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The Summer Before the Storm (Muskoka Trilogy #1)

4.09  ·  Rating Details ·  76 Ratings  ·  31 Reviews
Muskoka, 1914. It's the Age of Elegance in the summer playground of the affluent and powerful. Amid the pristine, island-dotted lakes, the granite cliffs, and pine-scented forests of the Canadian wilderness, the young and carefree amuse themselves with glittering balls, lavish picnics, and friendly competitions. But this summer promises to be different when the charming, a ...more
Paperback, 551 pages
Published 2006 by Mindshadows
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350th out of 683 books — 496 voters
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61st out of 277 books — 67 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jun 20, 2015 Lori rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow, I am completely blown away by how much I've enjoyed this novel. Where has this novel been for 5 years and how the heck has it gotten only 27 reviews? I only ran across this in my GR's 'recommendations' and thought the synopsis looked interesting. Sadly, it has sat on my to read list for years. I'm so glad that I finally got around to reading it. This is a drama that follows a group of young wealthy Canadian friends before and during the onset of WWI. There is a large cast of characters that ...more
Having visted Muskoka twice, I wanted to love this book set in the famous lake region north of Toronto before WWI and in England after the bright young Canadians enlist. However, this is a book that greatly needed a strong editor. There are far too many people to keep track of, even with a five page cast of characters, and many of them disagreeable. The heroine was lovely but immature. The poor relation made good was ambitious, selfish and one dimensional.

The author telegraphs plot developments
Feb 17, 2016 Merry rated it it was amazing
Readers beware!!! After 548 pages, the last page, the last sentence is: "the story continues in book 2 of The Muskoka Novels" -- ok, so the front of the book did say "the first of the Muskoka Novels", I just failed to comprehend that as I dove into this giant book. So with that said, I loved it! Great characters, well researched way of life, and history. This book has numerous characters, but I was able to keep up with most and found the storyline interesting. Off to find the next book!
Nov 22, 2012 Sheree rated it really liked it
4.5 stars

I was completely immersed in this epic generational tale set in idyllic Muskoka, 1914 before the onset of WWI. As a fan of Downton Abbey and with my son heading from Australia to Banff, Canada in a few days’ time it seemed fitting to be reading The Summer Before the Storm. Yeah I know, not even close proximity, but the same country qualifies when you're the other side of the world lol. Canadian history is not something I've read a lot of so it was really lovely to spend time in Muskoka
Nov 02, 2012 Patty rated it it was amazing
This book takes you to a world not seen by many people - a world of "cottages" on private islands and personal steamboats. It takes place in what can only be a glorious area of Canada just before the onset of WWI. We meet the very wealthy Wyndham family just as they meet a long lost relative. The book is populated with well defined characters of all stripes from the ahead of her time Victoria to the entitled sons of the family who don't want this interloping new nephew Jack coming forth to claim ...more
Tia Bach
Dec 07, 2012 Tia Bach rated it really liked it
Rich in history and family ties, The Summer Before the Storm is the saga of the Wyndhams. When Jack comes to find the family that exiled his father, everything changes. He's determined to never be poor and hungry again and to force his father's family to recognize him. Augusta, the matriarch, has doubts. She rules the family with a strong will and tight purse strings, and she's the one he needs to impress.

Jack quickly realizes that Augusta is no pushover, so he looks for opportunity wherever he
Rebecca Graf
Nov 28, 2012 Rebecca Graf rated it it was amazing
Gabriele Wills takes a reader back in time in her book The Summer Before the Storm. It is more than just a story of a time period. It is more than a story about a family. It is the story of passion, survival, and determination.

