Author: Lea Wait
Series: Mainely Needlepoint, #5
The Mainely Needlepointers in Haven Harbor, Maine have the custom work they do, and their love of Maine, in common, but not much else. Sarah Byrne, for example, is a young antiques dealer who was born in Australia. She’s never told anyone, even her best friend, Angie Curtis, how she ended up living on the coast of Maine. Tightening the Threads is Sarah’s story; how she searched for family connections on three continents, and finally found the ties she longed for. But ... has she? Her secret connection with a famous (and wealthy) family of artists is going to be revealed. But family dynamics can be delicate ... and deadly.
Ted Lawrence looked around the table.
“I’ve been around this planet long enough to know that speakers often have to choose whether to announce the good news or the bad news first. Tonight I have some of each. But before I start, I want you to know I’ve thought through what I’m going to say, and I’ve made my decisions. This is not a weekend to negotiate with any part of life. It’s a weekend to celebrate family, and the past, and think a little about the future.”
“Oh, shit,” his son Silas whispered. “What does he want?”
“First, the good news. You’ve all met Sarah Byrne tonight. You’ve complemented her on her chowder. And some of you have wondered what a young Australian woman is doing in our home in Haven Harbor. Well,” he smiled down at Sarah, whose hands were clasped tightly together in her lap, “It turns out that my father, your grandfather, had an adventure when he was serving in London during World War II. He and a young English woman fell in love, and she had a child. I’m sure you’d like to know more details, and we have the weekend to explain this whole amazing story, but Sarah’s father was my half-brother. A brother I never had the privilege of knowing. But I’m very happy to now know his daughter. Sarah is my niece and, yes, Abbie and Luke and Michael, she’s your cousin.”
“A story is all well and good, but what proof do we have that this woman isn’t just conning you?” Michael interrupted. “She doesn’t look like us. Hell, she doesn’t even sound like us. What right has she to pop up in Haven Harbor and claim she’s a member of our family?”
I glanced around the table.
Silas’s hands were clenched. Abbie looked furious. Jeremy was flushed. Luke drained his fresh glass of champagne.
Patrick refilled it.
Ted wasn’t finished. Ignoring Michael’s outburst, he continued.
“As I said, we can get into the particulars of Sarah’s story, and her journey to find us, later this weekend. But for now, just know I believe with all my heart that Sarah is my niece. And that, because I knew questions would be asked about such an amazing story, I convinced her that we should have DNA tests. And, yes, they proved that, despite her name and accent, Sarah is a Lawrence. I might add, during the few months I’ve known her she’s more than proven herself worthy of our family. Sarah,” he raised his glass, “I drink to you, and officially, in the presence of my children, welcome you to our family.”
No one else said anything. Then Jeremy also stood and raised his glass. “To Sarah.”
The others followed, slowly.
So far this was not going as well as I’d hoped.
Ted motioned everyone to sit. “Sarah, as you’ve probably guessed, knew I was bringing you all together and was going to introduce her to you. But I have several other announcements no one knows about.”
Jeremy sat up straight.
Luke and Abbie glanced at each other. Silas and Michael finished their latest glasses of champagne. Sarah looked puzzled as Patrick continued filling glasses.
“My second announcement, although it shouldn’t come as a shock to any of you, considering that we’ve just eaten a good part of my seventy-fifth birthday cake, is that I’m dying.”
USA Today best-selling author and Agatha finalist Lea Wait writes both the Mainely Needlepoint and Shadows Antique Print mystery series, as well as historical novels for ages 8 and up set in nineteenth century Maine. Her love of history, Maine, and family is reflected in all her writing. As a single parent she adopted four daughters from Asia; now they’re grown, and she’s married to artist Bob Thomas and lives on the coast of Maine, where she loves rowing on a nearby river, drinking champagne, and solving (fictional) mysteries. For more information about Lea, see her website, www.leawait.com, friend her on Goodreads and Facebook, and write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org to be on her mailing list.