At the Altar of the Past

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farina, ronald
Farina, Ronald
Issue Date
Item Type
Degree Name
Master of Fine Arts (MFA)
Academic Department
Writing, Linguistics, and Creative Process
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In October 1966, Tad Forte said goodbye to Ellis Buck and joined the war in Vietnam. Before he left, he slipped a ring on Ellis’s finger. She promised to wait for his return, but a promise, when the world is at war, is a hard thing to hold on to. Young, beautiful, and afraid to be alone, Ellis meets another man.</p> <p>Almost two years later, Tad, fully recovered from wounds that nearly killed him, left the Newport Naval Hospital. He settled in Charlestown, Rhode Island, living there alone for the next thirty years. There are things that make him happy: old cars, his dog Hank, slow mornings along the ocean’s edge, and the solitude of winters long after the tourists have fled inland. All things considered, he has more than he’d ever expected. But lately too many sleepless nights, too many shadows in the dark, too many dreams of his time in Vietnam and of Ellis threaten the shaky truce he’d made with his past. In an attempt to silence voices that haunt him, he returns to his boyhood hometown, leading him back to Ellis, rekindling the fierce love they’d once shared. But Ellis has secrets that, once told, can destroy Tad’s life and the lives of everyone Ellis loves.</p> <p>Married for more than half her life, Ellis will be forced to choose between a life of comfort with a husband and daughter who love her and a new life with Tad, the one man she loves more than any other. Before she can make a decision, Ellis shockingly passes away, ripping Tad’s world apart for a second time. Ellis’s secret, the daughter that Tad never knew he had, waits in a letter tucked deep in a box of memories.