Book Tour Review: Past Encounters by Davina Blake

Thursday, November 20, 2014
Title: Past Encounters
Author: Davina Blake
Genre: historical fiction
Series: N/A
Pages: 445
Published: June 30 2014
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for review
Rating: 3/5

From the moment Rhoda Middleton opens one of her husband’s letters and finds it is from another woman, she is convinced he is having an affair. But when Rhoda tracks her down, she discovers the mysterious woman is not his 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 how and why her husband, Peter, has kept this friendship hidden for so long. Her search leads her back to 1945, but as she gradually uncovers Peter’s wartime secrets she must wrestle with painful memories of her own. For if they are ever to understand each other, Rhoda too must 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, this is a novel of friendship, hope, and how in the end, it is the small things that enable love to survive.
Includes discussion points for reading groups.

Past Encounters is a different sort of historical fiction from this author. Under her Deborah Swift name, she published more traditional, medieval type of story such as Shadow on the Highway. This novel here is something different. Ostensibly a story about Rhoda and her husband Peter, Past Encounters is really a tightly-focused and strong narrative that supports and explores varying themes from duty to love and more against the backdrop of WWII in England. 

WWII, and the storyline that takes place earlier (1939-1945) in the chronology was by turns familiar and freshly devastating. Everyone knows of or has heard of things like war brides and "waiting for your man" type stories from WWII, but Blake shows just how hard it is to cling to an idea when physical love is far away. Both Peter and Rhoda (and to a lesser extent Helen) all participate in less than stellar behavior during the novel, (before and after the war) but you want to excuse them, forgive them their transgressions due the international atrocity that subsumes their normal lives.

I liked a lot about this particular story and raced through it in a day, despite its hefty page count. I wanted to rate this higher than a 3, but where Past Encounters succeeds at a lot it attempts to do in just under 450 pages, I just couldn't personally connect with any of the characters. That isn't to say that they aren't well-drawn or fully dimensional, because they (especially Rhoda) are such. They just make decisions that make it hard to engender any sympathy or empathy from my viewpoint. They are interesting, dynamic and I was always curious about the paths the story would take, I just never fully invested to the point of loving the book.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Copyright © 2015 Ageless Pages Reviews. All Rights Reserved.

Amelia Theme by The Lovely Design CO and These Paper Hearts.