Stranger in the Looking Glass

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Maggie Watson thought she would spend the rest of her life in Vermont, living in the picturesque cottage home where she'd raised her family.  But after her husband's death three years ago and her daughter's recent departure for college, the empty nester knew it was time to start a new chapter in her life.

That chapter begins unexpectedly when Maggie inherits her aunt's nineteenth-century Colonial Revival, Sedgwick Manor, and the adjacent Carriage House Antiques shop located in the charming seaside town of Somerset Harbor, Maine.  Maggie always dreamed of owning an antiques store and discovering the stories each item has to tell.  But when she finds a photo of her aunt hidden in the backing of an old mirror, she discovers a story of mystery, danger, and the impossible.  Standing beside her aunt in the recent photo is her uncle . . . a man who died twenty years ago.

With the help of the ladies in the historical society and James Bennett, a historic preservationist and handsome bachelor, Maggie uncovers shocking secrets about her aunt's final months and her uncle's past.  As her search for clues continues, it becomes clear she isn't the only one looking for answers.

Cryptic messages of warning are left inside Sedgwick Manor, and a U.S. Marshal arrives in town asking unsettling questions.  Maggies soon realizes the mystery is more serious than she first thought - deadly serious.  She can't help but wonder if she should forget about everything, sell the property, and escape back to Vermont.

Will Maggie be able to make sense of it all before it's too late?  And is Somerset Harbor the right place to start this new chapter in her life?

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.