Blog Tour: Past Encounters by Davina Blake: A Book Review

02_Past Encounters 

Publication Date: November 22, 2014 |  CreateSpace | Paperback; 442p

Genre: Historical Fiction/Literary Fiction
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

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England 1955.

The day Rhoda Middleton opens a letter from another woman, she becomes convinced her husband, Peter, is having an affair. But when Rhoda tracks the mysterious woman down, she discovers she is not Peter's lover after all, but the wife of his best friend, Archie Foster. There is only one problem - Rhoda has never even heard of Archie Foster.

Devastated by this betrayal of trust, Rhoda tries to find out why Peter has kept this friendship a secret for so long. Her search leads her back to 1945, but as she gradually uncovers Peter's wartime experiences she must wrestle with painful memories of her own. For Rhoda too cannot escape the ghosts of the past.

Taking us on a journey from the atmospheric filming of Brief Encounter, to the extraordinary Great March of prisoners of war through snow-bound Germany, PAST ENCOUNTERS explores themes of friendship, hope, and how in the end, it is the small things that enable love to survive.

Includes bonus material for reading groups.

     My Review:  Rhoda is troubled by her husband’s behavior. He seems to be distant to her and quiet. She also finds out that he is hiding something. When she receives a letter from a woman addressed to her husband, she believes that he is having an an affair. When she finds her, she finds that this woman is the wife of her husband’s best friend, Archie Foster who just passed away. What stuns and confuses Rhoda is that Peter has never mentioned Archie. She then goes on a quest to search for answers which lead her to Peter’s past of when he was a prisoner of war in WWII.

     This novel  is about a married couple whose past has caught up with them. The novel is structured on Rhoda’s and Peter’s marriage in 1955; then it goes to their past from their first date, to Peter being a prisoner of war and Rhoda being faithful to him. Both of them must come to terms of their secrets in their past to have a successful marriage to the present. Therefore, I found the characters to be very realistic and human. The reader can connect to them and the story.

     I found the novel to be beautifully-written. The plot is simple, but it is mainly focused on the characters. This novel is also psychological because it deals with the trauma of the characters and their past and how they deal with it to overcome the present to have a great future. The story is told in first person from Rhoda’s perspective, with a little bit of Helen’s. It is also told in third person from Peter’s perspective. Through these different viewpoints, we are able to understand their characters and how they are affected by the events.

     Overall, the story is about love, friendship, acceptance, and hope. The message of the book is that love conquers all.The plot is predictable and simple. The pace is slow-going, but it’s an interesting story. The characters are well-developed for they are flawed and human. I recommend this book to anyone interested in WWII. I find that this book is great for people who are going through a crisis in their marriage, and people who are dealing with emotional trauma. I suggest that you should watch the movie Brief Encounter before you read this book because it highly referenced. I highly enjoyed this novel, and I would like to read more novels from the author.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


Praise for Past Encounters

"Her characters are so real that they linger in the mind long after the book is back on the shelf. Highly Recommended!" - The Historical Novels Review


Praise for Deborah Swift

"stellar historical fiction" -Orange Prize Nominee Ann Weisgarber

"compelling'" -Westmorland Gazette

"The past comes alive through impeccable research...and the sheer power of descriptive prose" -Lancashire Evening Post


Buy the Book

Amazon US
Amazon UK


Deborah SwiftAbout the Author

Davina Blake used to be a set and costume designer for theatre and TV, during which time she developed a love of research which fueled her passion for the past. She holds an MA in Creative Writing from Lancaster University and also writes successful seventeenth century historicals under the pen name Deborah Swift. 'Her characters are so real that they linger in the mind long after the book is back on the shelf. Highly recommended.' The Historical Novels Review From Davina: 'I was inspired to write Past Encounters because I live close to the railway station where the iconic Brief Encounter was filmed in 1945. I have often used the refreshment room that featured in the film when waiting for a train. I love a good cup of tea, preferably accompanied by a chocolate brownie!'

For more information visit Davina Blake's website and blog. You can also find her on Twitter.


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Comments

  1. Thank you for a great review, Lauralee. I was hooked by the initial 'blurb', and I found your actual review interesting without being too revealing. A book to place on my To-Be-Read list.

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  2. This story has some echoes of the real life. We can observe the interlacing of the fantasy and modern everyday life. The author managed to realize this.

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