All That Glimmers

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California gold is on Sofia Parker's mind. She has begun research on the tenth block in the heirloom quilt bequeathed to her by her grandmother along with an old family journal. Her inquiry takes her back to the gold rush of 1849 and a young woman, Adelia Long. 

Adelia and her brother, Quinton, leave their native Iowa behind, selling their meager property and belongings and gambling it all in a desperate attempt to find riches in the streams and hills of the Golden State. Along the way, they face the perils of the pioneer trail, traversing rivers, canyons and mountains. But it is the human lust for gold that brings them to the brink of disaster. 

Adelia is tracking a dangerous thief who is brazenly stealing the priceless nuggets and dust the forty-niners are scratching from the ground. Will she be able to smoke out the crook before the whole affair turns deadly? 

Meanwhile, in modern-day Cabot Falls, Vermont, Sofia is cast into her own gold-related mystery. A small bag of the mineral that has been hidden for decades amongst the contents of the estate entrusted to Sofia by her beloved Nonna has gone missing. How could someone have taken it from right under the noses of the entire Parker household? 

Suspects abound, but Sofia discovers that tracking the criminal is like following a rabbit after a heavy snow. Could it be one of her art students or the handyman visiting the home on a service call? Or is the loss of the bag of gold somehow tied to the secret contained in the quilt block? 

Sofia needs to find answers, and the trail is quickly growing as cold as an early winter in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

The Characters

Sofia Parker is a stay-at-home mom with four children. She loves to paint and she really enjoys baking confectionery masterpieces on the side. One day she hopes to combine these two talents into a business of her own. But she lacks confidence, often feeling overshadowed by her two older sisters and father -- all three hold advanced degrees in the sciences.

But as Sofia loses herself in researching the compelling stories of her ancestors -- other female guardians of the same heirloom quilt -- she begins to feel a connection with her roots ... and is filled with a whole new confidence in her personal identity and creative potential.

Jim Parker, Sofia's husband, is 42, tall, lean and has thick blond hair and blue eyes. He is a math teacher at Cabot Falls High School. He is also a kind man who loves his family and is supportive of Sofia's desire to use her creative talents and open her own business.

Elena is Sofia's late grandmother. Because Sofia's mother died when she was little, Elena was very much the maternal figure in the lives of her grandchildren. Elena surprised everyone by bequeathing the priceless heirloom trunk and quilt to Sofia. But Nonna never did anything without a reason. What old secrets did she hope Sofia would uncover?

Caterina Vasari, 17, and her mother, Vedette, are seamstresses known for their fine smocking, embroidery and beadwork. Caterina is also an aspiring artist. They live together in a house on the village square of Ponte San Vincenti just outside of Florence.

Caterina tries to bear the brunt of the intricate stitching work because her mother has advanced rheumatism. They need both of their incomes to survive, and they especially need the income from the two gowns they have been commissioned to create for Lisabetta, the daughter of the esteemed Donati family.

Caterina is secretly in love with an apprentice winemaker at the Donati's family vineyard and hopes one day to marry him.

Caterina is a direct ancestor of Sofia.

Lisabetta is 16, well-bred, strikingly gorgeous ... and miserable, because her father is forcing her to marry a repulsive nobleman. Her true love is the handsome Gianni Medici ... and Lisabetta wishes she had the courage to defy her Father.

Bertrando is Lisabetta's fiance. He's cruel, foul and more than twice her age. But he is also wealthy. Lisabetta's father is selling her into this marriage solely to shore up the family's dwindling finances.

Handsome and young, Gianni is the secret true love of Lisabetta Donati. He says he will do anything to be with her ... but does that include murder?