Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
I am a big fan of Jane Austen; Pride and Prejudice is my favorite book. And Mansfield Park is my second favorite Jane Austen novel. If you expect a sweet, sappy romantic novel ala Sense and Sensibility or P&P, you won't find it in Mansfield Park. It's a complex story stuffed with morality.
The heroine Fanny Price goes to live with her rich relations at Mansfield Park. This was a common practice in those times. Fanny is a shy, timid girl with a high moral code. She pales in the face of confrontation and intimidation by the majority of her relations but developed a strong friendship with her cousin Edmund. The plot is woven through Fanny's eyes, and we privy the faults of her cousins and some family friends. Fanny does eventually grow to have more confidence and be more comfortable in her situation.
Mansfield Park is the best example of social satire from Jane Austen, and I think probably the most realistic. While not at the forefront of the plot, imperialism and slavery are topics touched upon by the characters. Though most of the other characters look down upon her, Fanny is a character that anyone would feel comfortable rooting for as her beliefs are questioned and tested.
Many people struggle with the language Austen wrote in. But if you give it a chance, you'll adapt to the syntax and be pleasantly surprised by this sweet story.