Where Summer Never Comes

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Jim Parker has always been a rock. On that his wife Sofia has comes to rely. But when Jim is assaulted at the school where he teaches and then is suspected of grade fixing, Sofia and her Pinot Painter friends must spring into action to save his reputation.

Sofia is, for once, also teaching at the Cabot Falls, Vermont, high school, a two-week stint in the home economics classroom instructing students in the fine art of cake decorating and candy making. It will provide a perfect cover as she surreptitiously hunts for clues that will help clear Jim’s name. Sofia is sure Jim is innocent, but when Jim is suspended from his job, the situation becomes desperate. 

Meanwhile, Sofia is researching the eleventh block from the heirloom quilt bequeathed to her by her beloved grandmother. The clues indicate that the block may be connected with Charlotte Brontë, the famous author of Jane Eyre.

But Charlotte lived out her life in northern England and had no apparent connection with Italy, the land of Sofia’s ancestors. Is there a problem in Sofia’s translation of the cryptic passages dealing with the paisley square?

Sofia moves through the week, shifting from mystery to mystery, hoping to save her husband’s job while unraveling the tenuous thread that pulls her toward the Brontë family and the place where summer never comes.

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?