Liverpool, 1921. It was the year lively Kate Fowler rebelled against working in her hated father's chip shop and, with her gentle sister Jenny, left his brutal house forever. For this was the Jazz Age - and Kate and Jenny revelled in their freedom and in dancing until dawn, until romance changed the tempo of their lives.
For Kate, it was Charlie, a man as strong and warm-hearted as herself. For Jenny, it was Nils, the Norwegian navigator, who shared a brief, bittersweet affair with her before tragically disappearing from her life. And while Kate and Charlie together face the bad times that are coming, Jenny looks set to repeat the tragic pattern of her mother's life.