Ciaran Richards’ father was a soldier. A hero.
But now he’s dead. Or is he?
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.
An enigmatic novel that will keep readers on tenterhooks throughout, Past Encounters proves a genuine joy to read with an intoxicating, old-fashioned feel about it. Blake has a certain knack for bringing emotionally complex characters to life whilst making dialogue sound perfectly natural and here readers will find themselves instantly lost in her dual time periods. It’s not a novel to deliver shocking twists or turns with much of its intrigue achieved through indirection and the promise of secrets to be revealed and on this level, Blake reminds us how much a well-told, cleverly-plotted story can resonate with its readers. Clearly, well researched, the tone is consistent but more importantly, she achieves that which only a truly good book can and envelopes the reader in the story, forging a spellbinding link with the characters, and only letting go when the final page is turned. Rhoda’s viewpoint alone is reason enough to pick up a copy and begin reading but its the emerging story of Peter’s wartime secrets and his friendship with Archie that elevates it to something rather special.
Highly compelling historical fiction and a genuine page-turner, Past Encounters is recommended without reservation.
Past Encounters: a novel of WWII
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A novel of friendship, hope, and how in the end, it is the small things that enable love to survive.
I used to be a set and costume designer for theatre and TV, during which time I developed a passion for history and research. I was inspired to write this novel because I live near Carnforth station where 'Brief Encounter' was filmed, and have often visited the iconic refreshment room whilst waiting for a train. I love a good cup of tea, preferably accompanied by a chocolate brownie and a browse through a good book! I am a bookaholic and read widely everything from Booker Prize winners to the cereal packets on the breakfast table.
My other persona: I have had four seventeenth century historical novels published under the pen name of Deborah Swift.