Almost anything scares young Eleanor: mice, the dark, and a host of imaginary dangers. But she learns to hide her feelings – her father disapproves of fear, and she longs only to please him. She knows she will always disappoint her beautiful, socialite mother, because Eleanor is painfully shy and plain.
As a young debutante in Manhattan, she spends her days teaching needy children and touring crowded tenements. There, she makes a life-changing discovery that later enables her to redefine the role of America’s first lady – being shy doesn’t matter as long as she’s helping others.