroines).
Where this book differs, is in its exploration of the circumstances-it doesn’t gloss over what would happen to the family if Kitty isn’t able to succeed at this. Kitty might be a bit of what we would call a gold-digger, but why shouldn’t she be, really, at a time when options for gainful employment were practically non-existent for women, and while there were some iconoclasts like Jane Austen and Mary Wollstonecraft, it wasn’t viable for most women.
And even women who had successful careers on the stage, for instance, were rather looked down upon. Kitty’s sense of urgency and her constant worry are communicated very effectively, something I really appreciated about the book.