||Originally published in 1848 and subtitled A novel without a hero, Thackeray's masterpiece traces the interweaving destinies of two contrasted heroines during the period of Waterloo and its aftermath. Becky Sharp, orphan daughter of a penniless artist, is resourceful and socially ambitious; her friend Amelia Sedley, at whose comfortable Bloomsbury home Becky goes to stay when the two leave school together, is affectionate, trusting and unworldly. Thwarted in her attempt to trap into marriage Amelia's brother, the fat Anglo-Indian Jos Sedley, Becky leaves to become governess at the Hampshire home of the Crawley family, where she soon makes herself indispensable to the dissolute old baronet, Sir Pitt, and charms his younger, soldier son, Rawdon. On the death of his second wife, Sir Pitt proposes to Becky, only to find that she is already married to Rawdon. This now alienates the wealthy aunt on whose fortune Rawdon depends, and the couple are forced to live by their wits.