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The Storms of War

(The Storms of War Trilogy #1)

3.54  ·  Rating details ·  1,146 ratings  ·  170 reviews
In the idyllic early summer of 1914, life is good for the de Witt family. Rudolf and Verena are planning the wedding of their daughter, Emmeline, while their eldest son Arthur is studying in Paris and Tom is just back from his first term at Cambridge. Celia, the youngest of the de Witt children, is on the brink of adulthood, and secretly dreams of escaping her carefully ma ...more
Hardcover, 528 pages
Published July 3rd 2014 by Orion
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MJ I would say yes because I'm 10 and I read the whole series and loved it!

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Average rating 3.54  · 
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Roger Pettit
Nov 27, 2015 rated it liked it
I can think of quite a few novels - many of them recently-published - that are set during World War I. In such a crowded field, it cannot be easy for a writer to come up with a fresh perspective on the events of 1914-18. And, to be honest, historian and novelist Kate Williams doesn't really manage to do so. 'The Storms of War', the first book of a planned trilogy, is slightly different from many others of its kind in that it examines the impact of the war on a middle-class family of German origi ...more
Feb 22, 2016 rated it liked it
Recommended to Erin by: Lydia
Shelves: series
Aside from the fact that the main protagonist is an idiot, The Storms of War does show a raw and realistic look at Europe during WWI. I especially was swayed by the story of Michael and wanted more chapters of him and his experiences. In fact, that storyline along with the last chapter really pressures me to give it a four. But I cannot and Celia is the reason.

Why? While I do recognize that young women of this time period were incredibly naive, sheltered and protected, I never felt that Celia wa
Patty Killion
Aug 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2015
5+++ Stars!!

If you read Historical Fiction then you MUST read The Storms of War!!!

This book is written about a family (the De Witt family) in the Great War...the women facing disease and death daily, the people left behind at home, their possessions destroyed by bombs, and the waiting for news about their loved ones.

What was the Great War, or any war really like?? This is a fabulous story of what isn't said or shared of war and what the people do not share with each other.

The author writes about
Feb 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
During the long, golden summer of 1914, members of a wealthy British family spend their days at leisure on their expansive Hampshire estate. While the eldest daughter, beautiful Emmeline, dreams of her wedding to Sir Hugh Bradshaw, her mother, Verena, directs the servants in planning their annual summer party, to which the village children will be invited. Son Michael, home from Cambridge, has brought his American friend Jonathan to stay for a short visit. The youngest, fifteen-year-old Celia – ...more
Aug 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Okay so I took some time before writing this review because it needed a lot of thought.
The book is about the de Witt family who are german in origin but live in England and how their lives change through the Great War.
I'd recommend this book to anyone who enjoy historical fiction. I really like these sort of books and I especially enjoyed this one because it is all about family drama in WW1.

The de Witt family:
Rudolf - the father, german man but moved to England and married to an English woman.
Ruth Chatlien
Jun 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Closer to 3.5 but not close enough to rate it a 4. It has an interesting premise—the experiences of a German/English family during WWI. Two things kept me from loving it. Several of the main characters make very stupid decisions, and there is a streak of passivity running through two of them that gets very annoying. I get that stress makes people do foolish things or even paralyzes them, but I wanted more personal growth, particularly from Celia. Second, the author seemed to want to include a ch ...more
Nada Nader
Jan 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cora Tea Party Princess
May 21, 2014 marked it as to-read
Shelves: owned-tbr
Putting this on the back burner for now, not quite in the mood and it seems like it's going to be good so I'll read it when I know I'll enjoy it.
Nov 17, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I love reading about this time period but this book was rather disappointing. It reminded me a little at one point of Somewhere in France (which i absolutely loved) so maybe thats when i started loosing interest and skimming because this book turned out nothing like that one. And it's harder to get into a book with characters I didn't really care about, they mostly annoyed me. In the end this book had a feel more like We That Are Left which I didn't really get into either.
Jan 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: historical fiction fans & those interested in WWI
I'm so glad I went out of my way to read this one (& by out of my way, I mean bought my copy on AmazonUK). I very much enjoyed the story of the de Witts and how they fared during WWI. Celia is the character followed most closely and as she is the youngest in the family, I had moments where watching the family from her perspective reminded me of Atonement (especially in her relationship with Emmeline).

