The Secret Letter

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Maggie Watson’s quiet empty-nester life is a lot less peaceful since inheriting Sedgwick Manor and the adjacent antiques shop, and she’s still not sure it suits her. To help her decide, Maggie sets out to restore an old humpback trunk. After uncovering one page of a love letter tucked inside, she definitely can’t leave town ... not until she finds out who wrote it.

In the letter, the writer—a vaudeville performer—confesses to a bank robbery. Maggie asks James Bennett for help researching, but his attitude about the trunk quickly grows dark. Is there something he’s not telling her? After someone breaks into her house and tries to steal the letter, Maggie is determined to get to the bottom of things.

In addition to playing detective, Maggie digs into the treasures of Sedgwick Manor. Enchanted by her late aunt’s Thanksgiving decorations, she resolves to make this year’s dinner a feast to remember. But as the date draws near, it seems her daughter needs to stay at school and all of her new friends in Somerset Harbor have holiday plans. Adding to her frustration, she’s at a dead end with her investigation. 

Will Maggie be able to expose the history of the letter without losing James as a friend? And to what lengths will someone in this small town go to keep the secrets of the past buried?

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.