- Paperback: 442 pages
- Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (30 Jun. 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1499568258
- ISBN-13: 978-1499568257
- Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 2.8 x 20.3 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,038,124 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Past Encounters Paperback – 30 Jun 2014
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'Past Encounters is a beautifully written and though-provoking story, an imaginative and emotive way to celebrate a fascinating slice of history, pay a poignant tribute to the suffering of forgotten wartime heroes and explore the heavy price paid by families torn apart by separation and conflict.' - Lancashire Evening Post
‘a compelling story about love and heartache and forgiveness and war’ – Library Educated Blog
'For lovers of history and drama, this book is a perfect way to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon’ - Bookgeeks
‘it really makes you think about the relationships you have in real life and the choices you make. This story really hit home for me and gave me a lot to think about…Highly recommend’ - Layered Pages Blog
About 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 fuelled 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!' Find her at www.davinablake.com or at www.davinablake.blogspot.com
Top Customer Reviews
The book starts in 1955, with Rhoda and Peter's marriage cold and stagnant. Rhoda discovers that Peter has been paying visits to an old friend she has never heard of, in all the ten years they've been married.
The story travels back to Peter's fortunes in World War II as a prisoner of the Germans; much of the book is about his experiences and these were the bits I found the most absorbing, so much that I've just been looking up some of the titles of suggested further reading at the end of the book. I think these parts of this story will stay with me for a long time.
Rhoda's own story was pretty heartbreaking, too, but I can't say too much because I don't want to give the plot away! Suffice to say that Carnforth in Cumbria, where she lived, was the real location for parts of the film Brief Encounter, and Ms Blake has brought this to life in fiction. It's obviously very well researched and is fascinating to read for that alone.
Loved it, loved it. Davina Blake also writes 17th Century historical fiction under the pen name Deborah Swift; I've read three of them (so far), equally good.
Peter is a POW for the duration of the war and his life is a struggle for survival. Conditions are grim to say the least but extraordinary bonds are formed.
Rhoda at 18 promises to wait for Peter as war breaks out but neither of them knew how the war would affect their lives.
Had to knock a star off as there is one glaring error – arranges to meet on Saturday but marks it Friday on her calendar.
Otherwise I enjoyed this book.
This book was a free offer.
For Peter, the big question is: why is Rhoda so distant? Why has she changed so much from the girl he left all those years ago? As for Rhoda, she is puzzled and hurt by Peter's apparent inability to share his war experiences with her, and yet seems to have formed an unusual friendship with the widow of his close friend Archie, who was his constant companion throughout the war.
Much of the novel is the back story of Peter's and Rhoda's experiences during their time apart, and is told from their alternating points of view. Much of Rhoda's story is connected with the filming of Brief Encounter, which is taking place at her local station, and where she is called upon to help with catering for the actors and other staff involved in the making of the film. Peter, for his part, has had profound experiences of suffering, deprivation, and perhaps worst of all, crippling shame.
This novel has a very authentic feel about it. It is well researched, and the characters are very real. One of the things I really liked about it is that among the main characters, there are no villains; everyone has flaws, certainly, but the flaws are understandable and very human. I could empathise with all the characters - even Rhoda's tyrannical father - for all were struggling with their own demons.
In this novel, there is love, suffering, tension and forgiveness. What more can anyone ask from a really satisfying read? Highly recommended.
Period details are sharply delineated and the account of the filming of Brief Encounter at Carnforth is nicely drawn, leading to a plot climax that really took me by surprise. Past Encounters is a good holiday read for anyone who likes a historical read with a real heart.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book was an uncomplicated read , characters not quite fully formed and unfortunately there were errors in the use of German phrases which I found a bit sloppy, a pity really.Published 3 months ago by G.J.
Past Encounters is a book you can’t put down and yet you don’t want it to finish. With echoes of “Atonement,” we read of the horrors, sadness and wasted lives of World War Two. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Lizanne Lloyd
I enjoyed reading the story told from the two different perspectives and even though you might think that a lot of time in the relationship had been wasted it remained a positive... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Kindle Customer
A great story with heart wrenching details. Couldn't wait to continue the story and pick up my kindle again. Tissues needed for the end.Published 5 months ago by Mrs K Arthurs
Well worth reading, a very touching storyline, brilliantly written from two different perspectives and times. I would like to thank the author for a brilliant novel.Published 5 months ago by avid reader
Nobody wants to give one star reviews. And to be fair - this is a free book all but. Only from the start it fails to draw in the reader. Read morePublished 7 months ago by London Matron
I enjoyed this book a great deal. It showed clearly the different ways in which the war changed people's lives. I especially enjoyed the 'Brief Encounter' connection.Published 7 months ago by Sandra D
Past Encounters is a story of World War II and its aftermath, told through the eyes of Rhoda, struggling with rationing and the perpetual threadbareness of wartime life in... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Tom Williams