I felt great sorrow and true frustration watching Rudolf and Verena as the reality of their sit
Emma Crowley
Aug 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
The Storms of War is the first in a planned trilogy by Kate Williams following the De Witt family during the period 1914-1918 as World War One alters their lives forever. This book has such a beautiful cover that captures the pre war era perfectly and sums up those carefree days before the outbreak of an event which once finally over after four hard years leaves the world a changed place for all who remain. For some reason I thought all three volumes in the trilogy would focus on WW1 and I did t ...more
Caroline Southgate
Jun 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
took me a while to read this one. started off before the war and a family are planning a wedding for one of their daughters. they live in a large hall with staff. then the war begins and everything changes in their lives.
Jul 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
First thing that caught my eye when I spotted this wonderful book was the cover.
Nothing symbolises the Edwardian Era like that scene.
A woman dressed in a lacey white dress sitting on a green lawn and a man dressed in expensive clothes lying next to her. In the background, a grand English house and a meticulously cut hedge.
The last era of elegance, the golden years, the glittering world of endless tea parties and summer afternoons that apt to linger.

A world on the brink of catastrophy.

Kate Wil
Jan 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, read-2016
At the beginning of the summer of 1914, the de Witt family are enjoying their pleasant, idyllic life at Stoneythorpe Hall. German-born Rudolf and his aristocratic wife Verena are preparing for their eldest daughter's wedding while their sons are studying in Paris and Cambridge and their younger daughter is on the brink of adulthood. The outbreak of the Great War changes everything. Shunned for their German origins, they see friends turn away, Rudolf's business struggle, and Emmeline's groom brea ...more
Jul 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Kate Williams’ The Storms of War is set during the Great War in England and France and the detailed descriptions of the various settings help you to envision what the war must have been like. While Williams paints a clear picture of the gruesome wartime at the Western Front in France, she doesn’t forget to also write about the state of her settings before and after the war. One of these places is Stoneythorpe Hall, the home of the de Witt family, and I really enjoyed reading about how it changed ...more
 Northern Light
As this it is one hundred years since the first world war there are many books on the shelves covering this terrible time in our history.

This book is the story of one family., the de Witts who have the complication of the father being German at a time when Germany is the enemy.

Told mainly through the eyes of the youngest child Celia we go from a peaceful country estate to the horrors of war. The oldest daughter is excited about her forthcoming marriage and one brother is in Paris with the other
Esther Simonato
Jan 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
"The Storm of Wars" tells the story of the "de Witt" family, who are from German origins but are mostly born and living in England during the First World War, and have to find their place in society, when everyone else sees them as the enemy. The first half of the book is very slow paced (I even considered giving up) but the characters were so interesting that I kept reading until the end, and I'm very glad that I did! First of all, I liked that the author wrote the book set during WWI. I don't ...more
Jeanene Palmer
Dec 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
4.5 after chapter 15. The book is about a wealthy aristocratic family thrown into the realities of WWI. It was difficult to read with all the societal etiquette and snobbery in the first 14 chapters. I almost didn't continue reading it, but I read another review that said don't give up on this book. So I went back and am glad I did. Celia is the youngest daughter of her parents, one parent is German and is imprisoned by the English. Her Mother is more worried about herself than anyone. Celia cha ...more
Thanks to the publisher for an advance reader's copy.

