Tipping the Velvet is about lesbian love in the late 1800s. Nancy Astley seems like any other young girl living by the sea, helping in her family's oyster restaurant and going to the occasional live show.
Then she sees Kitty Butler on stage and becomes besotted by her and moves to London to be her dresser and hopefully lover. Kitty eventually breaks her heart and Nancy becomes a renter and then meets Diana and so on and so on.
Nancy seems to be able to be everything to the person she is currently with. She is like a chameleon. Life is a stage to her. She must learn to love the 'right' person.
I was amazed at the latitude of acceptance of the 'tom' in this period.
Warning: There are lesbian love scenes depicted in this book.