Monday, December 1, 2014

Past Encounters: Blog Tour

Publication Date: November 22, 2014
Paperback; 442p

Genre: Historical Fiction/Literary Fiction
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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 Take: At its core, Past Encounters is a story of a marriage in crisis. Rhoda and Peter have come through World War II, each with their own secrets and their ways of handling what they have been through and what they have done only serve to drive a wedge of silence between them. They rub along for ten years in what is revealed to be a fairly superficial semblance of a relationship, but the day that Peter puts his fist through the glass pane of the back door starts them down a road that will lead either to the complete disintegration of the marriage or reconciliation and healing. 

Blake (Swift) is absolutely on target with her representation of how a relationship can gradually slip away--almost without notice. The polite daily interactions smooth over the troubled waters underneath and both Rhoda and Peter believe that the other responsible for the lack of warmth and trust. The truth, as always, is more complicated than that and they both need to lay a few war-time ghosts to rest before deciding what really matters to them.

Deft characterization and terrific period detail make this novel an absorbing read. An emotional exploration of the psychological effects of war on both the soldiers and those they left behind. ★★★★

[Disclaimer: My review policy is posted on my blog, but just to reiterate....The book was offered to me for impartial review  and I have received no payment of any kind. All comments in this section are entirely my own honest opinion.] 


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

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 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.

Past Encounters Blog Tour Remaining Schedule

Tuesday, December 2
Review at My Reader’s Block
Review at A Bibliotaph’s Reviews

Wednesday, December 3
Review at The Worm Hole
Review at Diary of an Eccentric

Thursday, December 4
Review at Beth’s Book Reviews
Guest Post at Historical Tapestry

Friday, December 5
Review at Bibliophilia, Please

Saturday, December 6
Review at Unshelfish
Review at Historical Tapestry

Complete Tour Schedule:

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