When I started this book, I was expecting something lighter and obviously written in just a couple of months. I immediately realized that this was a book that could not just be read in one night or even a couple of days. This was an epic story that would take me much longe
Nov 20, 2012 Teddy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2010
Muskoka is the summer playground for the very wealthy families that want to escape the stifling heat of summer in Toronto, Ontario Canada. The year is 1914 and one such family living there in the summer is the Wyndwoods. This large family lives an easy and fun filled summer with servants to meet their every need. The matriarch of the family is Augusta Wyndwood who took over the running of the family and business when her husband died. Al she has to do is threaten disinheritance and the family me ...more
Ashley Katsuyama
Sep 27, 2009 Ashley Katsuyama rated it it was amazing
This lovely novel transports you into an era of privilege and decadence, which is depicted with such intimate detail and subtlety, I can't fathom how Wills achieved it short of having a secret time machine. The story is perfectly paced and beautifully told from the views of the wonderful characters, many of which I now consider cherished friends. I can't wait to read the second book!
Cheryl Cooper
Apr 22, 2014 Cheryl Cooper rated it really liked it
I have just finished reading Gabriele Wills' "The Summer Before the Storm." I thoroughly enjoyed being transported to the Age of Elegance and for a time living in a simpler world before the onset of WWI. I just loved Wills' characters of Ria and Chas, and loved to hate the unsavoury Augusta, Aunt Phyllis, Phoebe, James and Helena. As they summered in leisure and schemed at Wyndwood, amongst the pine trees of the Muskoka Lakes, I felt as if I were seeing the faces in Frank W. Mickelthwaite's trea ...more
Nov 11, 2012 Marcie rated it really liked it
When I first came across The Summer Before the Storm it was said that if you like Downton Abbey you should try this book. I'm a huge fan of the show so I thought I would give this book a go. This novel is set in a group of islands in Canada. I've only been to Canada once and it was beautiful. So I could easily imagine the scenery that the author writes about. The main focus of this book is the Wyndham family. At the head of the family is the grandmother. She is not only the matriarch but also ru ...more
Ruth Hill
Nov 26, 2012 Ruth Hill rated it really liked it
Shelves: e-books, historical
From the beginning, I knew this was a very well-written book, but the story was not necessarily my style. Gabriele Wills is a gifted, descriptive writer, but I was not drawn into the story as I would have liked to have been. It was somewhat interesting to read about a rich family during the time just as the first Great War was coming to pass. The writing style was gorgeous, but I felt I was reading about nothing but spoiled brats. I was glad she had included a Cast of Characters at the beginning ...more
Fay Patterson-Willsie
Mar 29, 2009 Fay Patterson-Willsie rated it really liked it
This book is wonderful historical fiction about a wealthy Toronto family who summer in Muskoka, Ontario. The setting takes place on the island in Lake Rosseau that once belonged entirely to my family. The year is 1914 - the summer before the outbreak of World War 1. I found that the book captures the beauty and magic of Muskoka and the exuberant frivolity of the rich. While the characters are flitting to and fro from island to island in search of pleasure, the days and nights draw us closer and ...more
Apr 11, 2009 Louise rated it it was amazing
An endearing, engaging, and charismatic historical fiction set in the beautiful Muskoka’s in the year 1914. The cast of characters are endless and cover both ends of the spectrum from the proper, well-mannered and etiquettely correct, to the shifty, devious and flouting! The gleaming waters of Lake Rosseau and the island that houses ‘The Grand Muskoka’, which is only accessible by steamboat, you find yourself morphing into the ink on the page and becoming part of the Wyndham’s, the Carrington’s ...more
Apr 07, 2013 Isi rated it really liked it

Reseña en el blog

Comenzamos la lectura en Muskoka, una zona al norte de Toronto llena de lagos e islas donde veraneaba la gente adinerada, allá en el verano de 1914, justo antes del comienzo de la I Guerra Mundial. Los Wyndham son una de esas privilegiadas familias que poseen una idílica isla y una gran mansión donde veranean, aunque es una familia un poco inusual ya que Augusta, la abuela, es la que lleva las riendas de todas las actividades y negocios de la familia. Pero este verano conocerán
Apr 12, 2013 Lisa rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013
Being a fan of Downton Abbey and in withdraw after viewing Season #3 I was very interested when the synopsis stated that Downton Abbey fans would like these books. The author being Canadian and the setting being in Muskoka is a pleasant change, I really looked forward to reading about places and history I knew.

Extra editing was needed, the many characters were hard to keep track of. Having read this on an electronic device I didn't find it easy to flip to the casting section of the book.

I also c
Gisela Kretzschmar
Jul 27, 2009 Gisela Kretzschmar rated it it was amazing
I just loved this book and the characters and could not wait to find out, how they'll be doing in the completely different world of wartime Europe. So I was and still am really glad to have the second part handy and being able to continue.

