Like the later and more famous novel Middlemarch, Deerbrook describes the life of country people in a fictional English town. The Grey family live in one of the loveliest houses in Deerbrook, but a change in their lives is going to take place... The Ibbotson sisters, Hester and Margaret, orphaned distant cousins of Mr. Grey. Like in Jane Austen's novels, we see how the sisters are trying to advance themselves. In Victorian England, the chief way for women to "advance themselves" is to marry well. But will they succeed? And if they succeed, will they be happy?