A young widow, Betsy Abbot, goes to Alderney to manage a small bistro, hoping to find a way to move on from the sadness that threatens to overwhelm her life. There she meets and falls in love with a Guernsey yachtsman, Allain Laubert, but once again Betsy’s life is devastated by sudden tragedy. The Jonquil of the title is Allain’s yacht, and the story centres on the St Anne Challenge, a biennial yacht race around the island of Alderney. Allain gives Betsy new hope. Her life once again is brightened by love. But subsequent to the tragedy there are complications and misunderstandings, and Allain’s former girlfriend, Francesca, is determined to keep them apart.