The Victorian gossipmongers called them Men in Petticoats. But to young widow Mattie Stacey, they are Freddie and Ernest, her gentlemen lodgers. It is Mattie who admires their sparkling gowns, makes their extravagant hats and laughs at their stories of attending society balls dressed up as the glamorous 'Fanny' and 'Stella'. But one fateful night Fanny and Stella are arrested, and Mattie and her family are dragged into a shocking court trial, described in newspapers all over England as 'The Scandal of the Century'. Outraged, Mattie is determined to save her family from ruin, and her friends from shame and penury.