The Candy Candy manga is a "slice of life story" in the Shōjo genre. Candy is an abandoned orphan taken in the orphanage Pony's Home near Lake Michigan around the start of the 20th century. She spends the first years of her life at the orphanage, where she will often return to repose and decide her next course in life. Growing up she gets adopted twice, first by the Leagans who treat her poorly, and after that by a wealthy benefactor whom she does not meet until the end of the story. But he is heir to an important estate, and a relation of her first love Anthony and his cousins the Cornwell brothers. After Anthony dies, Candy gets an education in London where she meets the rebellious Terry, her second and grand love (in the words of the author Keiko Nagita/Kyoko Mizuki in the essays found on Misaki's website, "the great love that cannot bear fruit").
Circumstances seem to constantly divide the pair. Upon her return in the US, she trains and gains experience in becoming a nurse in Chicago, around the time of WWI, while Terry tries to become a Broadway actor and meets another woman, Susannah, who hopes to get between Candy and Terry. Eventually both have to make honest decisions for their own happiness while being true to themselves. And with the revelation of the identity of her guardian, Candy also discovers who her childhood hilltop prince is.