OVERRIDE

The Hatbox Letters

A Novel

Beth Powning

St. Martin's Press

A luminescent debut novel following one woman's journey through love, loss, grief, and renewal

In her rambling Victorian house, surrounded by heirloom gardens and the gentle sounds of a river, fifty-two-year-old Kate Harding faces her second winter since the untimely death of her husband. In her living room are several hatboxes filled with letters recently brought by her sister from the attic of their grandparents' eighteenth-century Connecticut house. Kate remembers the sense of permanence and refuge that she felt in her grandparents' apple-scented world, as well as, more recently, with her husband. As she begins to read the hatbox letters, she discovers that what to a child seemed a serene and blissful marriage was in fact founded on a tragic event. As Kate's eyes clear to the truth of the past, a new tragedy unfolds, and her own house, filled with the shared detritus of marriage and motherhood, becomes the refuge where Kate can connect the strands of her unraveled life.

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Part One1. KateKATE LEANS IN THE DOORWAY OF THE LIVING ROOM, arms crossed, the sleeves of a cotton sweater shoved to her elbows. Her forearms are sinewy—brown, dry-skinned, thorn-scratched. She wears two silver bracelets and a thick gold wedding band. Some women, she realizes, remove their rings.In the corner is a stack of nine antique hatboxes. She has not touched them since they were set down a week ago, delivered by her sister, who drove them up from Hartford. They are oval or round, some tied with string, some decorated with maroon-and-silver stripes, others printed with gothic landscapes—willows,
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Praise for The Hatbox Letters

"Superbly written... [Powning] penetrates the complexities of relationships in family and community."--Library Journal

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Beth Powning

  • Beth Powning is the author of Home: Chronicle of a North Country Life, and Shadow Child: An Apprenticeship in Love and Loss. Born in Connecticut, she now lives in Sussex, New Brunswick.
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The Hatbox Letters

A Novel

Beth Powning

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FROM THE PUBLISHER

St. Martin's Press

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