Abandoned as a baby, Tom Jones is adopted by Squire Allworthy, a compassionate and wealthy widower. As he grows up, Tom's childhood affection for Sophia Western, a local landowner's daughter, deepens into love. But Sophia is intended for the malevolent Blifil who intrigues to get his rival banished.
Tom takes to the road on a picaresque journey through 18th-century England while Sophia attempts to flee her destiny. Their paths cross and uncross as they encounter adversity, misunderstandings and misadventures.
A vivid Hogarthian panorama, this is both a romance and a comedy. It is a wryly observed satire on social convention and hypocrisy, imbued with the generous humanity of its author and his ultimate belief in human goodness.