Lorna Barnett is young, wealthy, and the daughter of Commodore and Levinia Barnett, the cream of society in 1895. While summering in their mansion on the lake, Mr. Barnett's elite yacht club loses its first round in a 3-year bet with a rival club. Angrily, Mr. Barnett describes his woes during an elaborate dinner. Jens Harken, the handsome young kitchen handyman, eavesdrops on the matter, and decides to slip the master of the house a note, letting him know that Jens could help him win the 2nd year's race. Jens, having been raised in a family of Norwegian sailors, has a plan. Defying traditional boatmaking, he is confident his new model will be faster than any other yachts. Commodore Barnett is outraged at the audacity of the "help" approaching him with the idea of a superior boat.
Lorna, less interested in feminine hobbies and more interested in the masculine sport of sailing, offers her assistance by getting her father to at least hear Jens out. Mr. Barnett grudgingly accepts Jens' proposal to build a winning boat, and allows him to set up shop in a large shed behind the gardens. Lorna, beguiled by Jens' good looks and good nature, begins visiting the boat shed frequently. Over the course of the summer, the two fall desperately in love, despite the clandestine meetings, the fear of wealthy eyes looking down on them, and fear of each other's intentions. Eventually, the two consumate their relationship in a heated scene in the boatshed. Losing her virginity to Jens, Lorna's love grows deeper and more desperate.
Alas, autumn approaches and the family moves back to their city mansion. Whereupon the story takes a drastic turn, as scandal and secrets threaten the family's stability in high society. Lorna and Jens are torn apart by overbearing and manipulative parents, confusion between lovers, and a sadness so deep that Lorna wishes herself dead.
This report prepared by Joanna