This incredibly moving story had me hooked from beginning to end. Beginning just prior to World War 2, during the atrocities of the war, and then forward to 1955. I feel the different timelines tie the story together extremely well. Rhoda and Peter are separated by the war, and each face their own demons and indecisions. After the war, there are secrets they are both afraid to reveal. Brilliantly written and researched, with lots of actual events included. This is the first book that I have read by this author, and I am looking forward to reading more.
During his years in the German POW camp, all Peter wanted was to return to the love of his life. But haunted by ghosts and secrets, their relationship is not what he has imagined it to be. For those who fought and those who remained on the home front, the war didn't end in 1945. Ten years on, they are still fighting for their old lives and loves, for forgetfulness and forgiveness. What they went through will always be with them and they must learn to live with it.
Deborah Swift is a master of suspense and paints a realistic picture of a relationship that is disintegrating through bitterness and estrangement. This book is about two people trying to break through a wall of past hurts and misunderstandings. But ultimately it's about healing and the long process of finding one's way to what has once been.
The book ends on a note of hope and forgiveness - the perfect closure for the emotional roller-coaster this story is. Thanks to Davina Blake's meticulous research and attention to detail, Europe at war jumps to life from every page of this beautifully written novel. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical fiction and to all those who love books that transport you back in time from the very first page.
To me, a sign of a good book is whether it has made me cry and whether it has left me wanting more. And Past Encounters has certainly done both.