Decadent Deceit

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When Sofia Parker volunteered to use her artistic talents to help create props for her son's school play, she didn't expect to find herself in the middle of a mystery. But that's exactly what happens when someone tries to sabotage the production, and things take a dangerous turn for the star of the show. The play's tyrannical director is of little help getting to the bottom of it, refusing to see what is really happening and alienating everyone with an overbearing attitude fit for a queen. To make matters worse, she appears to have it in for Sofia.

At the same time, Sofia is busy researching the second square in her family's prized heirloom quilt. Recently named as the next guardian of the antique cassone that houses the priceless quilt and the old diary that accompanies it, Sofia is determined to learn the true history behind each swatch.

According to the diary, her ancestor Cerise Belanger served in the court of Marie Antoinette, and a fabric swatch stitched in the quilt came directly from the royal court of France in 1789. Much like Sofia, Cerise finds herself in the middle of a mystery involving the often-tyrannical queen, certain nobles who reside at the Palace of Versailles ... and murder. 

But Cerise has an agenda of her own. She must find a way to stay out of harm's way, remain in the queen's favor, and fulfill her dying father's wishes all while still being true to her own heart. Will Cerise's story inspire in Sofia the courage she needs to deal with the tyranny in her own life? Join Sofia and her good friends of the Pinot Painters artist group as they set out to solve the mysteries of the present and the past, and make a heartwarming discovery along the way. 

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?