A Novel - Inside the Hatboxes by RC Marlen

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Inside the Hatboxes

The Drugstore

Tangled Threads

Drop of Fire



Unbeknownst II

POCKET in the Waistcoat



Get ready to ride the twists and turns of Inside the Hatboxes when you meet the two families, the Bartletts and Scagliones. They lived in St. Louis during 1932-1950, a time filled with historical events - kidnappings of 1932, the Dust Bowl, WW II - which are woven into the plot.
Inadvertently, Tony Scaglione kidnapped a two-year-old child and eighteen years will pass before anyone knows that the child was the Bartletts' daughter. During those years the plot winds through their lives and angonizes the reader as it brings the two families together and entwines them in relationships that lead all the characters on a terrible journey to a surprise ending.

John Bartlett is a father of five and a pharmacist with a drugstore located in a declining neighborhood. Through his daily work, you witness his patient disposition and watch as he passes love and kindness to all people who walk into his drugstore. To his family and other children, he continually teaches ideals and goodness. In many scenes it becomes apparent that he believes life is learning, work is good, honesty is the best policy, and there is a solution to any problem.

Tony Scaglione is a fearless fire fighter. He is a good fireman because he has spontaneity and makes decisions quickly. But these characteristics also allow him to drive away with a little girl that he finds on the same night that his own daughter died. Years later, when passing time with his daughter, he tells of scenes from his childhood - moments he remembers spending with his Italian grandfather who raised him. Tony is a devoted husband and father, besides a courageous fire fighter.

Claire Scaglione, Tony's wife, is a carefree fun loving woman until several events send fear into her life - the death of her fourteen month old daughter, the stalking and blackmail of a taxi driver that leads to rape and repeated abuse, and the violent death of Tony. The reader sees her struggling with secrets because when Tony died, no one - not even her daughter, Suzanne - knew of the kidnapping or rape. Down deep, she is a strong determined woman who wants to start her own business; she wants a feeling of worth.

Suzanne Scaglione, their daughter, delights the reader with her creative and gregarious personality. Whether she's on an outing with her father, talking with her mother, or working at Mr. Bartlett's drugstore, the reader sees how easily she interacts with people of all ages. Suzanne loves life, but when she falls in love with David Bartlett, life is even sweeter. As the two young people slowly discover their family secrets, the reader sits on the edge, knowing where the lovers are going. The two incorrectly reconstruct Suzanne's past through a lengthy investigation and their emotions are strained to the limits. Watch as Suzanne and David dig deeper into their pasts and uncover fallacies that are their demise.