I'm trying to be better about putting aside books that I don't love reading, so this had to get the ax. I normally love British historical fiction, but I felt like I slogged through the first 65 pages without much reward. The writing was often muddled and didn't have any spark. Or maybe I just have Downton Abbey burnout. I did really like that the book focused on the effects of World War I for a British family of German heritage - this was an
Jennifer Moville
Jul 22, 2014 rated it liked it
I received this book as part of Good Reads First Reads

I am usually the first one to put my hand up to a book linked into history and as the D Day celebrations have been bringing the 2nd World War to the forefront and as it's only a few weeks until the centenary of the start of WWI then I thought this would be another book I would like

Whilst it tells the story of family member during the 1914-1918 war and the impact it has on a girl called Celia who enrolls herself in the war and gets involved in
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
The saga of the De Witt family begins with this thoroughly enjoyable novel which traces the individual stories of the family through the dark years of 1914-1918, focusing on the youngest daughter Celia. Kate Williams is a fine storyteller and historian and so my expectations were high - The Storms of War met every one of them.

Mar 12, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I received this book through the Goodreads giveaway program. I wanted to like this book, but all it left me with was a feeling of indifference. For me, the characters left no impression and neither did the story. I felt this story could have been so much more, but I didn't feel the writer's passion.
Aug 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Well written, history appeared accurate, and handled the cliched storylines gracefully. A good addition to my Downton Abbey Recommended list.

Here is a link to my review:
Apr 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
A good book but a bad ending!
An excellent WW1 family saga, first in a trilogy for those who like stories to continue. The de Witt family is headed by Rudolf, German by birth, but living in England with his landed gentry English wife Verena for enough time to have built a successful business and been able to reap the rewards of such: four children, a grand estate in the country, servants, a Rolls Royce, horses etc. His youngest daughter, Celia is the main protagonist of the story, a naive fifteen year old whose life is about ...more
Oct 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, first-read
Everyone has an idea of what war is and the effect of war. Even today we continue to struggle with the horror of soldier’s deaths, disabled returning soldiers and soldiers who have fought and continue fighting for their countries and their way of life. The subject of the Great War is usually a history lesson in grammar school, and not often a topic of discussion. Ms. Williams research of the era is woven into a tale of the The Great War and its aftermath through the everyday lives of one family. ...more
Apr 18, 2018 rated it liked it
In many ways this book better illustrated the horrors and tragedy of WWI than the book I read right before it, The Summer Before the War. And it also worked from a different -- that of a family whose patriarch was German. But, it was annoying. This was so primarily because most of the family members, including the main protagonist, were so self-centered. At the beginning of the book, Celia was 15 years old. But she seemed (and acted,) no older than maybe 11 or 12. Her naivety was built in with h ...more
Amanda M
Pardon my french but what in the actual fuck did I just read? What was that epilogue?!! Why did Kate Williams feel the need to end the book the way she did? The ending was among the worst I have ever read. It is such a shame because the rest of the book is fascinating. Probably due to her background working for CNN, Williams really manages to capture the historical details and reality of that time. The portion of this novel covering Celia's stint as an ambulance driver was some of the most compe ...more
Jan 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Celia deWitt is a teen in England at the brink of WWI. She is the child of an English "society" mother and a German father, and watches her family torn apart by war as a brother goes off to fight, a sister falls from societal heights, her father suffers anti-German sentiments, another brother vanishes into Paris, and she... tries very hard not to lose herself entirely. Wonderfully written. I feared at the beginning that the length would be off-putting, but not to fear, I was engrossed within a p ...more
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 2 May 11, 2015 01:26PM  

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Hello! Thank you for visiting my page. It's a great privilege to be on here - and to say hi to readers. Thank you very much for all your support and interest in my books! My twitter account is @katewilliamsme and I have a facebook page for Kate Williams author, come and say hello! I'm always thrilled to hear from you and your thoughts about my work.

I grew up in a very modern house in a dormitory

Other books in the series

The Storms of War Trilogy (3 books)
  • The Edge of the Fall (The Storms of War #2)
  • Into the Darkness (The Storms of War Trilogy #3)

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