Carrie Preston is used to hard work - oldest of ten, with an incompetent mother and a drunken father, she struggles to find food for her siblings. But nothing could have prepared her for the day fate deals her family the cruellest of hands, rendering them more desperate than ever. In a harsh world, small acts of kindness can bring great hope - Eli Beckett's offer of a job at the Dragon pub promises a better future for Carrie, especially as Eli's uncle has offered his nephew some spare land to build a music room. With the great cities of England alive to the sound of music halls, the locals of Hedderby are soon looking forward to their own place of celebration and merriment. Yet not everyone in the town shares this excitement, and some will stop at nothing in the pursuit of selfish gain.