I very much enjoyed the Muskoka-tale, describing a world I've never known and could not even have imagined before, and here it came alive in a way that made me almost feel part of it. And I was fascinated by all those different characters, whom I meanwhile def
Donna Mcnab
Apr 17, 2010 Donna Mcnab rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book. I just finished reading it for the second time to prepare for reading the second book in the Muskoka series, Elusive Dawn, and I enjoyed the book the second time around just as much as the first time. I wouldn't be too surprised if I read this book again somewhere down the road. I am hanging on to it. The setting and characters took me back to my own years living on the Kawartha Lakes, although at a much grander scale! I found myself totally immersed in the lives of ...more
Book Tour Review & Giveaway: We’re today’s stop on the Virtual Book Tour for The Summer Before the Storm, Book #1 in the Muskoka Trilogy by Gabriele Wills. I don’t normally participate in a lot of book tours but there was something about this one that I found fascinating. I love historical novels and I always want to learn more about Canada, probably because I’ve never met a Canadian I didn’t like. The Summer Before the Storm did not disappoint. Read the rest of my review & enter to win ...more
Dec 01, 2010 Jen rated it it was amazing
Absolutely incredible! I feel like I lived every moment of her stories in a past lifetime. Being a Muskoka native myself, I cannot express the joy and heart felt love her words evoked in me for my precious Muskoka, it's beauty and sanctuary. I've read the first two novels over and over and can hardly stand the wait for the third. My only solace is that I will get to read the first two novels once more before summer 2011 to refresh the story in preparation for the long awaited third novel!
Robert Schoenberger
Apr 14, 2009 Robert Schoenberger rated it it was amazing
A multi faceted saga about the wealthy and their activities in 1914 in the Muskoka Lake area north of Toronto. It reminded me of some of the Delderfield novels where there are many multiple characters. Their way of life is wonderfully depicted by Ms. Wills, and ones feels drawn into the story. It's a long book which is good because when finished, you wish there were more. Overshadowing the saga is the approach of WW I, hence the title. A very good read!
Apr 13, 2014 Shanny rated it really liked it
Una saga familiar que se da en Muskoka, Canadá durante 1914, cerca de la I Guerra Mundial.
Ha sido una historia increíble, además de estar segura que quiero saber más sobre la familia Wyndham, pues me he llevado muchas sorpresas durante esta lectua, además de conocer más sobre la I GM.

Y claro, estoy interesada en continuar la saga.

Reseña en el blog
Mar 25, 2009 Jackie rated it it was amazing
Sara Gould
Lo que he sentido y he sufrido con este libro no tiene nombre. El principio es un poco denso y el final un tanto AH, pero desde luego que lo recomiendo, es una lectura intensa y llena de personajes que te llegan a lo más profundo del alma. Una lástima que solo esté disponible en inglés.
Jul 19, 2009 Sylvie rated it it was amazing
Love love love this book. I often think of these characters, the setting and the story. It's a beautiful book. Best of all, there is a second book to read. I entered the giveaway for this book (even though I have a copy). I would donate it to my library in Carleton Place.
Mar 04, 2010 Naomi rated it it was amazing
A wonderful family story before and during the first world war. It is rich in discription and plot. A love story that goes throughout the book.
Alice Carey
Found the start of the book hard to get into but then I got hooked and thoroughly enjoyed it.
Moving on to the second book immediately
Sep 16, 2015 Sandra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 stars.
Second Win, looking forward to start reading this book
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Book Giveaways: The Summer Before the Storm by Gabriele Wills (ends 30th Nov) 2 43 Nov 23, 2012 01:25AM  
Bloggers Unite™ : The Summer Before the Storm by Gabriele Wills (ends 30th Nov) 1 4 Nov 22, 2012 03:40PM  
Video trailer for book 1 4 Nov 07, 2009 02:29PM  
My inspiration for the book 1 9 Mar 31, 2009 07:53AM  
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Ideally I would be sitting on a dock by the lake with a cat on my lap, a glass of wine in one hand, and a good book in the other. (Don’t ask how I’d turn the pages or get the cat near the water.) Failing that, I love to recreate an era in which I can immerse myself (and readers), by weaving compelling stories around meticulously researched facts. My characters are best friends, whom others are no ...more
More about Gabriele Wills...

Other Books in the Series

Muskoka Trilogy (3 books)
  • Elusive Dawn
  • Under the Moon

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