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I just had the treat of reading a very sweet love story by first-time author, Mike Fontenot. Ephemeral Encounter is an unexpected summer-spring love story, told in the most tender of terms.
Rhiain Gwynne is a young actress in Great Britain whose fame came on her so quickly it threatened to overwhelm her. She needs a break from the public life which threatens to run out of control, so she runs away to somewhere no one would think to look for her, to the States. The heat of the Florida sun and long solitary walks in the sand begin to work their magic. She relaxes.
As she walks, she sees a man sitting in the same spot every day, typing furiously on a laptop computer. He’s older than she—by quite a bit—but intriguing to her. He looks up one day and smiles, saying hello. She responds. Finally, after several days, they speak more, and he asks her to lunch. From that point, they recognize that they feel an intensely strong attraction and she spends the rest of her escape with him. Their feeling of oneness is so great, it isn’t until the last day that he asks her name and gives his, as though knowing names would allow reality to intrude on their fairy tale interlude, and reality would mean admitting that their time would end.
When Rhiain leaves, she knows that she loves Marshall more than she will ever love another man. But she wonders if Marshall feels the same for her.
Several weeks after her return she receives an envelope from America. In it are the pages Marshall had been furiously typing each time she saw him on the beach. It’s their story, seen from his perspective, entitled Ephemeral Encounter. Every word, every glance, every nervous moment he felt from the time he first saw her and recognized that it was she he would always love, was recorded. In these pages she had her answer. But what can happen now? They are separated by age, profession and miles of ocean.
This is a very fast read. The story is well written, and is what it is with no pretensions. Mr. Fontenot doesn’t try to include mystery, subplots, many extraneous characters, or any other distractions to what he is trying to accomplish—a straightforward tale of immediate attraction between two unlikely people.
The only downfalls to the book are the actual repetition of their time together, as told in the pages Marshall sends to Rhiain and the inclusion of the Welsh in one of the conversations. The author does the former to add impact, but reading their conversations again word for word was a little much for me. He did the latter to add realism, but a few words would have been enough.
I loved the insights into Marshall's feelings as he and Rhiain developed their relationship. This is no alpha male, but rather a sensitive, mellow kind of guy. The kind most of us would like to cuddle up to.
I recommend Ephemeral Encounter for a quick, light read, that will remind you of what it’s like to experience old fashioned, lightning-strike love. I hope we see more from Mr. Fontenot.