Framed for Life

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With her beloved daughter's birthday fast approaching, Maggie Watson is combing the rooms of Sedgwick Manor and her shop, Carriage House Antiques, for the perfect gift. After her daughter's departure for college and Maggie's move to the idyllic coastal town of Somerset Harbor, Maine, Maggie has had to adjust to a life spent apart from her sweet Emily, but she's grateful for the blessings she's received in her new home. 

While exploring the antiques shop's wares, Maggie discovers something peculiar: an old photograph of a stranger posed in front of an eerily familiar backdrop. Maggie sets out to investigate the present-day setting, and finds that the picture was taken in one of the unused rooms on the second floor of Sedgwick Manor. After visiting that room, Maggie can't shake the feeling that some terrible memory is associated with the space. 

What is it about the glaring eyes and sharp beaks of the carved wooden owls on the mantelpiece in the room that unsettles her? Maggie tries again and again to remember, but fails to capture the meaning behind the dread she feels . . . or the mysterious, faint cry of a child that isn't there.

As Maggie struggles to make sense of it, she must also contend with Jennifer, a tourist who stops by the Carriage House and injures herself crossing the slippery wooden footbridge on Maggie's property. Maggie takes her in so she can recuperate from her fall, but Maggie soon learns that the woman has a secret: a secret about her family's past that includes an unknown connection to Somerset Harbor and Sedgwick Manor. Maggie decides to investigate, but when frightening things start to happen at the manor, she begins to fear that the secret of Jennifer's family history might be best kept locked away.

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.