Louise's Reviews > The Summer Before the Storm

The Summer Before the Storm by Gabriele Wills
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's review
Apr 11, 2009

it was amazing
bookshelves: historical-fiction
Read in April, 2009

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 and all the other families. Gabriele Wills writes with such description and clarity that I could see myself in an old-fashioned ball gown circulating among the guests without them seeing me! The first part of the book allows you to become acquainted with the rich and powerful and their elegant dinners and get-togethers. The language of the era is right on, so much so that you can’t help but put a little “accent” in to your speech as you’re reading.

I fell in love with Ria and Chas and was a little surprised at Ria’s audacity to make her desires well-known and crystal clear to Chas. We tend to think of women from that era as these quiet, obedient, non-verbal, proper little women. However, the humour didn’t evade me when Vivian readily admitted her obvious failure ...”as a proper chaperone!” There is so much more I want to say about Ria and Chas, but I can’t spoil the read for others. As the families high-spirited and cheerful days moved forward so does the advent of one of Canada’s darkest hours, World War I.

The story shifts from Muskoka to England and France as we watch these rich and powerful families enlist to fight for freedom and peace. With Chas already overseas, he and Ria correspond by letter until she can arrange to set sail for England. Upon boarding the Lusitania, Ria had requested the same suite Chas had occupied during his sail to England previously, so she could feel closer to him. Now overseas, these young men and women must continue to mature and make lives for themselves and I can’t wait to read Book # 2 in this Muskoka series titled: “Elusive Dawn” to find out where they all end up.

Gabriele Wills deserves a standing ovation for the research and knowledge that went into this book, and for the skill she possesses in writing with such clarity and vivid detail that the reader is transplanted back in time, awakening your five senses as if you were there. Everyone young and old needs to peruse this brilliant piece of literary genius!!!

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Reading Progress

04/10/2009 page 29
04/10/2009 page 314
56.99% "I cannot put this book down!!" 2 comments
04/10/2009 page 426
77.31% "Darn!! Thought I was gonna finish this page-turner tonight but I ended up with a migraine, so...tomorrow..."
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Gabriele (new)

Gabriele Wills Wow, thank you for that evaluation, Louise!

Louise Gabriele wrote: "Wow, thank you for that evaluation, Louise!"

You're welcome, glad you liked it.

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