Highland Treachery

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The priceless heirloom quilt bequeathed to Sofia Parker has already led her on several forays into the mysteries of the past, and the latest square she begins to research doesn't disappoint her. 

A swatch of Scottish tartan was sewn into the patchwork, and according to the diary accompanying it, the tartan dates back to Sofia's ancestor, Lady Isabelle Ripa, and the mid-18th Century. In the days of Bonnie Prince Charlie, the claimant to the English throne has amassed an army near Edinburgh and war is eminent. But when a close friend and advisor to the prince suddenly dies of seemingly natural causes, Lady Isabelle suspects treachery. 

Isabelle, an herbalist and healer, suspects Lord Lochmere has been poisoned. Worse, she fears the deadly concoction comes from her own store of salves and tinctures -- and that she may be under suspicion as a spy and traitor to the prince and his cause. Will she be able to solve the mystery of the murderous plot before the noose tightens around her neck? 

Back in present day Vermont, Sofia and her family are attending a Highland Games festival, and she finds herself embroiled in controversy. She is able to enter a prestigious baking contest at the games, but only after one of the entrants suddenly -- and suspiciously -- dies. Resented by the other close-knit bakers, Sofia sets out to win the contest -- and win the hearts of the other women as well. Sofia is determined to channel the courage of her Scottish ancestor and face the subterfuge that seems to plague her work at the festival. But will she be able to solve the widening mystery of treachery in the American Highlands? 

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?