Bride and Seek

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Carriage House Antiques owner Maggie Watson often discovers unique antiques in unexpected fashion, but her latest find could be her most surprising yet. While searching for her playful cat, Snickers, in an upstairs bedroom, she happens upon an exquisite 1920s wedding dress forgotten in a closet corner. Apparently never worn, the custom designer gown unfolds more questions than it answers. What is this gorgeous creation doing in Sedgwick Manor? Why did the intended bride never wear it? And why is the matching veil torn from bottom to top?

Convinced the dress has family significance, Maggie showcases it in her antiques shop's window in the hopes that someone will unravel its history. Now, practically everybody in Somerset Harbor, Maine, is sharing off-the-cuff notions about what Maggie should do with this mysterious garment, ”including some newcomers with rough-hewn personalities that rub her the wrong way. The new residents may be cut from very different cloth, but they share a common thread: Each of them is needling Maggie to give away the gown.

As it turns out, the dress is a temptation tailor-made for theft. Within days of its discovery, the gown disappears from the shop. The burglar leaves little trace, and the floor-length list of suspects has Maggie wound tight. Thinly veiled threats, suspicious notes, and shifty behavior become the norm in close-knit Somerset Harbor, and Maggie can't help but feel as though even those closest to her are withholding facts. Her attempt to gather information about the flapper-style frock is fraught with danger, and after more than one perilous encounter, her nerves are frayed.

Will this crime of fashion have dire consequences, or can Maggie pin down the culprit before everything comes apart at the seams?

The Characters

Maggie Watson is 44 years old. She has lived in the beautiful town of Bennington, Vermont, most of her life with her husband, Richard, who was a successful professor of archeology at a nearby university. Together, they built a loving home and raised their daughter, Emily. And then, three years ago, Richard suddenly died. Maggie had thought they'd spend the rest of their lives growing old together in their cozy New England cottage. But with Richard's passing, Maggie's life changed in ways she never anticipated. And now with Emily off at college, Maggie still isn't sure quite how she fits into this new, lonely phase of her life.

Then, when she unexpectedly inherits Sedgwick Manor -- her aunt's 19th-century colonial mansion -- and the adjacent Carriage House Antiques shop, she wonders if this is the change she needs to move forward with her life. So, on a chilly day in mid-September, Maggie and her equally curious cat, Snickers, head to the small seaside village of Somerset Harbor, Maine, and begin an adventure that will change their lives.

June has run the Carriage House Antiques shop for over 10 years and was a close friend and confidant of Maggie's late aunt. She's outgoing and witty, and she has a natural talent for decorating with antique furnishings. Maggie loves June's enthusiastic spirit and caring nature, warming up to her immediately. It's no surprise that June soon becomes Maggie's best friend and "partner in crime" as they dig into the mysteries of Sedgwick Manor.

Maggie's daughter is warm and friendly with a big, bright smile. She's always been close to her mother -- even more so since her father died three years ago. But now she has left Maggie in order to study nursing at St. Joseph's College in Maine. Maggie understands that Emily needs space to spread her wings and become the independent, responsible young woman she raised her to be, but she still misses her daughter.

An avid quilter, Ruth is the president of the Somerset Harbor Historical Society. She extends a warm welcome to Maggie and invites her into this small group of friendly women. Maggie takes an immediate liking to her. Ruth offers to help Maggie solve the mysteries of the antique pieces found in Sedgwick Manor. She has lived in Somerset Harbor her entire life and always seems to know the buzz around town. Ruth knew Maggie's aunt Evelyn very well, and Maggie can't help but wonder if Ruth might also know Evelyn's secrets.