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Past Encounters Paperback – 30 Jun 2014

4.3 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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Product details

  • 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)
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Review

'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

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I loved this book it was interesting, enlightening and felt like a proper story. I liked the characters they felt real and it was easy to empathise with all three of them. Highly recommended
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By Terry Tyler TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 8 Sept. 2015
Format: Kindle Edition
Wow! What an amazing book ~ I read it over a period of 24 hours, ignoring everything else ~ which is perhaps all you need to know!

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.
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Format: Kindle Edition
This is a good story following the lives of Rhoda and Peter as WWII intervenes in their lives.

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.
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Format: Kindle Edition
What a tale. And such an emotional one. With a small cast of wonderful characters and a vividly-drawn sense of place, this novel leaps off the page. The sense of life in a small Northern town and the traumas of surviving as a PoW to the moral dilemmas and the heart-rendering and often contradictory pull of one’s emotions – it’s all there. And Deborah Swift weaves it together with an assured, lightness of touch. An epic tale that will live long in the memory.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I really enjoyed this book. It's a story set during the war, but from a slightly different perspective. The story really drew me in and I didn't want to put it down.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
When Peter returns from a German prison camp after WW2, he and his fiancee Rhoda find themselves virtual strangers after five years apart. Each harbours a damaging secret, and neither is ready to share it with the other. It is these secrets, and the stories behind them, that form the basis of this beautiful novel.

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.
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Format: Paperback
It's 1955. Rhoda's apparently mild and self-contained husband Peter puts his hand through a glass door and smashes her view of him as well as the glass. Finding out the reason for this display of passion brings Rhoda into contact with Helen, wife of Peter's wartime friend Archie. Something awful united Helen, Archie and Peter and its origins are in a terrible wartime experience occurring geographically and psychologically far away from Rhoda and Peter's tidy English peacetime life together. But it's not just Peter's wartime trauma that needs exorcising: Rhoda has a wartime secret too: the legacy of which has left her emotionally cut off from Peter. Both Rhoda and Peter need to find a way to come to terms with their different forms of past suffering, or risk being trapped in a marriage that's never really had a chance to provide any sustenance to either of them.

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.
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