Cenotaphs by Rich Marcello

An intimate, insightful, intricately rendered story of guilt, regret, and love…

In this vivid and moving book, Marcello articulates the challenges and complexities of love and violence. Well into his seventies, Ben Sanna, a contemplative retiree with a penchant for helping people, is content living in his dilapidated cabin in a small Vermont town of Hasman, Vermont. When Samantha Beckett, an enigmatic New York City hedge fund manager in her forties, comes into Ben’s life, he has no idea their chance meeting is just the beginning of a tenuous relationship. Struggling with their own past demons, the pair begins to find strength in each other’s company. Marcello’s characters are fully realized, relatable people who will stay with you. Samantha’s portrayal as a tortured soul held fast by regret and rage is rooted in reality. Underneath her confident and recklessly wild existence swirls the anger and regret. When Ben comes into her life, she begins to come to terms with her tragic past. And it’s in Samantha’s company that Ben finds courage to face his own past demons. Marcello skillfully evokes emotions as he delves into parental love, companionship, pain, and regret. The characters’ fears, insecurities, inner turmoil, desires, disappointments, obligations, and compulsions play out against the background of the cozy Vermont town and intimate psychotherapy sessions at Ben’s run-down cabin. Samantha’s journey into oblivion is interwoven with the story of her marriage, the senseless loss, an infinite period of grief, her struggle to understand her feelings of affection and belongingness for Ben. At the same time, surprising narrative shifts are made to include Ben’s backstory, his marriage and divorce with Emilia, the endearing relationship with Marianne, and solid friendship with Scott. Marcello is unflinching, as he depicts the gory consequences of a senseless mass shooting. And he is equally convincing as he delves into domestic violence and childhood abuse. Along the way, he weaves in the familiar themes of marriage, relationships, family ties, friendship, grief, regret, redemption, and the way violence can shape a person. This is a thoughtful, if diffuse, examination of platonic love; the ways we close ourselves off in order to avoid pain and what happens when we open ourselves up again.  Imbued with emotion, empathy, acceptance, and an essential understanding of the complicated bond of love between two adults, this deeply intimate, emotionally charged tale is a winner. Lovers of literary fiction won’t want to miss this one.


By Rich Marcello

Moonshine Cove Publishing, LLC

Buy now

Pub date June 14, 2021

ISBN 978-1952439117

Price $14.99 (USD) Paperback, $6.90 Kindle edition

Categories: Fiction

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