Whitstable, a small seaside town in Kent, southern England, in the 1890s. Nan Astley works in her parents’ oyster parlour alongside her older sister, Alice. All the family love the music hall and it is here that Nan first encounters Kitty Butler, the woman who is to change her life. Kitty is a ‘masher’ (a pretty girl who dresses as a boy on stage) and Nan is immediately attracted to her.