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Kitty Shcherbatsky starts out the novel as an eighteen-year old ready to get married. She's in love with Count Vronsky, and expects that he'll propose to her any day now.
She attends a ball with her sister-in-law, Anna Karenina.
Constantine Levin asks Kitty to marry him, and she refuses, since she's in love with Vronsky.
At the ball, Vronsky spends the entire evening looking at Anna, and ignores Kitty. She's heartbroken as she realizes that Vronsky doesn't love her.
Kitty falls ill in the wake of losing Vronsky. She travels with her mother to a German spa over the winter to recover.
While at the spa, Kitty finds a virtuous young woman named Varenka, whom she really admires.
To imitate Varenka's good works, Kitty starts visiting the poor family of an impoverished, ailing painter. The situation rapidly falls apart, though. Kitty notices that the painter's wife is acting coldly towards her, and realizes that the painter is falling for Kitty. Even though she meant to be charitable with this family, she's actually made their situation worse.
This sends Kitty into a tantrum, until she finally realizes that she can't be good by imitating Varenka, because that is, in itself, dishonest. She has to live according to her own nature.
Levin and Kitty meet up again in the countryside (Levin's estate is close to the Oblonsky's) and he asks her again to marry him. This time, she says yes.
Levin marries Kitty. The two settle down. Despite the fact that they're in love, Levin fights with Kitty all the time.
Kitty also squabbles with Miss Agatha, Levin's old housekeeper, about how to run Levin's household. She's so delightful, though, that even Miss Agatha eventually loves Kitty.
Kitty and Levin go to nurse Nicholas, Levin's dying brother. Kitty is efficient and helpful with Nicholas, which moves Levin.
Kitty tells Levin that she's pregnant.
Kitty and Levin travel to Moscow in time for the birth of their son..
Levin falls into gambling and idle living once he's away from the countryside. He meets Anna one evening and falls for her immediately. Kitty gets angry with him, but all of his bad behavior stops once she gives birth to their son, Dmitri.
Kitty, Dmitri, and Levin return to the countryside.
Kitty is aware of Levin's spiritual struggles and is sure that he shall embrace God (and Dmitri) with time.
Her patience wins out. After thinking that Kitty and Dmitri might have been injured in a sudden lightning storm, Levin affirms his love for both of them. And, presumably, they live happily ever after.