The Heritage Art Park Series was conceived one day when the author, San Diego resident Kathy Weyer, traveled down to Heritage Park to spend an afternoon and learn more about her city's history.
What she found was a sad state of six Victorian houses, boarded up and abandoned in a quiet horsehoe-shaped community that had once housed our first sheriff, mayor, and civic leaders when San Diego was first formed.
"What would I do," she asked, "if I were in charge?" So she turned it into an art park, and Stitches, the first book of the series, was born. In a house modeled after the Christian house (picture above), she began the adventure of Jen Conrad and the Heritage Arts Park houses. There will be one book for each house.
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The first in the Heritage Art Park series, we meet all the characters to follow in the next five books in Jen's shop, Stitches.
Raised by an imperious society mother and a superior court judge, Jen Conrad does everything exactly as expected. When her husband of 37 years dies, her best friend Renee convinces her to open a needlework shop in the new Heritage Art Park, and a group forms at the shop where Jen realizes life was not all as it seemed. She has a secret - and it's big. Not even her husband knew.
The family has always swept unpleasantries under the rug, and there are many. Enduring one too many insults from her father, Jen finally confronts her parents about The Incident, and discovers a sense of freedom - finally - to abandon the role she has played her entire life.
Canvas is the continuing story of Renee Murphy, former mayor of San Diego.
Renee is Jen Conrad's best friend since the second grade. Jen and Renee laugh through difficult moments - and there are more than a few after Renee opens up Canvas, a painting store. Renee is looking to begin the second half of her life - her first challenge is to take in an angry 15-year-old boy foster child. She wants a life like everybody else, but how can she get past a scandalous past, and is it going to destroy her future?
Ultimately what Renee wants is for someone to love her; something she's never had. Abandoned by her mother, and pursuing a relationship she could never have, Renee has never had someone to cherish her.
This is the Christian House in Heritage Park in Old Town, San Diego. It is the house I imagined Jen chose to house her shop Stitches. This graceful residence was constructed by Harfield Timberlake Christian, founder of an early San Diego abstract company.
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Pages is the story of Jade Robinson, Iris's companion for the last year of her life.
Given a great gift by Iris, Jade finds herself responsible for Iris's legacy as well as several people. Jade's history comes to light, and it isn't pretty. She is hiding from people from whom she stole a great deal in her former life. Can she stop running long enough to trust others and begin a new, a real, life for herself?
Jade finds a new purpose through Iris's machinations from the grave.